Since mid-November, Timo Werner has now gone an incredible 34 games for club and country while scoring only two (2!) goals — vs. Newcastle and Morecambe — but during that time, he has added nine (9) assists. That metric remains strangely underrated and overlooked despite the incredibly team-centric and goal-shy nature of the sport (compare to ice hockey that gives out up to two official assists per goal with only half the number of players on the field of play), but it serves to underline the major role that Werner continues to play in the Chelsea attack — as under Lampard so under Tuchel.
Granted 11 “goal contributions” — really need a better name for this — in 34 games isn’t great either, but Werner’s overall output of 10 goals (third-most on the team) and 12 assists (most on the team) for the season is still tops on the team. Again, not earth-shattering, but it does explain in part why he continues to be picked. (It doesn’t explain why Tammy Abraham continues to be ostracized, but that’s a discussion for another day.)
Two of Werner’s last three assists have come on goals by Hakim Ziyech, both crucial strikes against Atlético Madrid last month in the Champions League Round of 16, and Manchester City last night, in the FA Cup semifinal. Werner and Ziyech combined twice on carbon copy goals against City in fact, the first of which was ruled out for offside however.
So even as the goals continue to be absent, Timo’s certainly making his presence felt. His speed remains one of the best weapons in our arsenal, even if it may be misfiring to a surprising extent.
“It was nearly exactly the same goal as it was against Atletico, that works very well. We had the same one in the first half but it was offside but yeah I think all the offensive players have a good relationship. It was also a very good pass from Mason.
“We have a good mix between guys who can come into the ball but also go behind the lines so the relationship with Hakim but also all the others is very good.”
Werner of course knows that assists don’t pay the bills when it comes to narratives and pressures, though to his credit, he’s not let it affect other parts of his game. He may be lacking confidence in front of goal — case in point: his assist for Mount against West Brom, when he passed up his own easy shot — but he’s yet to stop working. It’s that quality that continues to inspire support from his coaches, and maintain belief that he can find his way back to his goalscoring ways of the last few years.
“When you don’t score you have to help the team with other things and at the moment I’m helping the team with assists. That’s not my main target, they didn’t buy me to assist, but I can help today with a good assist to win the game so I’m very happy with that. I’m not the type of guy who only wants to score, I want to win the games and when I assist and help the team like this it’s also very, very good.”
-Timo Werner; source: talkSport
Werner will have a few great opportunities to make us forget about his relatively low-scoring first season at Stamford Bridge in the next few weeks, with a Champions League semifinal, an FA Cup final, and of course the fight for the top-four still on the agenda — all ripe for his contributions, be that goals, assists, pressing, or interpretive dancing. After all, goals are great, but even Didier Drogba only scored more than 16 twice in his nine-year Chelsea career. At the end of the day, the team winning is the only thing that matters.