3. Thomas Tuchel can get Timo Werner firing again
I’ll admit it, I’m at the very top of the list of ra-ra cheerleaders supporting struggling players, and no player needs that more than Timo Werner right now. But at this point, Werner’s run of terrible form is a capital-T Thing, and it’s getting painful to watch. To say that Tuchel was appointed to “fix” Werner is ridiculous; same goes for the idea of Tuchel getting the best out of Kai Havertz. Just sharing a nationality with someone doesn’t mean you share some type of symbiosis. That said, Tuchel does seem to have a plan to put Werner in a position to succeed.
Under Frank Lampard, Werner was either a left winger or a lone striker, neither of which suited his skills and natural tendencies. He lacked the technical skill and passing range to be effective on the wing, while not having the natural sense of positioning required of a true No. 9. Against Burnley, Tuchel instead positioned Werner somewhere between the two. With Marcos Alonso playing as the wingback to his left and Tammy Abraham as the central striker, Werner was able to make runs between the left and central defenders, a somewhat similar role to what he did at RB Leipzig.
While Burnley’s staunch and deep defensive line prevented Werner from ever truly finding space behind the back line, there were more flashes of potential than what he’s shown over the last few months. If anything, under Lampard, Werner had a habit of running himself into the ground in a desperate attempt to make something positive happen. Which, while commendable, led to overzealous shots early in matches and tired, wayward ones later on. In his first full match under Tuchel, Werner seemed far less frantic. He managed a few well-placed shots that would have found the corner with a bit more pace, and had one thumping header that Nick Pope was perfectly positioned to catch.
In short, it was the type of marginal improvement that suggests Werner will slowly arrive at consistent production in the not-so-distant future. Had Werner popped up with two goals and an assist on Sunday, you’d be more likely to believe it was just a freak accident of a performance. Instead, Tuchel seems to have a strategy for allowing Werner to become the player who came out of the gates on fire early in the season. By playing Werner in a position that makes the most of his unique skills and surrounding him with a system that will provide the types of chances he has made a living on in Germany, Tuchel seems capable of pulling Werner out of his deep rut of poor form. There’s no magical German mysticism involved, it’s just a fresh tactical philosophy that should cater to a player who will be needed if Chelsea intends on competing on any front going forward.