Is a new role at Chelsea to blame for Timo Werner’s declining form or the forward himself? Would playing him in a more central area solve the problems?
This would be the question asked by most Chelsea fans: How has one of the most prolific goal-scorers in Europe in the last few seasons suddenly gone 11 games without scoring?
Werner himself admitted that he is still adapting to playing as a left winger, or rather a left inside forward, under Frank Lampard.
“I now play a completely different position than at RB [Leipzig],” he told Sky Germany last week.
“I’ve played well on the left or right wing here [at Chelsea], but I’ve never been able to exude the goal-scoring threat from [the wider role] that I excelled at from the centre at Leipzig.”
According to Statsbomb data (via FBRef), Werner has had fewer touches inside the penalty area since joining Chelsea.
He went from receiving the ball 8.55 times per 90 minutes at Leipzig last season to 6.10 per 90 minutes at Chelsea.
However, the data also shows that he has averaged around six touches inside the penalty box both as a winger and a striker at Chelsea.
Poor finishing + bad luck
This suggests the decrease has likely stemmed from the lack of space up front with teams defending deeper against Chelsea, rather than his new role.
Werner also ranks fourth in terms of big chances missed in the Premier League this season (eight – via Premier League’s official website) which means he has been getting the chances.
Not to mention that Werner has also been very unlucky, having hit the woodwork more times than any other player in the league (five – via Premier League’s official website).
That is 13 extra goals he could have scored with a bit more luck, despite playing in an ‘unfamiliar’ role.
With the Chelsea star’s confidence taking a big hit, things have looked even worse recently.
He took 11 shots in his five appearances, with only two of those hitting the target.
Will playing him as a No.9 helps Werner find his form? Possibly.
But, considering Olivier Giroud’s and Tammy Abraham’s form, at the moment Werner might even be third in Chelsea’s pecking order.