Add Aubameyang or stick with Havertz and Broja? The big question facing Tuchel and Boehly

And then there were two. After Timo Werner followed Romelu Lukaku out of the departure lounge at Heathrow Airport, Chelsea were left with two genuine options to lead the line next season – and even that might be generous. Kai Havertz comes into this season with an underwhelming 12 goals in his 57 Premier League appearances to date, and this term is joined by 20-year-old Albania International Armando Broja. Of the two, only Broja can claim to be an archetypal number 9, with Havertz’s strongest position a mystery to all, and questions are being raised about the German’s capabilities as a centre forward after an anonymous showing at Goodison Park to begin the 2022/23 season. So, can Chelsea realistically secure another season of Champions League football with a roster of centre forwards with a combined 18 goals in their fledgling Premier League careers, or do the Londoner’s need further additions?

Broja caught a lot of attention from fans of his parent club when he bagged the sixth league goal of his debut season (on loan at Southampton) against Spurs in February. The academy graduate had been one of the revelations of the season, and his physical performance against Manchester United in his next outing – notable for bullying Maguire with his strength and movement – only added to the hype. However, the rest of the campaign passed without a goal for the Slough born forward, with many Chelsea fans wondering whether the club would decide to cash in on a young asset following a promising breakout season in order to help fund another summer spending spree. However, interest from West Ham and Everton never materialised into a bid and so the youngster was given his big break: starting a season for Chelsea with a realistic expectation of bagging 1500 or more minutes of competitive football.

Havertz’s fine form mid-season fizzled out, leaving fans questioning his ability to lead the line. Photo credit: Premier League

Kai Havertz is in many ways the opposite of Broja. The German was bought in for a then club record fee, as opposed to being nurtured in Cobham from an early age, he was slight and technical, not physical and fast and he had the biggest clubs in Europe jostling for his signature when he touched down in London. Landing Havertz was seen as a major coup – many wondering if pandemic affected finances had enabled Chelsea to beat off the likes of Bayern Munich and Real Madrid to his signature – however Havertz has never really settled. A long-COVID affected first season finished in the most memorable fashion possible: scoring the winning goal in a Champions League final. Whilst that strike has written his name into the club’s history, the former Bayer Leverkusen man has yet to justify his fee. 5 goals in a 5-game stretch in the league in March and April seemed to be a turning point for Havertz, however six blanks and a series of costly misses against the likes of Manchester United and Everton to cap off the campaign left an underwhelming feeling lingering.

The departure of Timo Werner could result in this becoming a make-or-break campaign for his compatriot. No longer will Werner’s hapless finishing take the majority of the headlines, with the spotlight now shining on the under-performing Havertz. Ever since breaking through as the youngest ever debutant in Bundesliga history, Havertz’s talent has been abundantly clear. However, he is yet to prove to the Stamford Bridge faithful that he has what it takes to cut it as a centre forward at the top level. His frustrating propensity to drift through games without making any noticeable impact has also become a bone of contention with fans. Now the undisputed starting number 9 following Lukaku’s departure, it is up to Havertz to take his chance.

Early whispers suggested that Raheem Sterling could fill in as a false nine in Tuchel’s favoured 3-4-2-1 system, flanked by Mason Mount and Havertz. The season opener seemed to provide weight to this argument, as first Havertz and then substitute Broja often drifted left to create space for Sterling in the middle. While Sterling threatened for the first hour of play, and had a goal ruled out as well as a goal-bound effort brilliantly blocked, Havertz was anonymous. Although his movement may have assisted Sterling, it was not a style of performance fitting his enormous potential and price tag. His languid style is often mistaken for a lack of passion but here he did himself no favours with a mere 23 passes attempted the lowest of any of Chelsea’s outfield starters, illustrating his struggles at getting a foothold in proceedings. His most notable moment was a weak header into Pickford’s gloves from a first-half freekick. Broja was a bundle of energy when he came on, but bar one lovely turn he was unable to really affect the game, often left alone out on the left-hand flank.

The captures of Sterling and Koulibaly point to a win-now strategy being employed by Boehly and co. Photo credit:

All of these questions over the two youngsters prompt the question: are they good enough centre forward options to secure a top-four berth? The answer to this is hard to ascertain currently. Although neither has had a long career, both seem to score goals in spurts before going on a drought and Havertz famously is unable to hit top-form until after Christmas.

However, what is certain is that early investment from Boehly and co. suggests that Chelsea are building a side to be successful right now. The purchases of 27-year-old Sterling and 31-year-old Koulibaly are two examples of large sums being spent on players in their primes. Havertz and Broja could potentially need another season or two to acclimatise to the demands of leading the line for a top-6 side in the league, and even then they might not be of a title-winning level (think of the influence Drogba and Costa had on successful Blue’s sides of old). Sterling and Koulibaly are two extremely ambitious players who will have been promised a push for silverware from day-one, and so it is likely that the new ownership group will look to supplement the youthful attack with a sure-fire goal scorer at centre forward.

Can Broja fire Chelsea to a top-four finish? Photo credit: Chelsea News

Herein lies another problem: there is a startling lack of talent on the market in this position. Clubs are having to take risks to secure players in the number 9 role. Think of West Ham’s £30.5 million purchase of Gianluca Scamacca. The Italian was initially wanted by top sides including PSG, however he seemed to be running extremely hot in Serie A, scoring his 16 league goals from an expected goals (xG) rating of 11.13. West Ham were willing to bet on the 6’5 striker carrying on his lethal finishing touch in a new, faster-paced league, but had to part with a considerable chunk of change to secure their man. Tried-and-trusted marksmen are in such short supply that Barcelona plunged themselves into further financial peril with the €45 million acquisition of soon-to-be 34-year-old Robert Lewandowski.

This all suggests that Chelsea find themselves looking for a proven scorer at just the wrong time. Two names heavily linked have been out of favour Barca duo; Memphis Depay and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. These two names understandably won’t have Chelsea fans salivating the way Lukaku and Erling Haaland did last summer. The former is a Premier League flop who has always been injury-prone and the latter captained hated London rivals Arsenal, and is 33 years old, a player very much entering his twilight years. Juventus have moved for Depay in the past day, leaving just Aubameyang as a rumoured target for Chelsea.

