Werner the Key to Success for Frank Lampard’s Chelsea
Former RB Leipzig Striker Failing to set the Premier League Alight
It’s only four games into the new season, but already Chelsea fans must be wondering if their new marquee striker is up to the task.
Timo Werner arrived from RB Leipzig having scored 28 goals in 34 games in his final season with the German outfit. So far, he’s managed just one goal in England – against Tottenham Hotspur in the Carabao Cup.
In the Premier League, he is currently averaging one shot on target per game. His expected goals rate is 0.3 per game.
It’s clear that Werner hasn’t exactly hit the ground running, yet Lampard has no choice but to play him, and clearly wants to make it work with the German international. Werner has played almost every minute of Chelsea’s league campaign so far.
Lampard is right to persist with Werner – getting the best out of the striker will be critical for a variety of reasons.
Firstly, and most importantly, it will get points on the board. If Werner is scoring at the same rate as he was for Leipzig, Chelsea will likely be guaranteed a Champions League spot come the end of the season.
Secondly, it will give the Chelsea board confidence that Lampard is the right man for the job, capable of making a success from high-profile signings.
And thirdly, it will help justify Lampard’s selection of the German. Make no mistake, Werner will continue to start ahead of Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud for a considerable amount of time, regardless of form.
That’s the way it works with marquee signings at Chelsea. Andriy Shevchenko, Fernando Torres, Alvaro Morata, Adrian Mutu – all were expected to play because of their price tags. It didn’t matter if they fit the system or not.
Werner won’t want his name to be associated with that motley crew, for his manager’s sake as well as his own.
Lampard Knows the Bar for Success is Higher Than Debut Season
Chelsea currently sit seventh in the table and head into the international break off the back of a 4-0 win over Crystal Palace.
Last season, this would have been fine. Expectations were low. The West London club had lost their best player in Eden Hazard, and were unable to sign any players due to a transfer ban. Lampard had a free pass.
A top-four finish was beyond expectations. Lampard was rightly praised for bringing through young English talent as a part of that success.
This year is markedly different. Chelsea have spent around £230 million in the summer transfer window, and on some of Europe’s most prodigious talent.
Chelsea will be expected to challenge for the title this season as a result of that financial outlay.
So far, Lampard has failed to show he’ll be as successful with the club as a manager as he was as a player.
A scrappy 3-1 win against Brighton wasn’t the blistering start Chelsea fans were hoping for. This was followed by a 2-0 loss at home to a Liverpool side still miles ahead in terms of quality.
Then came the rollercoaster at The Hawthorns. 3-0 down at half-time against West Brom simply isn’t good enough for Frank Lampard’s Chelsea.
While they showed remarkable character to grab a very late equaliser, Lampard cannot come to rely on such heroics.
October Fixtures Critical for Lampard’s Chelsea Legacy
Chelsea’s fixture list over the next two months is relatively kind. They play Tottenham Hotspur on the 28th November – before which they will face Southampton, Manchester United, Burnley, Sheffield United and Newcastle United.
It is critical for Lampard that he takes close to maximum points in this run of fixtures. He’ll also have to ensure a good start in the Champions League. A comfortable group of Sevilla, Rennes and Krasnodar should be easily navigated.
A wobble at any point will heap the pressure on Lampard. Continued failure to get the most out of his star signings, not least Timo Werner, could see him sacked from his dream job, in only his third year of management.