Tactical Insight: Breaking down Werner’s wing-play and questioning if it restricts the German’s output.

Great expectations

As one of the most lethal strikers in Germany, Timo Werner became hot property at RB Leipzig.

Liverpool were tipped to land the exciting German forward. Werner even spoke about the link to Jugen Klopp’s side and how it had flattered him.

However, it was Chelsea who came calling and the 24-year-old made the decision to join Frank Lampard’s side in a summer which has seen a huge amount of spending take place.

With the mercurial Kai Havertz joining from Bayer Leverkusen, it has been expected that Chelsea could even mount a challenge for the title. Although, the start to the season has been far from smooth.

A battling win against Brighton was followed up by a humbling loss to Liverpool and a spirited 3-goal comeback which spared blue blushes away at West Brom.

6 goals in 3 games and none of which have fallen to Chelsea’s new front man.

Wide of the mark

Of Werner’s 5 shots against Brighton and Liverpool, the German only managed to hit the target once. Against West Brom, Lampard decided to field Werner in a wider position. Tammy Abraham started centrally and Kai Havertz again further wide. As shown in the below heat map, Werner did drift and found chances centrally despite his positional change.

Timo Werner Heat Map vs west Brom: Displaying the freedom given to the German throughout the match.

Timo Werner heat map vs west Brom: Displaying the freedom given to the German throughout the match.

The best chance fell to Werner in the first half. A brilliant piece of combination play between Havertz and Mason Mount allowed the England international to cut the ball back for Werner who had swapped positions with Abraham and drifted centrally into the box. The German smashed a shot against the crossbar and looked visibly frustrated with his start to life in England.

BIRMINGHAM - ENGLAND: Timo Werner misses chance to put Chelsea level.

BIRMINGHAM – ENGLAND: Timo Werner misses chance to put Chelsea level.

Importantly, at the completion of the move, Abraham aims his run across the box towards the front post. This could present as a problem if Lampard was to continue with this system. Having two central players vying for similar positions could allow open space on Chelsea’s left and leave the full-back exposed to possible counter attacks.

Despite this, according to Wyscout, Werner successfully complete 64% of total actions in the game. Higher than both the previous fixtures. Passing had increased frequency and accuracy. Playing in a wide role allowed Werner greater involvement in the game.

Statistical conclusion

It is unclear whether or not Werner’s sole performance in this alternative role proves he will be wasted whilst out wide. What is clear is Chelsea haven’t invested a large sum of money to use the German out of position.

Werner’s statistics centrally are wildly impressive. Across his domestic youth and senior career, his lethality playing as the central striker far outstrips his potential in wider positions.

In 60 games deployed initially on the right or left-wing Werner has scored 10 goals. In comparison, when played centrally, in 209 games he has scored 114 goals.

Werner’s intense work-rate and enjoyment in roaming means Lampard can be flexible with his selections. However, it seems only a matter of time until Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech’s return will likely ensure Werner’s centrality to the Blues’ front-line.

See also: Frank Lampard provides insight into convincing Timo Werner to join Chelsea

Arsenal’s Rob Holding set for Newcastle as new suitors emerge for Maitland-Niles & Martinez

Great expectations As one of the most lethal strikers in Germany, Timo Werner became hot property at RB Leipzig. Liverpool were tipped to land the exciting German forward. Werner even spoke about the link to Jugen Klopp’s side and how it had flattered him. However, it was Chelsea who came calling and the 24-year-old madeFootball (soccer) greatest goals and highlights | 101 Great Goals – Feed

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