Boehly and Tuchel face a busy end to the summer window. Photo credit:

Gabonese forward Aubameyang actually hit the floor running in La Liga last season. Joining in January – after being sounded out as a disruptive presence in a young and impressionable Arsenal dressing room – he hit 11 goals and laid on an assist in just 17 league appearances, working out as a very impressive 91 minutes per goal contribution. This compares favourably to Chelsea’s current options: Havertz contributing a goal every 165 minutes of league action last term, Broja every 330 minutes. Interestingly, a lot of Aubameyang’s best work comes from drifting towards the left-hand flank, potentially dove-tailing nicely with Sterling in Tuchel’s system. Although the years will begin to catch up with him, much like Jamie Vardy, Aubameyang has maintained his blistering pace into his thirties, which will be another weapon for Chelsea as well as replacing a loss in explosive speed in the squad following the sale of Werner.

Although this paints a rosy picture of what Aubameyang could bring to Chelsea, it is worth pointing out the glaring drawbacks to such a deal. Disciplinary actions have plagued the forward’s career, which could cause issues in a youthful squad where he will be one of the senior heads. Chelsea also traditionally avoid signing players with no sell-on value and although that approach seems to have been eschewed with Sterling and Koulibaly, signing a 33-year-old forward with a patchy injury record would definitely be a risk. Large wages may also be an issue, with contract talks already beginning with Mount, Reece James and Edouard Mendy, and the new board won’t want to risk alienating these players waiting to sign on the dotted line.

Tuchel has known Aubameyang since his Dortmund days and got more out of him than any other manager in his career to date; impressively helping him to the top-scorer award in Germany ahead of the previously unstoppable Lewandowski in 2016/17. The German manager is playing a big part in Boehly’s recruitment drive and has previously stated multiple times that the focus is on winning now rather than building for the future (hence his stance on Colwill departing on loan). The pair of them will have to decide what is best for Chelsea, whether that means compromising long-term success for the short-term or not. In Havertz and Broja, Tuchel has two of the most talented forwards in England. However, Havertz may not be suited to a centre forward role and might benefit from dropping into a deeper role, whilst Broja needs a season or two of regular playing time before he can be viewed as a title-winning forward. Bringing in a win-now replacement in Aubameyang may hinder the development of the aforementioned pair, and there is no guarantee that it will end in success. But these are the tough decisions that Boehly will have to get used to if he is to fill the hefty boots of his predecessor.

By Daniel New

Podcast: Roman Abramovich is selling the club!

NOW WE ARE TALKING! | Chelsea 2-0 Dortmund Review The Chelsea Spot Podcast

  1. NOW WE ARE TALKING! | Chelsea 2-0 Dortmund Review
  2. Scared, Potter?

In our latest episode of The Chelsea Spot Podcast, Paree (Owner – @CFCParee) was joined by Orlando (Admin – @0rland1nho) to discuss the crazy last week surrounding Chelsea. Talking about Chelsea’s Carabao Cup final loss to Liverpool, our instant reaction to Abramovich’s statement that he is selling the club, the problems hidden in the 4-0 win over Burnley and looking forward to Norwich on Thursday.

Click your preferred streaming platform –



Make sure to check us out on all our social media platforms, including our website, Twitter, Instagram, Spotify, ITunes, Amazon Music, Google and Youtube.

4-2-2-2: a formation we could see more of?

Thomas Tuchel surprised us all on Wednesday evening in the 2-0 victory against Tottenham in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final at Stamford Bridge. Having been previously reluctant to veer too far from his tried and tested back-three system, Tuchel lined up with a back-four for (almost) the first time in his reign as Chelsea boss. A Kai Havertz opener followed by an unfortunate Ben Davies own goal saw Chelsea cruise to victory, in a game that really could have ended four or five goals to nil. Antonio Conte had no answer to Tuchel’s setup, one which may well be a glimpse of the future for Chelsea fans. 

Hakim Ziyech was the key man for Chelsea’s system on Wednesday, filling in at right-wing-back as the team maintained its back-three shape off the ball. He pushed high up the field when Chelsea pressed Tottenham’s block and tucked in as the right-sided number 10 once Chelsea regained possession. This is very similar to how Christian Pulisic was used when Chelsea played Leeds at Elland Road last season, an indicator that the setup had been in Tuchel’s mind long before Wednesday’s game. Mason Mount, meanwhile, dropped in to form a midfield-three out of possession, and pushed forward into the left-sided 10 position when Chelsea had the ball, as illustrated below. Essentially; 3-5-2 off the ball, 4-2-2-2 on it. This meant that our defensive solidity was maintained, whilst, in attack, Tottenham’s midfield two was overwhelmed by the combination of Chelsea’s four midfielders and Havertz, who dropped deep to help link play. A masterstroke from Tuchel. 

The evolution of Tuchel’s hybrid setup (Source: Twitter – @AliRadhi)

We should, however, consider the fact that Conte and Spurs will not have been prepared for this, setting up to deal with the back-three formation Chelsea had used in every game so far this season rather than the new-look back-four. With time to mount an adequate game plan, teams might use more central midfielders, or target the right-hand-side of Chelsea’s defence with overloads in order to expose Ziyech’s defensive weaknesses, for instance. For this reason, I think Chelsea fans may have to wait until next season to see this setup used more consistently. As links to West Ham’s Declan Rice and AS Monaco’s Aurélien Tchouaméni persist, it is looking ever more likely that Chelsea will sign an athletic defensive midfielder in the coming summer transfer window. This would allow Tuchel to use a similar system, but without the necessity for either of the number 10s to fill in at wing-back, as the defensive cover provided by a physical midfield signing would prevent Chelsea from being exposed on the counter.

Given that the 4-2-2-2 seems a realistic possibility for Chelsea next season, it’s worth considering some potential winners and losers that would come out of this formation change. 


