Chelsea striker Timo Werner failed to register any shot on target as the Blues’ unbeaten run under Thomas Tuchel ended with a 5-2 loss to West Brom on Saturday.
The 25-year-old offers a unique skill set and could be the difference-maker as the furthest player up front in the team in certain situations.
However, the clash with West Brom, was not one of those situations, as the humbling defeat suggests.
Thomas Tuchel was not exactly out of central forward options either.
He had Olivier Giroud and Kai Havertz on the bench and Tammy Abraham who did not even make the matchday squad.
But he opted for Werner, and it unfortunately did not pay off.
Chelsea lacked presence in the box
The thing with Werner is that he is not a player who is comfortable with physical duels inside the 18-yard box.
He prefers to roam, usually to the left side of the pitch, to find vacated space instead.
It would not have been a big problem if he played in a two-striker system, but he was the lone No.9 yesterday.
Unsurprisingly, the Germany international made just five touches inside the penalty box throughout the game (Statsbomb via FBref).
To put it into perspective, Marcos Alonso who played as a left wing-back had nine touches inside the box, while Kai Havertz who was on the pitch for 20 minutes had three.
Obviously, Werner still provided an assist for Mason Mount, thanks to his composure in front of the goal, but Chelsea lacked a No.9 presence at times during the game.
Not to mention that their most active creator in the game was Reece James (seven shot-creating actions) who would have liked to have Olivier Giroud or Tammy Abraham as his targets.
Tuchel must pick right games to play Werner up front
This does not necessarily mean that Werner should never play as a No.9 again.
As Tuchel proved in last month’s wins over Atletico Madrid (second leg) and Liverpool, it could work very well.
But when Chelsea were expected to dominate the possession and force the opposition to sit back like on Saturday, even Werner would have preferred to play in a deeper role.