New Chelsea signing could be the making of Timo Werner under Thomas Tuchel – Football.London

Romelu Lukaku’s £97.5million arrival at Chelsea opens an array of tactical opportunities for Thomas Tuchel to explore as the Blues boss looks to solve his side’s goalscoring woes.

The West London side have scored 49 goals across 33 fixtures under the German boss so far, averaging just 1.48 goals a game compared to the 2.74 and 2.43 average goals per game tallied from his time at Paris Saint Germain and Borussia Dortmund, respectively.

Chelsea’s significant lack of goal return became a prevailing issue as it began to cost Tuchel points that could have proved costly in the Blues’ pursuit of a top four finish, ending a game goalless on five separate occasions.

The reigning European Champions finished the 2020/21 Premier League season as the fourth most underperforming side with regard to xG scoring 10.66 fewer goals than statistically anticipated, despite being expected to score the third most goals in the league.

The plethora of goalscoring potential that is at Tuchel’s disposal this season is frightening. Now armed with Lukaku, who can create chances for himself and others on and off the ball, the Blues could finally be set to unleash their secret weapon in the form of Timo Werner.

The German international thrived alongside towering profiles at RB Leipzig directly contributing towards 135 goals in 159 appearances, and could relish playing under the wing of Belgium’s all-time top goalscorer.

Werner was often partnered alongside Yussuf Poulsen or Patrick Schick, a pair of prolific target men who specialised in pinning centre-halves, occupying their attention and winning aerial duels to create space in behind the defence for Werner to run into.



Poulsen attracted three surrounding Borussia Dortmund defenders winning an aerial duel for Werner (labelled) to chase.
Poulsen (centre left) attracted three surrounding Borussia Dortmund defenders winning an aerial duel for Werner to chase.



Werner's pace and presence matched with Poulsen's header puts Dortmund under pressure forcing a mistake.
Werner’s pace and presence matched with Poulsen’s header puts Dortmund under pressure forcing a mistake.



The mistakes then carves open a goal scoring opportunity following Poulsen's ability to attract defenders away from Werner, who then scores.
The mistakes then carves open a goal scoring opportunity following Poulsen’s ability to attract defenders away from Werner, who then scores.

It was a dynamic that ultimately saw the German talisman earn a £47.7million move to Stamford Bridge after scoring 28 goals across 34 Bundesliga games.

However, without a physical presence to bounce off of at Chelsea, Werner struggled despite his impressive efforts.



Timo Werner looks on
Timo Werner has struggled in front of goal for Chelsea

Kai Havertz emerged as a make-shift presence in the latter stages of the season but Tuchel has already been shown how instrumental it is to utilise the attacking midfielder as a creative force who can score goals in the Super Cup final, opposed to a make-shift striker who can create.

Now, with the arrival of Lukaku, Tuchel can look to incorporate a dynamic whereby Werner can emulate his Leipzig-esque forward runs off of a target man.

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Lukaku’s presence, let alone the reputation he arrives with, will ensure that he is heavily marked by opposition defences which could open up space for the likes of Werner to occupy – much like Schick did here for the German versus Union Berlin in January 2020.



Schick's presence and notorious reputation for being good in the air subconsciously draws defenders to challenge him.
Schick’s presence and notorious reputation for being good in the air subconsciously draws defenders to challenge him.



Werner capitalises on this and takes up a healthy position to shoot from, anticipating Schick's knockdown and scores.
Werner capitalises on this and takes up a healthy position to shoot from, anticipating Schick’s knockdown and scores.

Equally, with the Belgian’s ability to hold up the ball, he will be able to draw in retreating midfielders opening up pockets of space for Chelsea’s ball-carriers; whether that is N’Golo Kante picking up the second ball at the heart of midfield or Antonio Rudiger driving from deep against a low-block opposition.



Lukaku wins an aerial duel with his back to goal teeing up Martinez to spread a pass out wide.
Lukaku wins an aerial duel with his back to goal teeing up Martinez to spread a pass out wide.