Romelu Lukaku – The best spell in Lukaku’s career came at Inter Milan under Antonio Conte, where the Belgian rose from being a ridiculed flop at Manchester United to being widely accepted as one of the world’s best strikers. Paired with Lautaro Martinez, he was extremely influential on the right side of the front two, using his speed and power to dominate the right channel. Much of this season, he has been used as a lone striker, a static reference point, constantly with his back to goal. We didn’t need Romelu to tell us for us to realise this clearly doesn’t suit him, as many began to claim, “we play better without him”. Using him this way is reminiscent of his time at Manchester United, where José Mourinho struggled to maximise his potential. As seen in the first half against Spurs, the 4-2-2-2 allows Lukaku to return to his favoured right channel, where he is more able to impact the game, by both hovering on the last line of defence and finding the runs of his strike partner.

Havertz’ movement in behind for his goal v Spurs (Source: Twitter – @PremLeaguePanel)

Kai Havertz – Though Havertz also favours this right channel, he is very comfortable playing on the left of the front two, something he proved in Wednesday night’s game. Since Tuchel was appointed, it has become clear that Havertz should be played high up the pitch, and this split striker formation allows Chelsea to make the most of his intelligent movement in the box. The small matter of dealing with Lukaku means that defences leave more space for him to drift into, just as we saw with his early goal against Spurs. Equally, when he’s not the lone striker there is less of a need for him to be a presence on the last line of the defence, meaning he can use his ability to drop deep and link play. This constitutes a new dynamic in Chelsea’s build up, making the most of his understanding with the likes of Mason Mount, amongst others.

Timo Werner – Werner is yet another example of a player who is less comfortable when played as a lone striker. Much like Kai, Timo’s quality movement is most effective when he is joined by a strike-partner, preventing him from being marked out the game. Like Lukaku, his most successful days came playing in a front two overseas, off the left of Yussuf Poulsen at RB Leipzig, scoring 34 goals in all competitions in the 2019-20 season. Having either been played either too wide, deep, or central so far in his Chelsea career, the 4-2-2-2 could be the key to him rediscovering his goal-scoring form.

Timo Werner celebrates a hat-trick against Borussia Mönchengladbach (Source: Trivela)

Christian Pulisic – Despite the recent equaliser against Liverpool, Pulisic’s time under Tuchel so far can only be described as inconsistent, bordering on disappointing. The 3-4-3 used by the Chelsea manager has often seen Pulisic stuck dribbling in between the lines, exposing his lack of creativity, and leaving him too far from goal. Playing in the front two of the 4-2-2-2 would favour his goal-scoring instincts and movement in the box, without leaving him as isolated as he has been when used as a lone striker in recent games. 

Mason Mount – Although Mason has had an excellent year, finishing in the top 20 of the 2021 Ballon d’Or and playing a pivotal role in Chelsea’s Champions League success, it’s important to remember he has not been playing in his favoured position. His skillset is perfect for the 8 role and, like Pulisic, playing on either side of the front 3 leaves him with too much responsibility to create between the lines. Playing a 4-2-2-2 wouldn’t have him as an 8, but it does allow him to occupy deeper areas and play a greater role in the build-up, whilst still being able to arrive late in the box and finish off Chelsea attacks. He would not be the primary creator in this system.  

Mason Mount with the Chunkz Frankenstein celebration v Liverpool (Source: Goal)

Hakim Ziyech – Ziyech is another on Chelsea’s list of forwards who haven’t thrived in Tuchel’s 3-4-3. He is a player who likes to remain wide on the right side of the pitch, finding the runs of those inside the box with in-swinging crosses from his infamous left foot. Reece James’s ability to come infield would facilitate Ziyech remaining wide, their connection something to look out for if Ziyech remains at Stamford Bridge next season. With an extra striker in the box, the chances are Ziyech’s assist count would benefit. The same can be said for Callum Hudson-Odoi, who has displayed a fantastic understanding with both Kai Havertz and Romelu Lukaku so far in his Chelsea career. 


Jorginho – Jorginho is a player who divides opinion. Tuchel’s back-three system has seen the holding midfielder’s strengths maximised and his weaknesses masked, so much so that he managed a top 3 finish in the 2021 Ballon d’Or. The combination of the three centre backs and two holding midfielders means that, in the first phase of the build-up, a passing option is always available, allowing him to circulate possession and orchestrate passing moves out from the back. This structure also protects him on the counter, rarely leaving him isolated in transition. Given his inability to cover ground quickly, a move to a more expansive system could leave Jorginho out of sorts, especially with the potential arrival of a new defensive midfielder. 

Antonio Rüdiger – Also benefitting from Tuchel’s arrival, Rüdiger’s aggressive style of defending is very well suited to playing in a back-three. The German’s form has earnt him much praise, now seen as one of Europe’s best defenders. His raw speed means he is comfortable defending out wide, knowing the central areas are covered by the other centre backs. Toni’s drives into the opposition half have become a fixture in Tuchel’s Chelsea team, often igniting both the crowd and the team during tough periods of games. Unfortunately, a move to a back-four would restrict his ability to charge out from the back, there being less defensive cover for him in this shape. It’s still yet to be seen whether he could adapt his game to suit the 4-2-2-2, but it’s certainly a formation that plays less to his strengths. 

Jorginho and Rüdiger (Source: Twitter – @Mohxmmad)

Cesar Azpilicueta – After last year’s Champions League success, Azpilicueta is now regarded amongst many Chelsea fans as a club legend. His loyalty to the club is unquestionable, but so are the signs of his impending decline. He was given a new lease of life by Tuchel, returning to the same RCB position which saw him widely accepted as one of the league’s best defenders during Chelsea’s 2016-17 title-winning campaign under Conte. On the right of a back-four, Reece James would be the clear first-choice option, leaving Dave with a seat on the bench. 

Thiago Silva – Thiago Silva has been nothing short of a world class signing for Chelsea. Joining on a free transfer from PSG, he has defied the odds by performing as a top 3 CB in the league at the ripe old age of 37. Despite proving under Frank Lampard that he is perfectly capable in a back-four, the older he gets the less confident you’d feel leaving him with less protection. As his speed declines, his inability to defend the wide areas would be a worry for Tuchel. 

