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Comment: Why Timo Werner Will Thrive at Chelsea Following Romelu Lukaku’s Arrival

With the arrival of Romelu Lukaku at Chelsea, Timo Werner should finally see an increase in production this season as he looks to bounce back from a lacklustre 2020 campaign..

It's hard to skirt around it, especially after last season's performance, but Timo Werner didn't exactly live up to expectations after his his move to Chelsea from RB Leipzig in 2020. His 12 goals were lacklustre, but his 15 assists still tell a story that he was involved in creating goals. 

Still, it wasn't enough, and it shouldn't be enough for a player who was relied upon to be the club's man up top. But, that is where the issue lies: Werner is not a true striker, in the traditional sense. 

During his time at RB Leipzig, Werner was routinely partnered with another playmaker up top, usually in the form of Youssuf Poulson or Patrik Schick. Werner found success in that situation as evidenced by his 95 goals in 159 appearances for the German side. 

Werner was able to play off of the additional space and truly utilise his speed to create goal scoring opportunities. Even when he wasn't the one putting the ball through the back of the net, chances are he was right there in making it happen. In addition to his 95 goals, he put up another 40 assists during his time with Leipzig, just more evidence that he benefited from the setup.

It was that type of performance, albeit in a different situation, that made Werner so coveted during the 2020 summer transfer window. But, Werner was unable to be utilised to such an extent last season with Chelsea. Instead, he was relied upon to be the sole centre forward, something he clearly wasn't comfortable with. 

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For that reason, Chelsea made signing a striker a priority this summer, in part because Werner wasn't meeting expectations in terms of goals, and Tammy Abraham had lost the trust of manager Thomas Tuchel. Abraham's time at the club seems to be near, but for Werner, he may just yet thrive. 

In the end, Romelu Lukaku is the name that Chelsea ultimately decided on when choosing a striker. It makes sense, he was available, has history at the club, and conveniently is also incredibly lethal up top. A true hitman in every sense of the word. 

His arrival could spell improvements not just in terms of scoring more goals, but also in terms of Werner's future. Now, just like at Leipzig, Werner will have a big striker to play next to. At times, it seemed Werner was trying to do too much, and that turned into a lot of pressure, increasingly so as the results didn't follow. It became a slippery slope.

Werner no longer has to put that type of pressure on himself to be a type of player that he, just frankly, isn't. Instead, he will be able play freely, utilise his most potent weapon in his speed, and rely on Lukaku to do the rest. 

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None of that even mentions the additional types of opportunities that players like Christian Pulisic, Kai Havertz, and Mason Mount playing from behind will be able to help create for the two strikers. 

Again, all of this is predicated on the idea that Tuchel actually switches to a two-up-front formation. There has plenty of speculation that Tuchel has been pondering the switch, even before Lukaku's arrival. The club found success last year when they played in a similar formation, and for a team that has the makeup of players it currently does, it would make sense. Even more so when one considers Tuchel's propensity for playing three-in-the-back.

Because of that idea, it's not just the Chelsea supporters who are looking forward to Lukaku's arrival, but Werner himself has expressed his support of it.

"He's probably one of the best three strikers in the world at the moment, no question," Werner told Sky Sports. "I don't think we need to say too much about him. He's a world class striker who would benefit any team.

"I certainly think at RB Leipzig, it always helped me having a big striker alongside me. I think that's good because I'm not the biggest and when you play on your own upfront you obviously have the attention of one or two brawny defenders.

Lukaku - Pre Announcement

"It's a good new weapon to have in our game when you know if you play a long ball he'll hold it up and then the fast players around him can set off. I think that's good for any team."

Even Werner himself admits that his play improves when another big striker is up top with him to help play off of his speed and create chances. Again, that skillset is what made Werner so coveted by nearly every European club last summer. 

It goes without saying that Werner needs to have a bounce back season, and in a big way. There have already been whispers in some corners about potentially moving on from him. While premature, those murmurings still highlight that Werner needs to rise to the occasion, and soon. 

With Lukaku's arrival, Werner should have every opportunity to flourish this season. 


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