Tag Archives: Kai Havertz

Kai Havertz pays back his transfer fee as Chelsea win Champions League

Chelsea were crowned champions of Europe for the second time ever as Kai Havertz scored his first goal in the Champions League for the Blues in a 1-0 win over Manchester City.

In a highly entertaining tactical affair, Thomas Tuchel once again was able to get one over Pep Guardiola to make it three wins from three games between the two team in just six weeks.

Chelsea opted for a defensive set up as usual but the inclusion of Havertz over Ziyech, who had scored in both of the previous wins raised a few eyebrows before kick off. Not as much as Guardiola’s selection however, as he opted to play with no defensive midfielder or natural striker to flood the midfield areas.

That backfired though as Chelsea were able to press well and nullify them to just one shot on target over the entire game, while they themselves created several openings.

Timo Werner completely mishit the ball from seven yards out with a clear opening, before his touch let him down in the box and he could only roll a second effort into the hands of Ederson. Chelsea continued to threaten though and that’s when Mason Mount found a beautiful pass into Haverts in behind, who rounded Ederson before slotting into an empty net in the first half.

It was the first goal he had scored in the Champions League for Chelsea and just the ninth goal of his campaign in all competitions following a club record £72m move last summer.

It’s been a really tough season for the 21-year-old, who was the second youngest player only older than Phil Foden during the final. He’s clearly got the quality to become a top player, but he really struggled to make an impact in a more physical league where space and time on the ball was harder to come by.

Tuchel had started using him in a false nine position to get him that extra half a yard and his performances improved but they still weren’t glistening as they were with Leverkusen.

But in the one moment that he ran clear of Oleksandr Zinchenko and received Mount’s pass, then rounded Ederson and scored he has written himself into Chelsea folklore and immediately paid back his fee.

No matter what happens between now and whenever he eventually leaves Stamford Bridge, whether that’s next summer or in 10 years, he will go down as a Chelsea legend for winning them a second Champions League title.

It’s those moments that you spend big money on special talents for, because they can provide when it matters most. It’s why when a team fails the spending to build the team is brought to light, because you have to spend to bring quality and quality is expected to bring titles.

Kai Havertz of Chelsea celebrates with the Champions League Trophy following their team's victory during the UEFA Champions League Final between...

Werner still has some proving to do but he has been far more useful to Chelsea since Tuchel arrived, being used in a role that has seen him affect games even without scoring at the rate expected before his arrival.

But if he has another poor season, there will be question marks around him. That pressure has been lifted from Havertz, who will forever have the backing of fans and local media now.

As silly as that sounds it’s the truth. Bad performances won’t go unnoticed by fans, but if they eventually lead to him being displaced from the team or sold by the club he’ll go with applause and fantastic memories.

As for Tuchel, he is in the same boat. He’s now a Chelsea legend after less than six months at the club and will be rewarded with a new contract this summer to continue the good work he has done.

If you thought last summer was spectacular for Chelsea, wait till you see what they do this summer.

Chelsea vs Real Madrid – UEFA Champions League semi-final prediction

The business end of the season is upon us as the final four of the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League is upon us.

Two mouth-watering clashes make up the semi-finals, as Chelsea take on Real Madrid for the first time ever while Paris Saint-Germain will take on Manchester City in the other game.

We’ve done predictions for every knockout tie in the competition so far, so we continue here with the Blues’ fixtures against the Spanish giants.

Chelsea come into this game off the back of a big win over West Ham at the weekend to move them ahead of their rivals in the race for the top four in the Premier League. Timo Werner got his first goal since February and the Blues kept yet another clean sheet under manager Thomas Tuchel.

Real Madrid on the other hand made it consecutive 0-0 draws in La Liga as their injury hit squad has fallen behind Atletico Madrid and Barcelona once again after closing the gap at the top of the table.

Tuchel’s side overcame Atletico Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League, winning both home and away without conceding a goal, before beating Porto 2-0 in the away leg before losing the home leg 1-0 to progress 2-1 on aggregate.

Zizou’s Los Blancos have shown their brilliance in Europe as the season has progressed. They struggled in the group stages before winning the group on the final day, before easing past Atalanta in the last 16. They then defeated Liverpool in Madrid in the first leg of their quarter-final clash despite a host of defensive injury problems, before a 0-0 draw at Anfield to confirm their progression.

Chelsea will have a full strength team to choose from for the first leg minus former Madrid midfielder Mateo Kovacic, who will miss out with a knee injury. Tuchel will almost certainly continue with this three-at-the-back system, but he will need to find his team’s creative juices.