Tuchel and Thiago Silva (Source: Sportbuzz)

Of course, a formation change would impact the whole squad in various ways, but these are the players who stood out to me as the ones who would either benefit or suffer most from a move to the 4-2-2-2. 

Notably, every winner is under the age of 30, and every loser, apart from Rudiger, is over the age of 30. Make of that what you will, but it seems that with every day that passes, the squad becomes more suited to a back-four system. To me, the catalyst needed for Tuchel to consider leaving the back-three behind will be the signing of an athletic defensive midfielder. Regardless, Tuchel’s semi-final line up was just one of many examples of his impressive tactical flexibility, having made many in-game tweaks throughout his tenure, most valuably on route to the Champions League final. This adaptability should leave Chelsea fans with no doubts as to the capabilities of the German, as he continues to show he has what it takes to be at Stamford Bridge for years to come. 

Written by Tom Driver



NOW WE ARE TALKING! | Chelsea 2-0 Dortmund Review The Chelsea Spot Podcast

  1. NOW WE ARE TALKING! | Chelsea 2-0 Dortmund Review
  2. Scared, Potter?

GET IN THERE! In another episode of The Chelsea Spot Podcast, Orlando (Host – @0rland1nho), Dan (Admin – @DanBarkerCoach) and Danny (Writer – @danny_new_) discuss last night’s incredible victory against Manchester City in the Champions League final. Talking about our instant reactions to the game, Thomas Tuchel propaganda, THAT Mason Mount pass to Kai Havertz and so much more!

Click your preferred streaming platform –



Make sure to check us out on all our social media platforms, including our website, Twitter, Instagram, Spotify, ITunes, Amazon Music, Google and Youtube.

Podcast: Chelsea 2-0 Everton Review & Leeds Preview w/Adam Newson!

Some interesting talk and a pleasure to be joined by Adam!

In another episode of The Chelsea Spot Podcast, Orlando (Host – @0rland1nho) and Paree (Owner – @CFCParee) were joined by special guest Adam Newson (@AdamNewson) who talked about our 2-0 victory against Everton with Havertz as false 9, Haaland in the Summer, does Christensen go to the bench when Silva returns, a look ahead at Leeds and SO much more!

Prefer to listen elsewhere? Click your preferred streaming platform –



Make sure to check us out on all our social media platforms, including our website, Twitter, Instagram, Spotify, ITunes, Amazon Music, Google and Youtube.

Lampard IN

Two hundred and eleven goals in the blue of Chelsea. Thirteen trophies gathered during his playing career at Stamford Bridge. One European Cup won as captain of London’s finest. Countless memorable displays. Frank Lampard is not so much a part of Chelsea, as he is Chelsea itself. It is beyond this writer’s understanding that anyone could be calling for the head of our greatest ever player after all he has given this club. But putting sentimentality to one side, in this piece I will try and outline a case for Frank Lampard remaining as manager of Chelsea Football Club, as well as suggesting where and how he can improve his side in the coming weeks.

A glance at the Premier League standings is enough to make any Chelsea fan grimace, the Blues are languishing in 9th place at the time of writing, behind the likes of Aston Villa, Southampton and Everton. But that is not to say that the lowly standing is deserved. Had the likes of Timo Werner been more clinical in front of goal and Edouard Mendy been available instead of the hapless Kepa Arrizabalaga to keep goal in games against West Brom and Liverpool, the table could have a very different look about it. As it stands, the Blues’ big-money summer signing (hot off a 28-league goal campaign) has failed to find the net in his previous 9 league outings. However, if his 5 efforts on goal which had rattled the woodwork gone in, the German would have been hailed a resounding success and the Blues would be further up the table. Thanks also to Kepa’s inability to do the absolute basics of goalkeeping, Chelsea conceded 5 goals and dropped 5 crucial points in the three aforementioned games. Put simply, Lampard and his team have not had the rub of the green so far this campaign, and to further demonstrate this, Chelsea sit 2nd in the expected points table so far (via Understat). As it stands, the Londoner’s are 6 points and 7 places below where their performances deem them worthy of. It is likely that with time Chelsea will go on a hot-streak and overperform their expected results, balancing out their luck over the course of the season and firing them up the table.

Coaxing the best form out of summer signing Timo Werner is crucial to Lampard’s system and success, Photo Credit:

A 3-1 victory over Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United temporarily put Chelsea top of the table in early December, following a 9-game unbeaten streak in the league. However, those three points came at a hefty price as the majestic Hakim Ziyech succumbed to injury, keeping him out of the next 5 league games, 3 of which Chelsea lost. Before that it seemed Lampard was on to something with his 4-3-3 system, Ziyech being the main beneficiary of the set up. Both full backs were able to bomb forwards, in turn providing space for the wingers to cut in and shoot – or in Ziyech’s case provide left footed deliveries to the back post from the inside-right channel – or feed Reece James or Ben Chilwell on the overlap, who have both provided excellent balls into the box this season. With the loss of Ziyech occurring at the same time as Callum Hudson-Odoi picking up a knock in training, Chelsea were left with only one fit senior winger in Christian Pulisic. As Timo Werner has struggled to adapt his game to the left wing, Lampard’s side lacked any real cohesion in attack, with no width provided outside of the full back duo. The game plan seemed to change to cross and hope, even against Manchester City where all 5-foot-9-inches of Timo Werner were helpless against the comparatively towering duo of Stones and Dias. Crossing may be in vogue at the moment – with Liverpool leading the league this season with 391 attempted so far – but Chelsea need another option in attack for when opponents crowd out box. Slick linkup play and passing patterns will develop as a very young and freshly put together attacking unit gel and get to know each other’s games. When the Blues eventually have a fully fit squad and hit the top form that they showed glimpses of in wins against Burnley and Sheffield United, Lampard’s side will start to play in his image.

