Chelsea have been eyeing up a big striker signing ever since the departure of Diego Costa in 2017 and they thought to have found their man in the form of £50 million summer signing Timo Werner.
Werner arrived following a prolific goal scoring season in Germany with RB Leipzig netting 34 goals in all competitions, which was the reason for Chelsea manager Frank Lampard to decide that he was the man to spearhead Chelsea’s new attack. However, things have not quite got off to the start that Lampard would have wanted with only two goals for the new signing, and a slump in form for Chelsea.Embed from Getty Images
Towards the end of last season, Lampard seemed to have found a system that worked for the side playing the experienced Olivier Giroud as number 9. Giroud, although not a prolific goal scorer throughout his career, has been regarded as one of the best target men in the world by fellow professionals such as Eden Hazard. There must be some sense behind this as Giroud is a world cup winner with France where he started every match during the tournament. This hold up play was instrumental in Chelsea securing Champions League qualification last season, so should Chelsea resort back to the old ways?Embed from Getty Images
One of the main reasons why this target man was so useful for Chelsea was that it allowed the wide players such as Christian Pulisic and Willian to have more opportunities on goal, which then resulted in more goals coming from out wide. Whereas this season, there has been very little in terms of goals from that position compared to last.
Another thing to note is that for the majority of Werner’s career at RB Leipzig, he used to bounce off a target man as well in the form of Yussuf Poulsen. His role in the squad was very much similar to that off Giroud, bringing the ball down from the air and holding it up in attack to lay it off to the onrushing wingers. This is what Werner used to thrive off with his pace being the perfect partner for a target man. So would we see a more prolific goal scoring Werner with a target man?
This has already been tried briefly this season with Werner playing out on the left and Tammy Abraham playing up top. But for some reason this didn’t work either and that could be because of two reasons. One, Abraham isn’t quite the same hold up man as Giroud is with the latter having a wealth more of experience and strength to do the job. Two, Werner isn’t a winger either and he often seemed lost playing out wide. So how should Chelsea set up?
To counter all of this, Chelsea could look to change to a formation that Lampard is all too familiar with having played in it himself during his career at Chelsea, a diamond formation with two strikers. Utilising both Giroud with Werner up top plays to both of their strengths which could form a formidable partnership. This would allow for Werner to play exactly where he is his best, and therefore we could see the goal scoring Werner that we are all accustomed to. Chelsea also have the players to suit the rest of the system, meaning that they once again get their target man up top bringing in the rest of the team to attack.
It remains to be seen whether or not Lampard will be changing his formation anytime soon, but could we see a return to the old diamond?