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Werner's drought goes on, but Chelsea star's struggles may finally be behind him

08-Feb-2021, 04:45 am

Timo Werner Thomas Tuchel Chelsea GFX

Match statistics: Sheffield United 1-2 Chelsea

The £47.5 million ($59m) summersigning fro RB Leipzig has attracted attention for the wrong reasons over the pasttwo months, withhis poor all-round performances havingled to the longest barren run of his career.

Indeed, the 24-year-old's disappointing displays played their part in increasing the pressure on Frank Lampard before he was ultimately sacked and replaced by Thomas Tuchel in January.

Many believed Tuchel's appointment would suddenly improve the moods of his German compatriots Werner and Kai Havertz, but in the new coach's first three matches there were only small signs of the duo being in better spirits.

But in South Yorkshire on Sunday, Werner began to showcase just why it was seen as such a coup for Chelsea to sign the forward in pre-season.

Though there were no goals for the ex-Stuttgart man in the 2-1 win,he played a key role in both of the Blues' successful strikes either side of Antonio Rudiger's humiliating own goal early in the second half.

Firstly, after a number of dangerous runs in behind the home defence in the early stages, Werner was found by Ben Chilwell before cutting the ball back into the path of Mason Mount to open the scoring.

Werner now has six assists in all competitions this term - the most of any Chelsea player - and Mount was quick to celebrate with his new team-mate in a sure sign of the unity that is emerging inside the Chelsea dressing room.

Though Rudiger's error after the break was a shock to the system, Werner ensured the Blues could dwell on the error for long as he latched onto a loose back-pass just two minutes laterbefore using his pace to round goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

The England Under-21 international could not help but bring down the forward, allowing Werner to win his seventh penalty of the season already.

With Jorginho back on spot-kick duty, Werner did not get the chance to end his long goalless run before being replaced on the 75th minute, but his performance as one of two strikers in a 3-5-2 system contained everything else that Tuchel would have asked of him.

"He gives everything, as you can see," the Chelsea managersaid after last weekend's win over Burnley. "Like every striker in the world, these guys are sensitive and nothing helps better than goals.

"If they miss the goals for a certain amount of time, it is not the same for them."

As Werner was withdrawn for N'Golo Kante after suffering from a dead leg,he earned pats on the back from both Tuchel and his assistant Zsolt Low, whom he has a long-standing friendship with andhas been highlighted as a key figure in getting the best out of the forward.

The early signs are good, and though Tuchel's team are not yet firing on all cylinders, they have picked up 10 points from his first four games in charge and are within a solitary of point of fourth-placed Liverpool in the fight for Champions League qualification.

The next step for Werner is obviously getting himself back on the scoresheet, but he does have plenty more to offer too.

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