Naturally given the busy festive period and the increased frequency of games during this pandemic hit season, many of the squad look jaded and in need of a rest. However, with Lampard’s job on the line he has not been able to afford his key men time to recover which has resulted in their games often looking flat and lacking energy. Perhaps Lampard could afford to rotate more given the quality and depth of squad he has at his disposal. N’Golo Kanté, for example, has been way off his best in appearances against Manchester City and Arsenal – being caught out of position regularly and uncharacteristically careless in possession (see his intercepted blind pass which led to City’s third goal) – and is in need of a rest. Lampard fortunately has the incredibly talented Billy Gilmour ready and raring to go in the Frenchman’s place. Similarly, quality internationals such as Olivier Giroud and Emerson Palmieri as well as talented youngsters in Tino Anjorin and Henry Lawrence are all of sufficient quality to play in the Premier League and could give valuable rest to Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell, Mason Mount (among others) and Reece James, respectively. Utilising the large squad at his disposal is key to Lampard keeping his players fit enough to play his ideal high-energy pressing game as well as ensuring the players on the fringes of the squad are kept happy and do not revolt when the going gets tough (*cough, Marcus Alonso, cough*).

In his first season at the helm, Lampard looked to have a clear idea on how he wanted his Chelsea side to play. The side pressed aggressively and high up the pitch, bringing their defensive line close to the halfway line in order to compact the opposition in their own half. The results of this modern, progressive game plan were mixed, with Chelsea sparkling in attack – achieving the second highest expected goals scored over the course of the season (76) – but a mess in the defensive transition as teams frequently ripped through them on the counter, contributing to the massive 54 goals conceded throughout the campaign. Having strengthened defensively in the summer with the acquisitions of Mendy, Silva and Chilwell, Lampard would have hoped for a thorough preseason in which he could drill his side on the intricacies of his pressing style and how to efficiently switch shape when possession is lost before opponents can fly up the field. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on the fixture list, the manager was given limited time to integrate his 6 summer signings into his system. It is difficult to adjust for that number of signings in any normal season but given the circumstances it has proved a trying task. On top of this, regular domestic and European midweek matches have left little to no time for intensive, detailed work on the training ground. Not only are regular starters fatigued from the workload, but the coaches are unable to properly drill their sides and make the improvements necessary to turn form around. The board must stick by Lampard and give him time to work on his sides set up now that the hectic festive period has come to a close.

Lampard will be hoping to continue his winning ways at Chelsea in a managerial role. Could European glory be on the way if Abramovich has faith in him? Photo Credit: UEFA Twitter

Lampard cannot blame all his defeats on a lack of luck and a congested fixture list, however. Injuries and profligacy have hindered Chelsea, but a lot of the harm caused this season has been self-inflicted. A worrying trend has emerged recently that I feel is in desperate need of being rectified. In recent games against Arsenal and Manchester City especially, Chelsea’s entire midfield seems to have vanished for most of the game. It is clear that a three-man midfield unit of Mount, Kanté and Kovacic is not good enough when facing top-half opposition. Both Kanté and Kovacic have very little positional discipline, whilst the latter does very little meaningful pressing or defending – his 1.7 tackles and interceptions per league game this season proving that (for context, Kanté stands at 5.2 in the same metric). Lampard needs to address this issue as a matter of urgency. It could be that playing Billy Gilmour as a deep-lying, disciplined number 6 to break up opposition counter-attacks and to set our attacks in motion could be an option. The 19-year-old Scott is a promising talent and superior to Jorginho in most – if not all – aspects of a midfielder’s game. This could see Kanté returning to his position as a ‘free 8’, given license to roam and destroy opposition breaks before they get going. Another alternative could be to deploy a midfield pivot of Kanté and Mount in a 4-2-3-1 to allow Havertz to play in his favoured role as a number 10, however, this would rely on the Frenchman holding back his natural urge to cover every blade of grass and for Havertz to fully commit defensively. Whatever the solution is, it is obvious that this is a major area Lampard has to look into, and one which could hold the key when it comes to changing Chelsea’s sorry record this season against teams in the top 8.

A major worry for owner Roman Abramovich will be the struggles of summer purchases Timo Werner and Kai Havertz. The German duo were bought in for a combined £120 million and were expected to lead Chelsea’s title charge as Liverpool and Manchester City have faltered this term. However, neither has truly replicated the scintillating form that saw them contribute 36 and 18 Bundesliga goals respectively last season. Having broken the bank to bring the pair to west London, Abramovich is well within his rights to question why Lampard has failed to get the best out of them so far. Whilst the usual excuses of struggling to adapt to a new country and a new league are valid (not to mention Havertz was left reeling following his time out with the COVID-19 virus), it seems that Lampard’s system has not been adjusted to facilitate the Germans. Havertz thrives in the final third, playing high risk, high reward football and making late runs in to the box – as was his manager’s trademark back in his day – to finish moves. Therefore, his positioning as a number 8 on the right of a midfield trio will have frustrated him as he spends much of his time tracking back and tackling and less of it contributing to goals as is his strength (his 3 goal contributions from 15 league games is underwhelming for a player of his calibre). Perhaps a move to a number 10 role where he is able to link play and attack without worrying about defending – and giving the ball away deep in his own half as we have become accustomed to – so much could see him rise from his meagre 0.6 shots and 0.7 key passes a game this season to the 2 he managed in each metric last campaign. Similarly Werner has been forced out of his natural position to facilitate Lampard’s use of a 4-3-3, and although he has been getting into dangerous positions (his 6.8 expected goals from 17 league games is respectable), his ball retention and crossing abilities are nowhere near the level of a natural winger. Playing Werner with one of Giroud or Abraham to feed off – as he did with Yussuf Poulson at RB Leipzig – in a front 2 could help the German rediscover his best form. Feeding off knock-downs and running into the space left by centre backs occupying themselves with his strike partner will help him to find his feet in this league. Managers who have been unable to facilitate their star players have not fared well under Abramovich (see Carlo Ancelotti with Fernando Torres and José Mourinho’s first spell with Andriy Shevchenko) and so it is essential Lampard can get Werner and Havertz playing to the best of their abilities.