They have only scored three or more goals once since the German took over, in a 4-1 win over Crystal Palace earlier this month. There has been one goal or less in each of the last four, including a 0-0 draw with Brighton and their wins over Manchester City in the FA Cup and then West Ham this weekend.

The manager seems to have a first choice defence decided upon, while his midfield selects itself when everyone is fit too but his attack seems to constantly be chopped and changed. Kai Havertz and Timo Werner have shown glimpses of their ability since Tuchel arrived but they’re still struggling more than anything else, while Mason Mount’s influence continues to grow.

Hakim Ziyech, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Christian Pulisic, Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud are the other candidates for the two attacking spots but Tuchel’s attacking style hasn’t really got any of them to gel just yet so his selection against Madrid will be interesting.

Madrid on the other hand have got their strongest XI, but will be without several key players heading into the game. Sergio Ramos is still missing with the calf problem that saw him miss the Liverpool tie, while Ferland Mendy is also out with injury.

They can however welcome back Dani Carvajal and Eden Hazard to the team and a strengthened starting lineup is exactly what they need. The return of Hazard in particular will be of interest as the Chelsea legend has struggled to build any sort of momentum since his £100m move two years ago because of injuries.

It’s due to be a very tight affair between both sides and with the clubs never having met before, there’s no psychological battle to win in that sense.

Zidane’s side is full of players who have won this competition several times and the team seem to be peaking at the perfect time. They’ve not lost a game since the end of January and are finally getting over their injury problems.

When a team is full of quality in all areas, knows how to play to the occasion and have a manager who is tactically flexible depending on the scenario, it’s hard to look past them. Real Madrid in the Champions League are a different animal and while Chelsea are a very good team under Tuchel, they’re still learning about themselves and I can’t see them getting past this Zidane side over two legs.

Karim Benzema’s ability to influence games even without getting on the scoresheet is something Tuchel wishes he had in his striker role and with the return of Hazard plus the midfield three performing brilliantly as usual, I have to back the Spaniards to make another final.


PREDICTION

Real Madrid 1-0 Chelsea
Chelsea 1-1 Real Madrid
(Real Madrid to progress 2-1 on aggregate)

Chelsea show versatility and quality in win over Everton

Chelsea made it 12 games unbeaten in all competitions and 11 since the arrival of Thomas Tuchel with a relatively comfortable win over Everton at Stamford Bridge.

The Londoners made it consecutive wins in the league to bounce back from their 1-1 draw with Southampton with a 2-0 win over the Toffees thanks to a Ben Godfrey own goal and a Jorginho penalty either side of half-time.

The win moves them into the top four, four points ahead of Everton and two points ahead of West Ham United having played a game more than both. You could say Tuchel is doing the job he was brought in to do, or the job that Lampard was supposed to do.

It was a performance that we’ve somewhat come to expect from Tuchel’s Chelsea, as they dominated possession and overloaded the wide areas to create chances while limiting Everton to half-chances and snap shots for the most part.

The impressive part of the performance was that the manager was able to rotate the side and still come away with a good performance and result. Kurt Zouma, Marcos Alonso, Jorginho and Kai Havertz all started the game in place of Antonio Rudiger, Ben Chilwell, Ngolo Kante and Mason Mount and the level of performance from the team didn’t really change.

It also showed a great versatility in the squad. Zouma came in as the left-sided centre-back as opposed to playing centrally as he did in his last appearance, while Havertz was fielded as a false nine with Timo Werner on the right wing and Callum Hudson-Odoi on the left.

It was a relatively free-flowing performance from the Blues as Alonso and Hudson-Odoi seemingly worked well together on the left hand side while Havertz seemed to thrive in a more central role with speed on either side of him, as opposed to the right wing role Lampard had him in a lot.

It was a positive display from him individually as he saw a goal taken off him and credited as an own goal before having another ruled out for offside, in what was arguably his best performance since his hat-trick against Barnsley in the Carabao Cup third round.

With a Premier League clash Leeds United coming up at the weekend before the Champions League last 16 second leg against Atletico Madrid in midweek, Chelsea will be very keen to ensure they can maintain this form going into the final stretch of the season.

The depth of the squad is on show, the manager has got them purring and the players that you would expect to be match winners or difference makers and starting to fill their boots. Things are looking up for the Blues.

How will Thomas Tuchel line up his Chelsea team?

The Frank Lampard era is over at Chelsea, as he was sacked by the Stamford Bridge board following a string of poor results.

Chelsea were top of the league in December following a win over Leeds, but five defeats in eight games since then have seen them fall 12 points behind league leaders Manchester United since then and it’s been enough for the club hierarchy to make the decision to let him go.

