Thomas Tuchel should rely on struggling Chelsea star to ‘step up’ after Romelu Lukaku blow
Chelsea v Malmo Match in Pictures
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Chelsea comfortably beat Swedish side Malmo on Wednesday evening thanks to goals from Andreas Christensen, Kai Havertz and a penalty spot brace from Jorginho. However, despite the emphatic victory, injuries to Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner took the gloss off of the result.
Summer signing Lukaku, who was signed from Inter Milan for £97.5million, hobbled off of the pitch in the 23rd minute with an ankle injury following a poor tackle from Lasse Nielsen inside the area.
Then just 20 minutes later Timo Werner was gingerly helped down the tunnel holding his hamstring in what looked like a muscle injury, meaning manager Thomas Tuchel is expected to be without both of his strikers for the next few games.
Following the game, he called for the rest of his squad to improve in the absence of the Blues’ two central goalscorers; he said: “We have a twist of the ankle for Romelu, and muscle injury and hamstring for Timo, so they will be some days out I guess,
“Normally we are in a good place injury-wise, only Christian Pulisic is out, but we miss everybody. We have a lot of games, lot of competitions, so now we have to deal and find solutions, no excuses.
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“The two were in good shape, they are dangerous and can create and score so now we need to find solutions and guys who waited for their chance need to step up and score.
“The race is on, the guys who start against Norwich have our trust and we will try to find new solutions. We have won games before without Werner and Lukaku, we don’t want these problems too often but it happens during a season.”
Last seasons backup options Olivier Giroud, sold to AC Milan, and Tammy Abraham, allowed to reunite with Jose Mourinho at Roma, were both sold over the summer meaning that the Blues boss will be relying on a makeshift forward to step up – most probably, Havertz.
The German midfielder is incredibly versatile and can play as a no.10 and on either wing, and towards the end of last season, he was also utilised as a striker to allow Werner to play on his favoured left-wing.
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Havertz arrived at Stamford Bridge in September 2020 for £71m from Bayer Leverkusen but has struggled to tie down a starting spot at Chelsea.
The German has featured regularly under Tuchel, but has not consolidated himself as one of the first names on the team sheet, instead, being rotated with Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Hakim Ziyech and Werner.
However, when given consistent game time then Havertz has proven that he can flourish, as shown by his outstanding performance in the Champions League final against Manchester City where he scored the all-important goal in the 1-0 win.
The 22-year-old previously played a centre forward for Leverkusen before he made the move to London, and his finishing ability, creativity and pace means he doesn’t look out of place in the role.
Speaking after Wednesday’s match, Havertz said: “I came from the bench, you always have to be ready, it is always tough to come in but I tried to do my best in the second half to score a goal, so it is a nice feeling.”
The German international’s goal was a perfect example of what a natural finisher he is, and why Tuchel is likely to look to him to be his no.9 until Lukaku or Werner return.
Hudson-Odoi won the ball deep inside his own half and charged towards the Malmo goal at pace, he then slipped the ball into the path of Havertz who, from an acute angle, dinked the ball over the keeper and in off the post.
With five goals in 34 league appearances, Tuchel will be hoping his midfielder steps up to the plate when played further forward.
If Havertz can find the goal scoring form he was in during his last two seasons in the Bundesliga (29 goals in 64 appearances) then Blues fans may be relieved of their potential woes.
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