Timo Werner in focus: How Chelsea forward stayed patient to make mark in Sheffield United win

Amarachi Orie looks at Timo Werner’s performance in Chelsea’s 4-1 victory over the Blades and how the forward is proving a bargain buy…

Werner is a classic example of slow and steady wins the race. Having had a very passive start in Chelsea’s game against Sheffield United, he went on to produce an explosive finish, scoring the fourth goal in the Blues’ 4-1 victory.

The German played in the 3-0 win over Rennes in the Champions League earlier in the week, converting two penalties having replaced Jorginho as the club’s new dedicated penalty taker. In that game he was deployed as a left-winger, allowing Tammy Abraham to lead the attack from the centre. This worked successfully, so it came as no surprise that Frank Lampard put Werner in the same position again at the weekend. 

The forward, however, started the match against the Blades with tired legs. He might have been on the pitch but Chelsea were playing the game without him. David McGoldrick gave Sheffield United the lead in the 10th minute, and Werner played no part in the Blues’ initial response.

Hakim Ziyech was making great runs and putting in great crosses, but it was not Werner who was getting on the end of them. Abraham was the first to score for Chelsea, assisted by an energetic Mateo Kovacic who had not played much earlier in the week.

Werner did have a chance to score when a ball into the box by Ziyech came off the Blades goalkeeper. However, his powerful strike at goal only reached the bar. This was the single notable involvement the German had in the action in the entire first half.

All the other new signings were stepping up to the plate. After Ziyech put a long ball into the box, the ball came off left-back Ben Chilwell and flew into the net. Ziyech then assisted full-back Thiago Silva in extending the lead with a header in the second half. 

The defenders were making the runs and positioning themselves in a way that Werner should have been. When there would be an array of players in blue shirts trying to keep the ball alive in the box, Werner would be nowhere to be seen.

Little did the Blades know that the ability to move around undetected is Werner’s most deadly tactic. When he does make his runs, he is too quick to be stopped. When he does enter the box, he drifts in unnoticed, with the defenders none the wiser. 

In the 80th minute, an erroneous kick by Sheffield United’s Max Lowe sent the ball towards his own goal. Werner, like Abraham, was positioned between defenders Chris Basham and John Egan. However, it was Werner that was quickest to respond to the ball.

He was sharp and quick on his feet. He made an explosive run towards goal, got on the ball and smashed it into the back of the net. This was the moment the striker had been waiting for. His passiveness then appeared to be patience. His absence was instead evasion, a part of his cunning tricks.

Having Werner play on the left might be of great benefit to Abraham but it evidently does not do much for Werner. When the German international plays in the centre, he is more active, more assertive and more clinical. This is when Lampard can get the best out of him.

Werner was not the most influential player in the match – that was Ziyech – but he is in great form. He has now scored four goals in the Premier League – the most in his team – and there is no doubt that he will go on to score many more. At £47.5million, he is proving to be a bargain buy.

Follow Amarachi on Twitter at @iamarachii

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