To avoid a similar fate to Ancelotti, Lampard must get the best out of his star players. Photo Credit: The Irish Mirror

It is important to remember that when Lampard was appointed he was not expected to deliver immediate success. Hit with a transfer ban, the young manager was unable to make signings to mould the squad to his liking, and perhaps more importantly, he was unable to replace Chelsea’s greatest player of the last decade in Eden Hazard. Scoring 16 goals and laying on another 15 for his teammates, Hazard directly contributed to 49% of Chelsea’s league goals in his final campaign at Stamford Bridge. It is rare to have a side so overwhelmingly dependent on one talismanic figure, and so losing the Belgian was a massive blow to Lampard. The board decided that Champions League qualification was sufficient in Lampard’s first campaign, with his second focussed on showing further improvements before an expected title charge in his third. It is easy to forget the incredible work Lampard has done thus far at Chelsea and it is reasonable to think that he should be given time to enact his philosophy and push for silverware next season as his three year plan comes to a conclusion.

Fans who have been following Chelsea over the past couple of decades will have been refreshed by the idea of owner Roman Abramovich sticking behind an exciting young coach for the long run. The culture of hiring and firing instilled at the club since the Russian Oligarch’s takeover in 2003 may have bought with it 18 trophies (if we stoop to Arsenal’s level by including our brace of Community Shields), but it has left fans yearning for more stability. In the 16 years that preceded Frank Lampard’s appointment, Abramovich ran through 11 managers (twice welcoming José Mourinho and Guus Hiddink) and yet it is difficult to remember any notable academy graduates breaking through and starring regularly for the senior team in that time. Given the immense pressure to deliver success in the short-term, managers were unable to plan ahead and therefore were reluctant to put their neck on the line for youngsters. Frank Lampard has changed that culture and finally shown everyone why Chelsea’s academy, led so ably by Neil Bath, is renowned worldwide. Promoting Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Reece James and Fikayo Tomori to the first team and playing them regularly signalled a huge change in the Chelsea philosophy. No longer were the club going to go out and spend £50 million on a player when an academy graduate who could do their job was working hard for their chance. With Gilmour, Anjorin, Lawrence, Valentino Livramento, Lewis Bate and many more likely to follow their fellow academy graduates to the first team, this progression shows no signs of slowing down. If Lampard were not manager, it is feasible to suggest that none of this would have happened. Yes, we knew Abraham, Mount and James were quality players, but would another manager have stuck by them when they struggled and they had the likes of Giroud, Barkley and Azpilicueta waiting in the wings? Any new arrival could still decide he has no room in his side for Mount, Abraham et al and revert to type. This academy revolution has brought the fans closer to the club than ever before, seeing their own starring week-in-week-out. Lampard is the man who will keep this going, and many fans will massively appreciate that.

Lampard’s faith in youth hasn’t gone unnoticed by fans. Could continued trust in youngsters like Billy Gilmour save his job? Photo Credit: Chelsea News.

Narratives in football change quickly. Coming off the back of a highly respectable debut season at Chelsea which comprised of a top four finish and an FA Cup final, Lampard hit the ground running with a 17-game unbeaten streak in all competitions. A sticky patch of form over a month has seen Chelsea go from ‘title favourites’ (take Klopp’s word not mine!) to midtable mediocrity. But the story can reverse for Lampard just as easily. You only have to glance up North to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to see how quickly fortunes can turn. In early December as Lampard was heavily praised by the media, his counterpart was widely criticised following an early exit from the Champions League and a difficult start to the season which had seen them lose 6-1 at home to Tottenham. A month on and the Norwegian has led United to top of the league with a game in hand. Similar turnarounds have been witnessed at Arsenal and to a lesser-extent Manchester City, as Guardiola has gone from under the radar to apparent favourites for the league. In this highly unusual season, Lampard’s side find themselves a mere 3 points off the top four, albeit having played one or two games more than most sides above them. The compacted calendar means that a few weeks of hot form can result in a long winning run which in turn can fire a side up the table. Should Lampard make a few tweaks to his midfield, get Werner firing again and sort out his press, I have complete faith that the Blues will rocket back up the table. It should be every Chelsea fan’s dream to see a club legend succeed at Stamford Bridge, and fortunately for us Frank Lampard has what it takes to lead us to the top. He just needs time, something which right now seems to be in short supply.

Written by Daniel New

Podcast: Chelsea 4-0 Morecambe Match Review!

A game which should help for confidence ahead of Fulham…

In another episode of The Chelsea Spot Podcast, Orlando (Host – @0rland1nho), Dan (Admin – @danbarkzr) and Danny (Writer – @danny_new_) discuss Chelsea’s comfortable FA cup victory over Morecambe. Talking about there being no academy kids involved, Hudson-Odoi and Gilmour impressing, the confidence for Werner and Havertz and will Tomori ever play in a Chelsea shirt again?

Prefer to listen elsewhere? Click your preferred streaming platform –



Make sure to check us out on all our social media platforms, including our website, Twitter, Instagram, Spotify, ITunes, Amazon Music, Google and Youtube.

Podcast: What do Chelsea need to do to improve? w/@MishraAbhiA!

Some outstanding analysis…

In another episode of The Chelsea Spot Podcast, Orlando (Host – @0rland1nho) and data analyst Abhishek (@MishraAbhiA) discuss how Chelsea can improve under Frank Lampard. They talk about the reasons behind Timo Werner’s recent failure infront of goal, Kai Havertz’s early struggles, the need for Declan Rice, Ziyech’s importance to the team and SO much more!

Prefer to listen elsewhere? Click your preferred streaming platform –



Make sure to check us out on all our social media platforms, including our website, Twitter, Instagram, Spotify, ITunes, Amazon Music, Google and Youtube.

West Brom 3-3 Chelsea Player Ratings – Cobham Masterclass!

Chelsea somehow managed to come back from a 3-0 defecit at Half Time, to take a point away after the 90 minuets. The academy boys once again saved us from embarassment, as goals from Mason Mount, Hudson-Odoi and Tammy Abraham clinched us a draw. Let’s get into these player ratings…

Willy Caballero – 6:

Not really to blame for any of the three goals conceded, after individual errors all came from the defence. Didn’t need to do much in the match, but then again conceding three goals shouldn’t be anywhere near the normal, so he can take an average rating of 5.

Reece James – 5:

Not a spectacular performance from the English fullback, but there were some positives for sure. He made a delightful cross in the first half to Tammy Abraham who should have tucked it away, but other than that, most of his crosses and corners didn’t end up anywhere near the right place. Glimpses of his quality was shown but other than that it was certainly an underwhelming performance.

