When a club is going through a tough time, the attention almost always switches to the manager. That is the case at Chelsea right now, with the Blues having lost five of their last seven Premier League games.
Part of the criticism heading Lampard’s way has been his use over the club’s two big summer signings in Timo Werner and Kai Havertz. Both men have struggled badly since signing for a combined £125m from Bundesliga sides RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen respectively, with Lampard often using them both out of position.
While Havertz’s bad form has been attributed to a lack of minutes, a poor setup from the manager and the fact he tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the season, Werner’s struggles are harder to explain.
The 24-year-old is currently Chelsea’s top goalscorer with seven goals in all competitions, but his performances have been shocking for the most part. He had a great game against Southampton after playing as the central striker but most of his games have come from the left.
It’s easy to use that as an excuse for his performances, and it should absolutely be taken under consideration. However, it doesn’t excuse everything.
His touch has been shocking, his movement hasn’t been good, he hasn’t been able to beat players in one on one situations and his passing has been woeful. He’s also seems to dribble the ball out of play at least once a game, although it may not be factually accurate.
There is more to his mishaps than just bad form or a poor setup too. There’s also the fact that he just isn’t as good as people thought.
His all round game wasn’t needed so much in Germany, with Leipzig looking to simply play him in behind the defence for him to run into space and finish. He can’t do that in the Premier League.
Firstly, because teams don’t afford Chelsea space in behind like that. The Premier League’s smaller clubs are much more tactically acute than those in the Bundesliga and play with a much deeper block. It means a striker’s all round game becomes much more important to the top sides as they need to be more involved in build up play.
Even if that wasn’t the case, Chelsea are creating chances that he just isn’t taking. The game against Fulham was notable, with him coming on for 15 minutes and missing a hat-full of chances due to poor finishing and shocking touches.
It’s a problem need to deal with, because as a £50m+ striker he needs to deliver goals and trophies to the Chelsea team.
If Lampard does get sacked and leave the club, whoever Chelsea bring in to replace him needs to be able to get the best out of Werner or he could waste away in London over the next year or two.