Can Timo Werner continue to get away with missed opportunities?
Chelsea fans were delighted when their side secured the signature of highly rated German striker Timo Werner from RB Leipzig towards the end of last season. After all, the 24-year-old looked destined for Anfield – making the move to Stamford Bridge all the sweeter for the Blues’ fanbase.
It took Werner a little longer than many would have expected to get used to his new surroundings, with his first goal coming against Tottenham Hotspur in the Carabao Cup, whilst he had to wait until mid-October for his first Premier League goal, scoring twice as Chelsea drew 3-3 with Southampton.
After his first Champions League goal, which came in a 4-0 victory away to Krasnodar, the floodgates finally opened for Werner, and he notched five goals in four games, including league goals against Burnley and Sheffield United and a European double against Rennes.
However, the striker then went on international duty, which arguably couldn’t have come at a worse time for Frank Lampard, as Werner’s fine club form was halted and he hasn’t scored in his last five outings since returning from the international break.
The lack of goals has nothing to do with no chances coming his way. In fact, for Chelsea fans, watching Werner pass on goal scoring opportunities is becoming quite the regular occurrence, and that’s not just in recent games, but throughout many of the matches he has featured in since signing for the Blues.
Against Newcastle United last month, Werner missed a glaring chance to extend Chelsea’s lead to two after Federico Fernández’s early own goal. The German received the ball from Tammy Abraham and was totally free inside the box, but he scuffed his shot past Karl Darlow and the outside of the near post from just 12 yards out.
His confidence in front of goal looked shattered, as he once again blew a chance against the Magpies, opting for an attempted pass to Hakim Ziyech, which was intercepted by a Newcastle defender, when one-on-one with Darlow instead of just taking on the chance to slide a shot past the goalie.
In Chelsea’s next game, away to Rennes in the Champions League, youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi gifted Werner with the perfect opportunity to nab his fourth goal in Europe, as his low cross found the German free on the edge of the six-yard box.
However, Werner somehow blasted the early chance over the bar and into the empty stand behind, much to the disbelief of himself, his teammates, the pundits and those watching at home.
The 24-year-old also missed a gapping opportunity to win the game for the Blues against the French side, as a good pass from Ziyech found him free inside the box, but he hit his shot right at the Rennes keeper and luckily Olivier Giroud was there to pick up the pieces – brilliantly heading home the rebound.
In Chelsea’s recent game against Leeds United, Werner missed his biggest chance yet. Giroud’s header looked destined to the level the scores after Patrick Bamford gave Leeds an early lead. However, whilst trying to get the final touch on the header before it crossed the line, the striker somehow managed to keep the ball out of the net.
Again, Werner was left off the hock as the French forward got his goal a few minutes later and Chelsea ran out 3-1 winners. But, for many onlookers, that didn’t excuse what is being branded as ‘the miss of the season.’
Whilst the German is left ruing missed chances, he continues to get away with it due to the level of his all-round performances. His blistering pace has proven problematic for several defences so far this season.
Against Newcastle he may have missed a couple of chances, but he played a key part in Abraham extending Chelsea’s lead, leaving several defenders in his wake before sliding in a through ball to Abraham, whose shot deflected in off the inside of the post.
Against Leeds, whilst most of the post-match reaction has been about his inexcusable miss, his pace was a key factor once again. In the 93rd minute, Werner would have been excused for trying to hold up play and see out the 2-1 victory.
However, instead he burst down the wing at lightning speed, leaving Northern Irish defender Stuart Dallas behind, before rolling the ball across to Christian Pulisic, who slid in to convert Chelsea’s third goal of match and ensure the three points went in their favour, as they continue to look like title contenders in the latest online betting.
Afterwards, Lampard revealed that he has no concerns about Werner’s missed chances.
“I’ve got no worries about Timo,” the former Chelsea midfielder said. “He’s come into this league and made a big impact straight away.
“His speed, direct nature, things he creates for the team, the fact that he’s getting lots of chances and makes lot of chances through his explosive nature and desire to be in the right areas.”
Werner’s contribution to games along with Chelsea’s lengthy unbeaten streak may save him from the brunt of flak for the meantime, but should the missed opportunities continue, and the Blues’ form dips, then he might start to feel the pressure.
Bukharev Oleg / Shutterstock.com