Andreas Christensen – 9:

An outstanding performance from the Centre-Half, today. Normally a player who struggles with consistency as well as these types of clubs who like to hoof the ball up a lot, but his strength and positioning was close to perfect today. He was by far our best Centre-Back today and so far this season has shown very encouraging signs of him becoming the defender we all think he can potentially be.

Thiago Silva – 4:

He took the armband in his Premier League debut, and unfortunately his mistake was so close to us losing the game. Even at 1-0 down, we looked like we could get back into the game but the Brazilian lost control of the ball and Callum Robinson glided past him and tucked it into the corner. Other than that he made some nice passes and didn’t make any other errors, but that one huge mistake certainly decreases his performance rating.


Marcos Alonso – 1:

Probably the worst individual performance I have seen in a Chelsea shirt since Bakayoko vs Watford those many years ago. At fault for their first goal by pasing the ball to them, and at fault for him losing his man in the third goal. Frank Lampard rightly hooked him off at Half-Time and called him out twice in his post match press conference, although I have given him one pity point for being played out of position.

N’Golo Kante – 6:

Not his best performance in a Blue shirt either. In the first half he looked sloppy on the ball and made some very light-hearted passes, but then again Kante did what he always does and assembled some very nice tackles and interceptions. Meh.

Mateo Kovacic – 8:

Personally thought Kovacic was very good today, and showed the world what he’s good at. Drove with the ball very quickly in the first half and got us out of so many tight areas – after all, he is one of the best press resistant midfielders in the Premier League. He linked up with our attackers more, which is something we have been crying for from the Croatian. Good shift.

Kai Havertz – 8:

Thought Kai was very impressive today, and it was his first solid performance in the Premier League. He glides with the ball, worked hard, and was involved in and around the box a lot. Made a lovely 1-2 with Hudson-Odoi for our second goal which brought us right back into the game. A lot more to come to, but this was a very good start.


Werner – 4

We saw very little of our German forward today. He hit the crossbar in the first half which he arguably should have scored from, but other than that wasn’t involved in the play at all. It certainly will be interesting to see if he starts as a winger next game, or whether he will go back to starting in the central position and drifting wide which he seems a lot more comfortable with. A disappointing performance from Timo but his goal will come, very soon.

Mason Mount – 9:

He’s just too good, isn’t he? First half he was being played out of position on the right hand side, but his versatility allowed him to be one of the better players even then. In the second half when he switched into the 8 role, he looked even better, and Mason was the stem of our comeback, after striking the ball beautifully 25 yards out with 35 minutes to go. He probably needs a rest soon after playing for all 270 minutes, but if you can’t see why Lampard wants to start him week in week out then I have no words for you.

Tammy Abraham – 7:

As he himself said after the game, he should have tucked away the tap in with his left foot in the first half. Other than that he wasn’t involved much in the game, but showed so much passion and clever striker play to get the goal in the 93rd minute to clinch us a much needed point. Didn’t get to see his linkup with Havertz, but it’ll come.



I won’t give ratings to the subsitutes as I think that can sometimes be a bit harsh. But no doubt the two half time changes helped us in our remarkable comeback. Azpilicueta came on for Marcos Alonso and we all know how much effort he puts in every single game, and Dave couldn’t have done any worse.

Hudson-Odoi was arguably our Man of the Match, and he was the main man behind us coming back from 3-0. His second Premier League goal came at 3-1 down after a lovely passing move, and his finish was delightful. For our 93rd minute winner, he put in the delightful cross which eventually led to the goal. Constantly, throughout his 45 minute cameo, he was causing the West Brom defenders havoc and left them panicking. Deserves to start against Spurs midweek.


Not enough time to give a real judgement on Giroud, but he wasn’t involved much.

Do you agree with my player ratings? Let me know what you think on our social media platforms or my personal account!

Onto Spurs. Written by Paree

‘I wanted him to have the number 10 shirt because he deserved it.’ – Frank Lampard

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard was interviewed by Arlo White as part of the series ‘Inside the Mind’ for NBCSN, and here are some of the best quotes from the chat. To have a listen to the full interview, simply watch the video below (only available in the United States).

A brilliant 12 minute chat…

Frank Lampard on bringing in Thiago Silva:

‘He will bring us the experience of playing in winning teams and what it takes to win and I hope that he can lead from the back in terms of how he holds himself and communicates with others around him and hopefully that will address some of our defensive problems.’

Frank Lampard on the signings of Timo Werner and Kai Havertz:

‘They’re two players I’m delighted to bring in. They were players that I had a lot of admiration for from the outside. They were two players that I said I wanted to bring to the club. I think it will give us a lot of speed and flexibility in higher areas of the pitch as well as a lot of quality. I get a really good feeling from them that they’re hungry for success.’

Frank Lampard on Chelsea’s New Number 10 Christian Pulisic:

‘He’s trained with us for the last couple of days so I suppose I’ll have to be a little bit careful going to Brighton. I’ll see how he is right up to that game as his recovery has been pretty quick and a lot of testament goes to him for that because he’s worked really hard to get fit. I had every feeling last year that Christian would be a huge player for this club. I genuinely felt it was time for him to adapt to the League so I tried to protect him [hence I didn’t play him as much earlier on]. When he got into the team I didn’t need to protect him.

I saw that progression in restart that showed those qualities [he has] – speed and balance and finishing, and there was a new belief in being a player that was going to make a difference for us. I am very excited that this season he’s going to improve even more. He’s come back looking really hungry. He will only improve with the players brought in around him that will hopefully be on the [same] wavelength with him – maybe with their movements Christian will get even more space.

I wanted him to have the number 10 shirt because I felt like he deserved it and he wanted it. We all know what a fit Christian Pulisic can do. I was very pleased to actually make the call to tell him about it and I could sense he was happy and I sense a feeling that this is another push up for him and I’ve got no worries for Christian.’

Once again, make sure to listen to the full interview to hear more from Frank Lampard!

Written by Paree

Podcast: Chelsea Transfer Roundup w/Simon Phillips!

Make sure to follow us while you are there!

