Timo Werner finally ends his six-month Premier League goal drought
After having a 16th goal ruled out, Timo Werner ended his six-month Premier League scoring drought… his performance against Southampton was the perfect reminder of why Chelsea paid £47m for him
- Timo Werner’s late goal put Chelsea on track for 3-1 win over Southampton
- He had a goal ruled out for the 16th time in his Chelsea career in the first half
- Chelsea went top of the table with win over 10-man Saints at Stamford Bridge
- James Ward-Prowse had equalised for Southampton before then being sent off
He was buried among his team-mates, but you would not have blamed Timo Werner for sneaking a peak at the movements of referee Martin Atkinson.
In the 84th minute, he had just ended a six-month Premier League goal drought, won this match for Chelsea and ensured the club put to bed a bad week with a vital three points to go top.
But the German knows better than to go too overboard on the celebrations.
In the first half, Werner had seen a goal ruled out for the 16th time while playing for Chelsea – which he has only been doing for little more than a year.
Timo Werner put Chelsea ahead with six minutes left as Chelsea beat 10-man Southampton
Facing a record like that, an opposition goalkeeper Alex McCarthy in fine form and an assertion from his manager this week that his concerns over playing time were not worth considering, many players may not have been as minded to keep at it as Werner.
And yet, despite again being relegated to the flank to accommodate record signing Romelu Lukaku, he was Chelsea’s most potent threat against Southampton, firing in three shots in the first half before his near-weekly battle with Stockley Park in the 41st minute saw a close-range header chalked off for a foul by Cesar Azpilicueta a long way back in the build-up.
Of the 16 overturned goals, this may have stuck in the craw a little more than most.
The big screen at Stamford Bridge relayed that a potential foul in the build-up was being checked, leaving most of the 40,000 in attendance bemused.
Werner had a goal ruled out in the first half, the 16th goal he’s had chalked off for Chelsea
The German’s 84th minute finish (pictured) was his first Premier League goal in six months
Werner’s goal also put the Blues on course for a 3-1 win that lifted them to the top of the table
By Werner, when he leapt? By Lukaku as he challenged from the initial cross? No, referee Martin Atkinson’s eyes were drawn further back to what seemed a fairly innocuous challenge on Kyle Walker-Peters by Azpilicueta.
Despite occurring long before Werner eventually turned into the net, and involving little more than regulation contact, Atkinson reversed his decision and awarded Southampton a free-kick.
Where would 16 extra goals leave Werner?
Not begging for first-team action, that’s for sure. Instead of one in five for Chelsea, his scoring record would be one in two.
Thomas Tuchel saw his Chelsea side move two points clear of Liverpool at the top of the table
The German will have been pleased with how Chelsea bounced back after consecutive losses
And no forward, even with Chelsea’s competition for places up front, would be spending much time on the bench in that kind of form.
Undeterred, he had two further efforts denied by the brilliant McCarthy. It was a perfect reminder from Werner of why Chelsea paid £47million for him before the start of last season, an all-action display where he was constantly running with the ball at Walker-Peters and unlucky not to have found the net more often.
Then, with Southampton clinging on for a point, Werner’s moment finally came.
Shifted infield by Thomas Tuchel as Chelsea chased a winner against 10 men, he lurked on the six-yard line as Ross Barkley fired a pass in behind Southampton left back Kyle Walker-Peters.
Cesar Azpilicueta reached it, squared to Werner and he could not miss. As his team-mates mobbed him, he could relax. His most common adversary had completed its check, and the goal was given.
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