Why Timo Werner got mad at himself as Thomas Tuchel details Chelsea’s plan to beat Real Madrid
Turbo Timo’s tricky turnaround
Before kick-off, very few Chelsea supporters expected Timo Werner to start at St Mary’s. The German’s form in recent weeks simply didn’t deserve a place in the attack ahead of Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech. But the opponent the Blues faced may not have been taken into account enough.
Despite all his struggles at Chelsea, Werner managed to score against Southampton. He scored twice when Saints visited Stamford Bridge last season and also netted when Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side came to west London earlier in the current campaign. The high defensive line deployed by Hasenhuttl is the German striker’s dream.
It was obvious at the start of yesterday’s game. Werner hit the post early and then hit the crossbar with a close-range header – the latter was a chance he should have scored. The 26-year-old was then offered another opportunity moments later but was denied by Fraser Foster in the Southampton goal.
After that chance, Werner threw his arms in the air angrily. He was frustrated with himself and angry. He needed something to follow his path. Fortunately, James Ward-Prowse was on hand to provide that. The midfielder passed a Jan Bednarek header and it gave Werner the entire Southampton half to break in chasing the ball.
Muscle memory kicked in then – it felt like Werner was back at RB Leipzig. He had time to control the ball, coldly bypass Forster, then finish in an empty net. There was a release of emotion in his celebration. Other opportunities for Werner came and went; he again hit the post from close range but was lucky the ball fell on Havertz to score.
In the second half, he added a second after Christian Pulisic was denied, taking Werner’s tally in the Premier League this season to three goals. All came against Southampton. But perhaps more incredibly – or disappointingly – 23.8% of all the goals Werner has scored for Chelsea since joining in the summer of 2020 have been against Saints. If only he could play them every week.
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