Chelsea slipped to consecutive defeats in the Premier League against Wolves on Tuesday night, with record signing Kai Havertz once again struggling to make any sort of impresison.
A competitive first half ended goalless before French striker Olivier Giroud put the Blues ahead in the second half, when his volley was fumbled into the net by Rui Patricio. Wolves continued to apply pressure and equalised thanks to fantastic solo effort from Daniel Podence in the 66th minute.
Frank Lampard’s side were dealt the killer blow in injury time as Pedro Neto broke away on the halfway line, before beating Kurt Zouma for pace and slamming a left-footed strike into the far corner to win the game.
Chelsea struggled to create any real chances without Hakim Ziyech in the side once again, as Lampard persisted with using Timo Werner out wide with Christian Pulisic. Havertz was once again fielded in a deeper midfield position rather than his preferred number ten role and struggled to make an impact before being replaced in the 71st minute.
It means that the Blues have failed to beat any side placed 12th or above in the Premier League so far this season.
Since signing for £72million in the summer from Bayer Leverkusen, Havertz has scored just four goals and registered three assists in 17 appearances for the club. Three of those four goals came as he scored a hat-trick in the League Cup against lower league side Barnsley too, so his start to life at Stamford Bridge has been a real struggle.
But aside from numbers, his overall performances have really failed to impress. He looks slow with and without the ball, physically he is struggling against the more aggressive sides and he’s not looking particularly creative either.
Part of that, for sure, is that he is still adapting to a new league and new country. Part of it is also likely to be that he suffered with a bout of COVID-19 earlier in the season and he may still not be 100% sharp.
But it certainly seems like more than that to the naked eye. Lampard’s tactics almost seem to be shoehorning him in right now, with an insistence on including Mason Mount in the team also.
Mount deserves his place in the team right now undoubtedly, but Havertz does not. A potential change to a 4-2-3-1 formation to get Havertz into his best position with Mount and Kante behind him would be the same lineup but with different responsibilities.
Havertz would have far more creative burden placed on him but he’s at his best in that situation, where he can get closer to goal and be involved in the final phases of play rather than the build up.
Some Chelsea fans are beginning to grow frustrated with him and it’s more than warranted. Lampard needs to start getting the best out of the 21 year old attacking midfielder, or relieve him of his misery by not playing him in a formation that doesn’t suit him.
Kai Havertz is struggling and it’s now making Chelsea struggle too. Tick tock, Lampard.