The news was quickly followed up with reports that he will be immediately replaced by German manager Thomas Tuchel, who was sacked by Paris Saint-Germain in December after an inconsistent season in France.

Tuchel is known for attacking football, with quick transitions and possession being the priority. He made his name as the Borussia Dortmund manager, where the likes of Ousmane Dembele, Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and Marco Reus flourished under his management.

With Chelsea’s squad having just had a £220m injection of new players in the summer, it will be interesting to see how Tuchel sets up his team for the remainder of the season.

In goal, Edouard Mendy was the undisputed first choice under Lampard following his signing in the summer but reports say that the board are still keen for Kepa Arrizabalaga to be a success after spending £72m on him and giving him a seven-year contract back in 2018.

It’s possible that he could feel the pressure to select Kepa, but Mendy has performed well since joining and their distribution skills aren’t that different. Mendy should get the nod, but you never know once club politics come into it.

In defence, Thiago Silva will be the undisputed number one centre back at the club. The two worked together at PSG and Silva was the captain, so he will be in the side not only for his ability but also because he will know what the manager expects of him. Alongside him, Kurt Zouma has been a regular so far this season but Rudiger was a target for Tuchel at PSG earlier this season so he could come into the side.

Paris Saint-Germain v Girondins Bordeaux - Ligue 1 : News Photo

Reece James’ performances and skillset should see him keep his place in the side as an attacking full-back, while Ben Chilwell and Emerson will continue to compete for the left-back spot. Chilwell is younger and better defensively, but Emerson is quicker and arguably better going forward. Depending on the way Tuchel looks to set up his team, Emerson has a good shout of becoming a regular.

In midfield, Ngolo Kante has been a sure-fire starter ever since joining the Blues and that is likely to continue here. A defensive midfielder with energy and an ability to break up play and press high, Kante fits the role perfectly of what Idrissa Gueye filled at PSG and Ilkay Gundogan did prior to that at Dortmund.

Alongside him, Tuchel is likely to want someone who is more competent on the ball and comfortable in possession. While Jorginho is a candidate, his lack of athleticism has seen him struggle hugely since joining the Premier League. Mason Mount has been a mainstay under Lampard and played relatively well but without having a relationship to the club and academy, Tuchel will likely opt for Mateo Kovacic over those options.

Ahead of them, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz are a huge reason as to why the club have brought him into the club as manager. The club were keen to have a German speaking manager to help them settle in better so they will almost certainly be the starters in the team as a number ten and the central striker.

Either side of them will be interesting. With his preference for possession and overlapping full-backs, Hakim Ziyech’s passing ability will likely see him secure his position on the right wing. On the left though, it’s more open.

Callum Hudson-Odoi has been good in spells this season but not really given the opportunity of a run of games from the start. His preferred position is to play on the left so he can drive onto his right foot and shoot, but he’s just as capable going on the outside and crossing too. The issue for him comes that Christian Pulisic played under Tuchel at Dortmund as a youngster and broke into the side for him.

Borussia Dortmund v 1. FC Koeln - Bundesliga : News Photo

He will know the skillset of the player, but more importantly the player will already be aware of the demands placed on him and expectations that the manager will have. Hudson-Odoi is arguably the better player right now, but Tuchel will want some familiarity to his methods if he can get it because it’s mid-season and this could buy Pulisic more time in the starting lineup.

Tuchel will need results and performances to pick up quickly to get fans on side with the decision to sack Lampard and bring him in and his team selections will be under scrutiny immediately.

Welcome to the Premier League, Thomas!

Kai Havertz Continues to Struggle as Chelsea Fail to Beat Top Half Side Again

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.

Chelsea FC v FC Krasnodar: Group E - UEFA Champions League : News Photo
Havertz has struggled since his £72m move from Leverkusen

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.

Champions League Group Stage Predictions – Chelsea

The 2012 European champions enter the 2020/21 Champions League with a clear run at topping their group.

Last year the Blues made it to the Round of 16 before clashing with eventual winners Bayern Munich, where they were beaten home and away in a humbling 7-1 aggregate defeat.

This year though, Frank Lampard will expect his side to perform much better than they did last season having spent the best part of £250million to strengthen his side in the summer. After signing Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Kai Havertz, Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell and Edouard Mendy to boost the starting line-up you’d expect them to at the bare minimum exceed their performance from the previous campaign.

