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Chelsea strikers don’t have long to impress Tuchel before Haaland and Aguero transfer bids

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chelsea strikers dont have long to impress tuchel before haaland and aguero transfer bids

One foot in the Champions League semi-finals and holding their top-four hopes in their hands, there is not much wrong at Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea – but one striking issue remains. 

Barring a shock 5-2 home loss the West Brom, the Blues have been firing on most cylinders. Their last 10 games have seen seven victories and just three goals conceded – but at the other end of the pitch the situation is more concerning.

While Chelsea have managed to score 16 goals in those 10 matches, only two of them have come from the player acting as the central striker. No wonder the Blues have been linked with summer moves for Erling Haaland and Sergio Aguero.

Despite a positive start to life at Chelsea, Thomas Tuchel still has a problem up front

Despite a positive start to life at Chelsea, Thomas Tuchel still has a problem up front

Despite a positive start to life at Chelsea, Thomas Tuchel still has a problem up front

None of Chelsea's central strikers, including Tammy Abraham (left) and Timo Werner (right) have managed to nail down a regular spot under the German boss

None of Chelsea's central strikers, including Tammy Abraham (left) and Timo Werner (right) have managed to nail down a regular spot under the German boss

None of Chelsea’s central strikers, including Tammy Abraham (left) and Timo Werner (right) have managed to nail down a regular spot under the German boss

Relatively new head coach Tuchel has been rather fair to each of his No 9 options at Stamford Bridge. The likes of Olivier Giroud, Tammy Abraham and Timo Werner have been rotated regularly – but little decisive action has resulted from them.

It provoked the German manager to drop all three for the visit to Crystal Palace on Saturday evening, with Kai Havertz operating in a false nine role instead for the 4-1 victory.

With the talk surrounding Haaland and Aguero not going away, Sportsmail analyses Chelsea’s current forward options and determines whether they have a west London future or not…

Sportsmail revealed earlier this year that Chelsea are one of several clubs looking at Erling Haaland

Sportsmail revealed earlier this year that Chelsea are one of several clubs looking at Erling Haaland

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has also been linked with the Blues on a free transfer

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has also been linked with the Blues on a free transfer

Chelsea have been linked with moves for Erling Haaland (left) and Sergio Aguero this summer

KAI HAVERTZ 

The forward currently in Tuchel’s good books is the German Havertz, who arguably had the best game of his career at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

The 21-year-old put a shaky start to his Stamford Bridge career behind him by getting a goal and an assist in the first half against Crystal Palace – and Havertz was unlucky not to come away with the match ball as Vicente Guaita denied him well on two occasions.

Kai Havertz is finally getting the goals his form has deserved and scored twice on Saturday

Kai Havertz is finally getting the goals his form has deserved and scored twice on Saturday

Kai Havertz is finally getting the goals his form has deserved and scored twice on Saturday

CHELSEA STRIKERS UNDER TUCHEL 

Goals (Assists in brackets): 

Olivier Giroud – 2 (0)

Kai Havertz – 1 (1)

Timo Werner – 1 (3)

Tammy Abraham – 1 (0)

Minutes:

Giroud: 449

Havertz: 564

Werner: 971

Abraham: 213 

Source: Opta 

  

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This performance from Havertz has been coming for some time. The German was unlucky not to find the net in his two most recent Premier League starts against Leeds and Everton – and was controversially benched for the West Brom defeat. 

Now Havertz is getting the goals and assists that his recent form has deserved, with small portions of the large £89million transfer fee that Chelsea paid for him being paid off. 

If Tuchel is keen to implement his pressing style on this Chelsea team, then using Havertz as a central striker off the ball could be a useful solution. The 21-year-old wins possession back for the Blues much more regularly than his striker rivals. 

There is no surprise that Havertz is performing well in the central forward role under Tuchel at the moment, given that was where he played his best football at Bayer Leverkusen last season.  

After German football returned from lockdown last summer, he scored six goals in five Bundesliga matches playing as the central forward, with just one goal coming from the right-wing or attacking midfield roles in that same period. 

He has had to deal with moving to a new country, suffering with coronavirus and a mid-season change in manager, but Havertz looks like he’s finally hitting the ground running in west London. 

Verdict: STAY 

OLIVIER GIROUD

Chelsea’s veteran French striker continues to cause a conundrum at Stamford Bridge.

His two goals for Chelsea under Tuchel makes him the highest-scoring striker under the new boss, which is even more surprising given he has barely been used. 

Despite his big-game reliability, Olivier Giroud has been barely used by Tuchel at Chelsea

Despite his big-game reliability, Olivier Giroud has been barely used by Tuchel at Chelsea

Despite his big-game reliability, Olivier Giroud has been barely used by Tuchel at Chelsea

CHELSEA STRIKERS UNDER TUCHEL 

Chances created:

Timo Werner: 13

Kai Havertz: 7 

Olivier Giroud: 0

Tammy Abraham: 0 

Source: Opta 

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Giroud has only started five times under Tuchel but moments like an overhead winner against Atletico Madrid are certainly in his locker so the 34-year-old still has use at Stamford Bridge.

A potential reason why Giroud has often been shelved by Tuchel is his inability to carve out chances for others. In the seven appearances Giroud has made under Tuchel, the French international has created zero chances for his team-mates – with Werner and Havertz averaging at least one per game. 

Giroud has come close to leaving Chelsea on several occasions but has repeatedly been given faith due to his ability to regularly produce on the big stage. His minutes-per-goal ratio under Tuchel still shows that today. 

But, with his contract up at the end of the season and Giroud left as an unused substitute in each of Chelsea’s last five Premier League matches, these may be the last few months we see the Frenchman in the Chelsea blue.

