Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has explained why he decided not to start attacking duo Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech against Manchester City on Saturday.
The German tactician surprisingly opted to start his three main midfielders; Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, and Mateo Kovacic, together for the first time since his takeover back in January.
Considering how this system helped Chelsea gain control of the ball during the second half in the win over Tottenham Hotspur last week, Tuchel might have had the same idea.
As a result, however, it left the team with only two attacking spots, and this time Tuchel gave Werner the nod to play alongside Romelu Lukaku, ahead of “out-of-form” Havertz and Ziyech.
“Timo is a good fit today because he brings a lot of intensity to our game on and off the ball,” the Chelsea boss said in his pre-match interview.
“This is what we need.
“Maybe Kai and Hakim lack a little bit of form and lost confidence, and that’s why we went for Timo, to have the speed and intensity against the ball.”
On paper, Werner’s pace could cause problems for Manchester City’s high defensive line.
However, in the first half, at least, both Lukaku and Werner operated in similar advanced positions, and Chelsea had a hard time keeping possession in the middle of the pitch.
Manchester City dominated the first 45 minutes of the game with 66 percent of the possession. Although, impressively, Chelsea’s resilient defence still managed to prevent the visitors from having any shot on target so far in the game.