Having been drawn in a group with Sevilla, Rennes and Krasnodar, Chelsea will be the favourites to top the group and progress to the Round of 16,

They start their campaign against Europa League holders Sevilla, who have begun their La Liga season impressively with 7 points from their opening four games.

Frank Lampard is still trying to figure out his best eleven and even potentially his best formation however. After all the additions to his side, it was expected that it would be a 4-2-3-1 trying to get the best out of Kai Havertz behind his international team-mate Timo Werner up front. So far though, he has gone with a 4-3-3 with Havertz out wide.

Mason Mount has been a constant in Lampard’s side throughout the entire campaign so far and doesn’t look to be playing himself out of favour despite the struggles of the team, which were exacerbated as Chelsea blew a 2-0 and 3-2 lead in their draw with Southampton this past weekend.

Ngolo Kante has struggled for form for the most part this season too and Lampard is yet to decide whether his best option to partner him is Jorginho or Mateo Kovacic.

My Best XI: Mendy; James, Zouma, T. Silva, Chilwell;
Kante, Kovacic; Ziyech, Havertz, Pulisic; Werner

With Chelsea comfortably the strongest team in their group, they should be looking for maximum points in all their group games. They will be expected to win all their home games, starting with Tuesday’s visit of Sevilla. With the attacking threat they have and the European nous now flowing through the side, they are much better placed to perform well in the premier competition for club football.

They should be beating Sevilla all things considered, especially at home. They match up well physically and have enough firepower in their squad to find the back of the net, although defensively they still have holes in their team so I expect Sevilla will be confident of causing them issues. If Chelsea can secure 4 points from the two fixtures against their Spanish opposition then they will win the group.

Elsewhere in the group are competition debutants Rennes. An exciting French outfit, boasting the prodigal son Eduardo Camavinga in midfield, they will be entering the tournament fearlessly. Defensively they are open but going forward they are very good at creating chances and don’t crumble mentally if they fall behind. Much like Sevilla, they will certainly cause Chelsea problems in the reverse fixture but at Stamford Bridge the Blues will expect to take all three points. Krasnodar will pose a tricky away day too for Lampard’s side but the individual quality on the pitch should be enough for them to take maximum points from both games.

I expect they will win the group with a game to spare and be joined in the next round with Sevilla but Rennes’ unpredictability should make it an exciting group throughout.

Antonio Rudiger: Chelsea Show Ruthless Side Of Football

Chelsea are known for being one of the more ruthless clubs in Europe when it comes to parting ways with managers or selling players.

This summer, they have backed their man Frank Lampard with £250million worth of talent including two German internationals in Timo Werner and Kai Havertz. Both men credited the influence of their international teammate Antonio Rudiger in their decision to wear blue going forward.

But once those deals were completed, Frank Lampard has now made the decision that Rudiger is surplus to requirements at the club and he could be allowed to leave the club before Monday’s deadline. He has been left out of five consecutive match-day squads and hasn’t featured for yet in the current campaign.

Lampard seems to prefer the four options of Thiago Silva, Kurt Zouma, Fikayo Tomori and Andreas Christensen over the 27 year old former Roma man, but that didn’t stop him using his influence to land his targets. Many will say “that’s business”, and that’s fair, but it’s also the darker side of football.

If Antonio Rudiger, who has two years left on his contract at Stamford Bridge, had upped and decided he wanted to leave and kicked up a fuss he’d be ridiculed by media and labelled a traitor of sorts. However because it’s Chelsea who want to get rid of him, nobody bats an eyelid.

I find it interesting. When a player wants to make a move to better themselves or further their career, they’re almost always labelled with a “money-grabber” label and are told to honour their contract. Why doesn’t it work for clubs too?

They were happy to use his influence in the transfer market to bring in his two mates but now they want to cast him aside. How do you think both Werner and Havertz feel about the situation? The likelihood is they were helped to make their decision by the fact they’d have a friend there to help them settle in and play alongside. Now he’s likely to leave at the earliest opportunity.

I get that Chelsea shouldn’t keep him around if he’s not a part of their plans and he should be allowed to make the move elsewhere, but it just seems shady with the way the whole summer has gone. Many fans will ignore it and see it as just another step of backing the manager, but it’s too easily forgotten that Rudiger is a human being with a family and a life too.

Chelsea have got what they want and will likely let Rudiger leave before the window closes, but it will be on their terms to a club of their choosing. Rudiger has helped boost Chelsea’s future hugely this summer and now has zero control over his own.

Kai Havertz Close To Chelsea Move

Chelsea are close to agreeing a deal to bring Kai Havertz to Stamford Bridge this summer, according to several reports.

