For around £90m Chelsea are bringing in two players who have contributed a combined 42 goals and 28 assists in 63 league and Champions League games during 2019/20. Their talent is clear but what will they bring to Stamford Bridge?
Under Julian Nagelsmann Timo Werner has taken his game to the next level. In 2016/17 he netted 21 times as Leipzig made a title challenge in their first Bundesliga campaign. Ove the next two seasons he netted 13 and 16 times in the league. However, this season he scored 28 and assisted 8 in 34 Bundesliga appearances. This meant he averaged a direct goal involvement every 78 minutes.
This success has come as he has matured and learnt of Nagelsmann. The main difference has been his positioning. He has learnt where to position himself to maximise his incredible speed and awareness. He has hit 34.9 kh/h, this puts him in the top 10 for fastest footballers in the world and not far off Usain Bolt’s top speed of 44.7 km/h.
This speed was deadly for defenders but wasn’t being used to its full potential as in 2018/19 he was caught offside more than any player in Germany’s topflight and he only completed 0.9 dribblers per 90 over the two previous campaigns. This season he has drifted out wide more to utilise the space and it has paid dividends. His successful dribbles per 90 has doubled to 1.8 and has been involved more in play as he averaged a career high 66.9 passes and touches per 90.
For many being more involved in play and dropping deeper would nullify their attacking output however, this hasn’t been the case. The German international has hit terrifying form which saw him become one of the most sought-after strikers over the last decade. He is yet to turn 25 which means he’s still got plenty of time to mature and improve.
Werner took 4 four shots per 90 and they were from good areas as 22 of his 28 league goals came form inside the box. This saw him take the most touches in the opposition’s box, 185. He also ranked second for shots attempted on 103 and third for successful dribbles on 173. This combined saw him averaged 1.06 xG and xA per 90, 0.18 higher than Haaland and only 0.13 lower than Lionel Messi.
The Moroccan has been dubbed as the ‘Wizard of Amsterdam’ by the Dutch media and it is clear to see why. The 27-year-old has led the assist charts in the Dutch topflight for four of the last five seasons, only losing out to teammate Dušan Tadić. Before the season was abandoned, Hakim had got 12 assists in 21 league appearances. This meant he was on course to beat his personal best, 16 assists in 2014/15. His 87 league assists in seven seasons is impressive in itself but it could have been better.
Since joining Ajax from Twente in 2017, Ziyech has created 421 chances. To put that into perspective, that is 134 more than anyone else in Europe. He likes to play centrally or on the right and thanks to his qualities, he has been able to execute both with ease this season. The former Twente star can drift in from the right and swing a cross into the box is unmatched along with his set piece delivery.
He has an eye for a key pass and is always looking to create one. In 2019/20 he averaged 4.3 key passes per 90, comfortably the best in the Eredivisie. This is vital for Chelsea as at the time of writing, Pedro and Willian lead the Chelsea squad for key passes with 2.4 and 2.3 per 90, respectively and both of their futures at Stamford Bridge remain up in the air. Despite attempting these risky passes into good areas, Ziyech still manages a pass accuracy of 77.4%.
Due to his excellent control, his lack of quick pace isn’t a problem. Hakim is in the top 10 in the Eredivisie for dribbles, 3.1 per 90. He also likes to make room for himself as he averages 4.2 shots per 90. However, a lot of these are from poor areas as over half come from outside the box and only 1.5 hit the target. If he is to have the biggest impact possible, he will have to stop shooting from range and start looking for the better options.
Despite clearly being a skilful player, he doesn’t neglect defensive responsibilities. This season he has averaged 2.1 tackles per 90, the same as Kanté, whilst playing in a possession heavy Erik ten Haag side.
Although many have been stars in the Netherlands and failed in England, Chelsea fans shouldn’t worry about this as he has also performed well in the Champions League. In Europe’s premier competition, he averages 0.4 more tackles per 90 whilst scoring five and assisting seven in the last two campaigns. He’s even shown his ability at Stamford Bridge before as in November 2019 he scored once and assisted twice against his future side.
Lampard has tended to favour a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 which means Werner and Ziyech can slot in well. Although it only leaves room for one striker which has tended to be Tammy Abraham, Werner could play on either flank, but many have questioned if the Englishman will be relegated to the bench. Although Werner is far better than the former Swansea loanee, Abraham has still done well for the blues as he has scored 14 goals and got three assists in 2084 league minutes.
Tammy is more of an aerial threat as he wins 3.2 aerial duels per 90 compared to the Germans 0.2. This really highlights the differences in their style of plays. Along with Werner, Abraham and Ziyech, Chelsea also have Pulisic, Giroud and Hudson-Odoi and maybe Willian and Pedro which means they have a lot of depth in the forward areas. This may cause a headache for Lampard, but it is a good problem to have.