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Tuchel effusive in praise of undroppable Kai Havertz

Starting spot his to lose

Burnley v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Kai Havertz has scored two of of the biggest goals in recent club history, the winning goals in both the Champions League and the Club World Cup finals, but it’s right now that he’s probably enjoying his best run of form since joining for a club-record fee back in 2020. He’s of course shown flashes of supreme skill since, but just as we’ve struggled to find his best position in the team, he’s struggled to maintain consistency (while also catching Covid twice, once non-trivially even, and dealing with a couple minor injuries as well).

It would seem clear however that he needs to play in attack (as opposed to midfield), and nominally in a central role (as opposed to the wings) to be at his best and most impactful on a consistent basis. And as Tuchel gushed after Saturday’s 4-0 win at Turf Moor, it’s not just Havertz’s quality but the quantity of his quality that makes him such a tremendous asset.

“What he gives us is huge volume. He covers a lot of metres, he covers a lot of metres in high intensity, so he finds the intensity no matter what the system the opponent defends against us, he finds intensive runs, he finds distances. This is what makes him and he uses his body more and more.

“He loves to create overloads and half spaces and this is what he gives. It’s just his style of play, his characteristic as a player. He’s in good shape, he’s confident. He did not have such a good first half [against Burnley], but then he was decisive in the second half and scored twice.”

FBL-ENG-PR-BURNLEY-CHELSEA Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

The 22-year-old (still just 22!) has been so good and decisive that the starting spot in his to lose at the moment, which certainly says something when it’s the likes of new club-record signing Romelu Lukaku and, to a lesser extent due to his versatility, Timo Werner vying for minutes there as well.

“It’s a very good moment and it’s on him to keep going. This is how it is. We played the last cup match without him, Timo Werner was very strong and was very close to starting. Romelu got his goal and we will need everybody. But at this moment, he’s in really good shape.”

-Thomas Tuchel; source: Mirror

When everyone’s fit and firing, we have an abundance of attacking talent, even if that hasn’t always translated to an abundance on the scoreboard. And in theory, we thus also have the flexibility to play different styles and apply different strategies both on and off the ball, depending on which skillsets and which player-combinations get deployed and are effective at the moment. But at this moment, it’s Havertz who’s made himself undroppable, creating, pressing, and scoring as well.

Burnley v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images