The German international is in high demand across Europe after scoring 20+ goals in each of the last two campaigns, with Liverpool, Man Utd, Bayern Munich, Barcelona all competing with the Blues for his signature.

According to various reports, Chelsea are close to sealing the deal with the player’s club as they’re the only ones willing to go near his asking price.

Leverkusen missed out on Champions League football for next season and the player has made his desire to leave clear to the higher ups at the club. They have publicly said that they have an agreement with Havertz that they will let him leave for a specific fee. That fee is believed to be between €80-90million and while Chelsea aren’t quite willing to go that high, they’re the closest.

New Chelsea Signing Hakim Ziyech Visits the Chelsea Training Ground : News Photo
Hakim Ziyech has already started training with Chelsea ahead of his debut next season

The player will added further firepower to a squad that has struggled for consistent goals this season, with Havertz joining Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech as confirmed signings. Tammy Abraham started well but has fallen flat since the turn of the year and been replaced by Olivier Giroud now, who despite signing a new deal is still likely to leave in the summer for more regular football.

Havertz would do more than just add firepower to the attack though, he would be a real statement signing by manager Frank Lampard. After the club were given a transfer ban and sold Eden Hazard prior to his arrival at the club, Lampard had to make do with what he had at the club and opted to promote youth into the squad. The development of Mason Mount, Reece James, Billy Gilmour and Abraham has been the highlight of the season and since he has now made a FA Cup final, he has earned the trust of his bosses and fans.

Adding some star dust to a side that will likely finish 3rd in the league will mean they close the gap on Liverpool and Man City but they must now focus on boosting a defence that has been leaky all season. They have been linked to Declan Rice and Nathan Ake, although the latter now looks set to join Manchester City.

Chelsea are preparing for the new season before the current one is over and they are wasting no time in showing the world that they plan on being a big problem in 2021.

Premier League Clubs Give Free Run At Kai Havertz

The Premier League giants have been given a clear run at Kai Havertz this summer after Bayern Munich confirmed they wouldn’t be moving for the player during this transfer window.

Havertz, 21, has been sensational for Bayer Leverkusen over the last two seasons and has developed into one of the finest goalscoring attacking midfielders in Europe over that period of time. He has scored 17 goals and recorded 8 assists in all competitions this season for Leverkusen, adding to his 20 goals and 6 assists the season before that.

He had been a reported target for Bayern Munich this summer, with the German champions seemingly having dibs on all top German talent according to most of the world’s media. The honour of representing Germany’s premium club is often too much for other clubs to compete with, as Man City found out this week as they lost Leroy Sane to the Bavarian side.

It seems now though that the move for Sane has put an end to any pursuit of Havertz than Bayern had planned, as Karl Heinz-Rummenigge confirmed they wouldn’t be making a bid for the player in 2020.

This means that Premier League clubs Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United will have a clear run at the player should they choose to make their interest more concrete. While Barcelona and Real Madrid have also been linked, Leverkusen’s reported asking price of €100 million has ruled them out of the race due to their financial situation amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The price is likely to rule Liverpool out of the race too, while Manchester United are prioritising their pursuit of Jadon Sancho and it is highly unlikely they spend that amount of money on two players in the same summer when they have other pressing issues.

Germany v Netherlands - UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier : News Photo
Could we see this link up at Stamford Bridge next season?

That leaves Chelsea as the favourites for Havertz and the player is reportedly open to a move to London. The Blues have already signed Timo Werner from Bundesliga side RB Leipzig for the new season, while they also completed the signing of Hakim Ziyech from Ajax. Havertz would complete a new-look attack for Lampard, who once again bemoaned the lack of cutting edge in attack following their defeat to West Ham on Wednesday night.

Havertz joining the Premier League, and in particular Chelsea, would be huge for the division. Chelsea are making a clear push to close the gap between themselves, Manchester City and champions Liverpool this summer, while Manchester United are likely to make big moves too. With Liverpool unlikely to spend significantly on their squad without selling anyone and Man City expected to spend big on rebuilding an ageing squad next year’s title race is already spicing up.

Lampard has opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation for most of the season and Havertz would slot in perfectly in his preferred No.10 role. With Ziyech out on the right replacing the departing Willian and Werner able to play wide left or up front, Lampard will have plenty of goals and flexibility to choose from next season if the deal goes through.

While it’s unlikely that they’ll match the €100 million asking price, Leverkusen missing out on Champions League football for next season could see them negotiate a lower fee with Havertz determined to leave this year.

If Chelsea can secure the signature of one of Europe’s hottest properties, the Premier League could have a legitimate four-team title race next season.