Matteo Darmian, unmarked because the defenders have been naturally drawn to Lukaku, receives Martinez's early pass and looks to create a goal scoring opportunity.
Matteo Darmian, unmarked because the defenders have been naturally drawn to Lukaku, receives Martinez’s early pass and looks to create a goal scoring opportunity.

There may be times where Lukaku wins an aerial duel, as pictured above, quickly tees up Jorginho allowing the Italian to hit an early lofted pass in behind for Werner to pounce on.

The Chelsea boss is already fixated on his plans for Lukaku, opting to use him as a target man who can work fruitfully with his back to goal almost insinuating that Werner will solely be used in the inside-left channel – a role he thrived in at Leipzig.

It is also worth noting that Lukaku is left-footed, therefore a natural turn onto his preferred foot would open up an avenue of passing lanes that would see Werner ready to execute.



Lukaku with back to goal again receives the ball to feet, aware that Martinez is ready to run in behind Crotone's defence.
Lukaku with back to goal again receives the ball to feet, aware that Martinez is ready to run in behind Crotone’s defence.



Using his power, Lukaku explodes away from his marker and onto his left-foot before looking to play Martinez through on goal.
Using his power, Lukaku explodes away from his marker and onto his left-foot before looking to play Martinez through on goal.



Martinez receives the threaded through ball from Lukaku and cuts inside onto his right-foot off the inside left-channel - much like Werner - and scores.
Martinez receives the threaded through ball from Lukaku and cuts inside onto his right-foot off the inside left-channel – much like Werner – and scores.

Lukaku’s ability to fend off defenders, turn and drive will be pivotal to Chelsea when defending, looking to turn the tide of momentum and counter-attack.

The Belgian’s playmaking has blossomed from his time at Inter Milan recording ten assists in the Serie A last season, striking an exciting partnership with Lautaro Martinez.



Lautaro Martinez alongside Romelu Lukaku
Lautaro Martinez alongside Romelu Lukaku

Lukaku and the Argentine directly assisted one another 19 times over 78 appearances for Inter Milan, highlighting the potential alliance that can be formed with Werner and arming the Chelsea attack with another arrow in its bow.

Ahead of Lukaku’s arrival at Cobham training ground, Tuchel spoke at large about the need for a striker who can play with his back to goal and that can create opportunities for surrounding players – much like Lukaku has done over the last two years in Italy.

Speaking to Sky Sports News, Tuchel said: “We lost Olivier Giroud, who played a crucial role at the club – his goal against Atletico Madrid was decisive in our Champions League campaign – and he was the kind of profile who likes to play with his back to goal, who likes to hold up balls, who creates space for Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic; who is ready to fight physically with defenders.

Fan Brands – Chelsea factbox

You may notice this piece of writing has been produced by a name you’re not familiar with on our regular Chelsea content.

That is because we are expanding our horizons and starting to bring even more to you from a whole host of different voices. We have appointed a whole host of people who – like our journalists – care deeply about what’s happening at Stamford Bridge – but sit in the stands rather than the press box.

We want to give you raw, authentic fan voices about the big issues at Chelsea – which is why the story you have read today might sit on Football London for now, and is part of the Football London family, but is not representative of those who work there full time.

Keep your eyes peeled for more info on where you can read more from this author in the future. But in the meantime, we hope you enjoy what they have written.

“Romelu is one of the guys like [Erling] Haaland at Dortmund, [Robert] Lewandowski at Bayern, Harry Kane at Tottenham, who is a real No. 9 who loves to score and who has a presence in the box.”

Lukaku very much fits the mould of what comprises of a historically successful Chelsea striker and a part of that success is allowing teammates to prosper, much like Didier Drogba’s time with Nicolas Anelka.

Tuchel raved and revelled in the Belgian’s arrival insisting that he is the perfect profile for a Chelsea striker, with reference to Drogba and Diego Costa of late.

Tuchel said: “He is a true No 9, like for me a No 9 that I always from outside see in a Chelsea shirt. I see Chelsea with strong strikers and strong personalities, physical strikers. For me it’s a perfect fit for Chelsea, this kind of player up front.”

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