Chelsea striker Timo Werner ended his three-month wait for a goal against Newcastle United on Monday evening, firing the ball home from close range shortly before half-time to double his side’s lead after Olivier Giroud had opened the scoring. The result marks yet another victory for new boss Thomas Tuchel, who remains undefeated since taking the job after Frank Lampard‘s departure in January.
After just two wins from Lampard’s final eight matches, the Blues have now sealed four consecutive victories in all competitions and look on course to retain their Champions League status at the end of the campaign.
Aside from Tuchel’s success in turning Chelsea’s form around, it appears he has also made a positive start in helping the under-fire Werner find his shooting boots.
The decision to sack Lampard was partly based on the club’s belief that a German boss would help the transitions of Werner and fellow summer signing Kai Havertz into English football, with both players having struggled to impress since arriving in the Premier League.
Werner’s goal troubles this season have visibly eaten away at his confidence, with the forward looking a shadow of his former self towards the end of Lampard’s tenure.
However, under Tuchel’s guidance, there is a real chance that he can become a key player for Chelsea as they hunt a return to Premier League title contention.
Werner looked a different beast from the first whistle against Newcastle, charging down the ball with aggression and tenacity when out of possession, a key hallmark of a player full of determination and self-belief.
When Chelsea had the ball, he demanded it from his team-mates and perpetually looked to drive forward after being picked out.
His electrifying pace, which was on display in abundance, was a large part of the Werner of old, and it will have been refreshing for Tuchel to realise that his once-prolific form can be resurrected in good time.
Werner was arguably Chelsea’s best player during the first period, with his goal a welcome reward for his efforts in possession.
Moments before, he had fired just wide having beaten flailing Newcastle stopper Karl Darlow with a well-hit strike, which surely left the forward wondering if it was finally going to be the day his fortunes changed.
With six minutes until the interval, he scored his first Premier League goal in 1,000 minutes of football for Chelsea, finally ending his long, painful quest and lifting the crippling weight of pressure from his shoulders.
His movement for the chance was clever and considered, effortlessly slipping away from his marker as the ball flew across goal to provide himself with an easy finish, with Darlow too slow to keep it from crossing the line.
If Werner can use the achievement as a springboard to redemption at Chelsea, it will surely justify the club’s highly-criticised decision to replace Lampard with former Paris Saint-Germain boss Tuchel.
With the player looking rejuvenated and eager to take on the responsibility of leading the attacking charge for the Blues, it seems as if the 47-year-old has done, or is working towards, achieving a feat that proved to be a step too far for Lampard.
Tammy Abraham’s injury in the first half of Monday’s game could mean that Werner will need to step up and lead the line for Chelsea in the weeks to come, with Giroud likely to continue playing his bit-part role in support of the former Leipzig man.
Tuchel will be hopeful that his compatriot can carry his goalscoring momentum into Saturday’s clash with Southampton and beyond, with the Blues still facing a battle between now and the end of the season to rubber-stamp their top-four status.