Timo Werner may not be scoring much these days, but he’s still got a few tricks up his sleeve, including his tendency to win penalties, which he used to excellent effect against Spurs last night. Eric Dier went to ground a bit foolishly and started flailing his legs around as he battled with Werner for a long-ball into the box from Azpilicueta, and the Chelsea striker needed no second invitation to make that naive bit of play and contact count.
As referee Andre Marriner pointed to the spot, the existential dread of the penalty taker question suddenly descended. Would it be Werner himself, who seemingly can’t hit the broad side of a barn right now, and missed his last effort a couple weeks ago against Luton Town in the FA Cup? Would it be Jorginho, who has bunny-hopped his way to three (3!) failed conversions this season already, which cost him the automatic top spot on this list in the first place? (Liverpool, Krasnodar, Arsenal: THREE!) Would be someone else, someone new? Recent options used were all unavailable with Willian long gone, Ross Barkley out on loan, and neither Tammy Abraham nor Olivier Giroud playing? I half expected Marcos Alonso to step up.
But no, it was Jorginho who took immediate control, took the ball, and scored. As Tuchel explained afterwards, that decision was made before the game — just as such decisions should always be made before the game to prevent any confusion or untoward drama.
“The guys took some penalties in the last nine days after training and we have Willy Caballero and the guys pushing the penalty takers to be serious and if you are not then you don’t score.
“So you get a good picture of who is capable and today it was Mason and Jorginho on the sheet, we put the two names and I said to Jorginho just before the match if he feels confident to take a penalty and he said clearly yes. So we trusted him but I did not discuss with him how to take it.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
Couple notable things in that answer. One, it was Jorginho himself who chose to switch things up and go for power instead of the usual production. Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris wasn’t too surprised by that and guessed the right way, but Jorgi’s placement was good as well. Two, Werner wasn’t even an option, with Mason Mount apparently penciled in as the alternate taker.
Such things and lists can change often of course, and no one’s perfect at penalties, but it’s yet another detail that Tuchel seems well in control of, and another detail that is serving us to good effect.