It has been a frustrating two seasons for Timo Werner at Chelsea. Many expected him to be an excellent signing for the Blues, but he has struggled to find the form that he displayed in Germany for RB Leipzig. There is no doubting that the German international has the raw attributes to be a big success in the Premier League. The main issue has been confidence. Thomas Tuchel was an appointment designed to get the best from Kai Havertz and Werner, but it has taken more time to get some consistency out of the latter. In recent weeks, there have been shoots of recovery and there is hope that he can salvage his career at the club.
With just matches to go until the end of the season, there would have been expectation that Werner would have been made available for a transfer. There will be interest in him from the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund touted as a potential destination. However, the forward has managed to establish himself at the first eleven at Chelsea, with his goal against Real Madrid last week showing his increasing confidence. Werner didn’t snatch at the chance and kept his composure, before finishing smartly. It looked like it may have been the winner, but his team were eventually knocked out of the competition.
Although the night ended in disappointment for the club, it may be reflected on as a turning point in the career of Werner. Since the international break, the 26-year-old has contributed three goals and two assists in three matches across all competitions. He has been a constant threat in all of the games and could have had more returns in the final third. Throughout his time in England, his pace has always been a dangerous weapon, but his lack of confidence has limited his impact in the final third.
Since the turn of the year, Werner has been averaging 0.71 expected goals (xG) per ninety minutes. This is a higher average in the Chelsea squad with Kai Havertz having the next best with 0.62 xG per ninety minutes. The German has underperformed his xG during this period, as it stands at 2.74 and he has found the back of the net on only two occasions. Despite this, it does show the improvements in Werner’s game and his recent upturn in the final third suggests that his finishing is set to improve.
One slight worry this season has been Werner’s lack of creativity. During his career, he has regularly created good chances for team-mates. There have been a couple of assists recently, but his overall trend during the 2021/22 season has been a downwards one. Last season, he averaged 0.23 expected assists (xA) per ninety minutes. This has fallen to 0.02 in the current campaign.
There could be reasons for the above, such as a change of role for Werner. He has predominantly played as the left winger in a front three and it looks like Tuchel wants him to get into goal-scoring positions. His xG in 2022 emphasises this.
It is early days in Werner’s resurgence at Stamford Bridge and he remains a joke figure in some sections of the Premier League fan-base. However, there are now reasons to believe that he is beginning to find his place at Chelsea.
The next few weeks are crucial. If he maintains his place in the team and continues to contribute in the final third, Tuchel may decide to keep him for another season.
Stats taken from Understat