Verdict: GO 

TAMMY ABRAHAM

An ankle injury has not helped Abraham’s start to life under Tuchel so far this season, but it’s fair to say that Chelsea’s new German coach is not particularly fond of the Blues’ top scorer.

The 23-year-old is the striker with the fewest starts, appearances and overall minutes played under him and the Englishman has underperformed when he has been given the chance.

Abraham has had few chances to impress Tuchel, and the Englishman hasn't taken them too

Abraham has had few chances to impress Tuchel, and the Englishman hasn't taken them too

Abraham has had few chances to impress Tuchel, and the Englishman hasn’t taken them too

CHELSEA STRIKERS UNDER TUCHEL 

Possession won in final third:

Kai Havertz: 6

Timo Werner: 4

Olivier Giroud: 0

Tammy Abraham: 0 

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Despite scoring as many goals as Werner and Havertz under the German coach so far (only one), Abraham – like Giroud – has failed to tee up any chances for his team-mates in his four starts and five appearances since Tuchel took over. 

Furthermore, the Chelsea academy graduate has been hauled off at half-time by the German on two separate occasions, publicly highlighting his inability to impress the new Blues boss. 

He may still be Chelsea’s top goalscorer in all competitions this season with 12 but the rumours surrounding Haaland and Aguero will not exactly be music to Abraham’s ears. 

Should Chelsea stump up the funds to bring in one of their striker targets this summer, this could push Abraham out of the door. 

Verdict: GO – ESPECIALLY IF A NEW STRIKER ARRIVES

TIMO WERNER 

Many expected more from Werner following his £53million transfer from RB Leipzig last summer. A striker who arrived with 28 league goals to his name last term has just five this time around so far.

A more concerning statistic is that the 24-year-old has failed to find the net in any of his matches where he has been used as a central striker under Tuchel. 

Timo Werner was dropped by Tuchel for the first-time against Crystal Palace last weekend

Timo Werner was dropped by Tuchel for the first-time against Crystal Palace last weekend

Timo Werner was dropped by Tuchel for the first-time against Crystal Palace last weekend

CHELSEA STRIKERS UNDER TUCHEL 

Touches in the opposition penalty box:

Timo Werner: 79 (7.32 per game)

Kai Havertz: 44 (7.02 per game)

Olivier Giroud: 17 (3.41 per game)

Tammy Abraham: 8 (3.88 per game) 

Source: Opta 

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At Crystal Palace Werner was dropped from Chelsea’s Premier League starting line-up for the first time since Tuchel’s debut match in charge – and given Havertz’s performance he may not be getting his spot back in a hurry. 

What is interesting about Werner is that he has given more to Tuchel’s side as a support striker rather than through the middle – even though former Blues boss Frank Lampard was criticised for playing him on the left. 

The 24-year-old, who is blessed with devastating pace, attempts more dribbles than any of his striker rivals but only successfully completes a third of his take-ons.  

Tuchel also takes the ball into the penalty area a lot more when he is used compared to Abraham, Giroud and Havertz, which could be useful against sides who play a deep block against the high-flying Blues. 

The goal return is still a concern and is definitely an area that can be improved on for next season, but there has been enough promise from Werner this term to justify his inclusion next season.

Verdict: STAY – BUT MUST DO BETTER

AND WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER FORWARDS?  

Many expected Christian Pulisic to impress under Tuchel given the fact the pair worked together before at Borussia Dortmund and the American’s recent displays are proving exactly that. 

The 22-year-old’s clinical brace at Palace was impressive not only in a clinical aspect but by the way he linked up with other strikers on the pitch well, such as with Havertz for the Blues’ second goal of the afternoon. 

Pulisic attempts more shots, has more touches in the box and has better pressing percentages than Chelsea’s other regular wide options, despite only starting five matches under Tuchel.

Christian Pulisic has reunited well with Tuchel since the German arrived at Stamford Bridge

Christian Pulisic has reunited well with Tuchel since the German arrived at Stamford Bridge

Christian Pulisic has reunited well with Tuchel since the German arrived at Stamford Bridge

Hakim Ziyech's delivery has been a useful asset for Chelsea, especially in the final third

Hakim Ziyech's delivery has been a useful asset for Chelsea, especially in the final third

Hakim Ziyech’s delivery has been a useful asset for Chelsea, especially in the final third

Hakim Ziyech, meanwhile, has not made many headlines compared to the likes of Havertz and Werner but has quietly proved to be a reliable option in his first season at Stamford Bridge.

The Moroccan’s expert delivery has caught the eye of many Chelsea fans since his arrival, with the 28-year-old playing more passes into the penalty area than any other winger. 

One area where Ziyech can improve, however, is his pressing game, with the winger failing to win possession in the final third in any of his seven appearances under the new Chelsea head coach.  

Meanwhile, Callum Hudson-Odoi‘s attacking statistics are bound to be weaker given the fact he has been often used as a wing-back under Tuchel. 

While the England Under-21 international does not have the goalscoring prowess that Pulisic and Ziyech have brought since Tuchel’s arrival, his assists levels and progressive passing figures are still impressive. 

CHELSEA’S WIDE FORWARDS UNDER TUCHEL 

Goals (assists in brackets):

Christian Pulisic: 3 (2)

Callum Hudson-Odoi: 0 (2)

Hakim Ziyech: 2 (0)

Chances created:

Pulisic: 10

Hudson-Odoi: 19

Ziyech: 20 

Possession won in final third: 

Pulisic: 3

Hudson-Odoi: 3

Ziyech: 0 

Passes played into the box (including crosses):

Pulisic: 15 (2.5 per game)

Hudson-Odoi: 59 (6.54 per game)

Ziyech: 43 (7.3 per game) 

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This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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