In another episode of The Chelsea Spot podcast, host Dan (@danbarkzr) and special guest Simon (@SiPhillipsSport) go into detail about Chelsea’s transfer window, talking about Sarr, Havertz, Silva, Rice, Barkley, Ampadu, Goalkeepers and so much more!

Prefer to listen elsewhere? Click your preferred streaming platform –



Make sure to check us out on all our social media platforms, including our website, Twitter, Spotify, ITunes and Deezer.

#TheChelseaSpot | #Chelsea | #CFC

Podcast: Chelsea Transfer Window Special w/ @MishraAbhiA (Data Analyst)!

In another episode of The Chelsea Spot podcast, Orlando (Host – @0rland1nho) and special guest Abhishek (@MishraAbhiA ) discuss the Chelsea transfer window and talk about Ziyech, Werner and potentially Havertz, the kind of profiles we need at LB and CB and the big question of whether we need another winger.

Prefer to listen elsewhere? Click your preferred streaming platform –



Make sure to check us out on all our social media platforms, including our website, Twitter, Spotify, ITunes and Deezer.

#TheChelseaSpot | #Chelsea | #CFC

Strength in Versatility

Bayer Leverkusen’s exit from the Europa League was celebrated by Chelsea fans all over, as it meant Kai Havertz could make to switch to London as soon as possible, following the official conclusion of the German club’s season. The 21-year-old’s body language during the course of the game was that of a player whose mind was elsewhere, and one could see that he was not operating to his fullest- walking around off the ball, and lazy while tracking back. Despite this, he scored the only goal for Bayer; gliding past a sliding Inter defender and slotting it into the back of the net. The goalkeeper was unable to keep the ball from crossing the line despite getting a touch.

Following the confirmation of the Werner and Ziyech deals, one thing is for certain- our manager is keen on signing attacking players who are comfortable in a wide range of positions. Havertz is another fine addition, and the young German has featured as an attacking midfielder, centre forward and right winger. Our strength in attack going into next season is definitely in our versatility, and it could permit us to play the fluid football which fans have been craving at the Bridge since the days of Carlo Ancelotti. In this article, I will be analysing the various ways our attack could look like in the next season which starts in roughly one month. For this purpose, I will be including our confirmed signings as well as Havertz, along with a couple of players who formed a part of our current season and are unlikely to leave the club this window.

#1: 4-3-3 with Havertz/ Ziyech as a RW and Werner as the striker

The first formation is the renowned 4-3-3, which Lampard seems to prefer too. However, the formation is open to the interpretation of the manager and his brand of football. For example, Liverpool (under Klopp) play this formation with two box-to-box midfielders ahead of the lone DM, and offer the full-backs the freedom to make dynamic runs ahead to support the attack. (Henderson and Wijnaldum/ Keita ahead of Fabinho, which allowed TAA and Robertson to join the attack). Manchester City on the other hand (under Guardiola in the 2019/19 season), preferred to play with two attacking midfielders who occupied the ‘number 8 role’ ahead of the lone DM (de Bruyne and David Silva ahead of Fernandinho). Maurizio Sarri, who was the manager of Chelsea last season, also played with his version of the same formation, where Jorginho was the regista, Kante was the box-to-box midfielder and Loftus-Cheek or Barkley were tasked with providing attacking threat from midfield.

I will be covering the other systems as well, but the first one is similar to Sarri’s system, where we have one DM, one box-to-box midfielder and one midfielder that provides attacking threat, followed by the traditional front three. The front three includes Havertz on the right, Pulisic on the left and Werner up front. Havertz has played 12 games on the right side of a front three and contributed to six goals and five assists, most recently against Inter Milan last night. Alternatively, Ziyech can play this role if Havertz is unavailable.

Werner has played 38 of his 45 games this season as the striker, and has managed 30 goals and 13 assists from this position. However, it is interesting to note that he did mostly feature alongside another striker in most of these games. How he performs as the lone striker is yet to be seen- he did bag a brace against Augsburg in his last appearance for Leipzig though- where he played as the lone striker. Pulisic has been electrifying in the left-wing position post lockdown, which sees him feature alongside the two Germans. However, this formation would leave one of Ziyech or Havertz on the bench.

#2: 4-3-3 with Havertz as CF and Werner as an inside forward and Ziyech on the right

This is similar to how Liverpool utilise Salah, Mane and Firmino- a centre forward who is great at dribbling and space creation complemented by two wingers who become inside forwards and score a ridiculous number of goals to compensate for the absence of an out and out striker. Here, the main objective of the wingers is to get into the box and score, while full-backs provide the width. To balance the defensive aspect, generally the midfield trio are all players with incredible work rate to get up and down the pitch whenever required. For comparison, Liverpool have predominantly utilised Fabinho, Henderson and Wijnaldum, none of who are ‘number 10s’.

In this system, Havertz is used as the centre forward due to his close control and ability to glide past players, a position which he has featured in just eight times this season, but has an impressive tally of eight goals as well as an assist from this position. He’s also quite tall (189cm), which could provide aerial threat as well. Alongside him would be Ziyech on the right, as a right-sided inside forward is always left-footed. On the left hand side would be Werner, who could cut in and cause havoc. As he has played with another striker upfront throughout the course of the season, this could bring the best out of him. However, this would see Pulisic miss out.

#3: 4-3-3 with Havertz as an attacking no8, Ziyech as the RW and Werner upfront

The third and final 4-3-3 formation is similar to the one Manchester City used last season, where the wingers drift wide and the two attacking midfielders cut inside. Should Chelsea get the Havertz deal over the line, Lampard would have all the tools to pull this off. Ahead of a reliable, sturdy DM (someone like Rice or Zakaria) would be Mount and Havertz. The front three would most likely consist of Ziyech on the right, Pulisic on the left and Werner through the middle. This formation may look unbalanced on paper, but with the right coaching this team could do wonders and break any opposition down. While it isn’t advisable to go with this line-ups in the big games, this attack would certainly come in handy against the sides which deploy a low block (for example, Villa and Burnley). It also includes all our remarkable attacking options, which isn’t possible in the previous two line-ups.

#4: 4-2-3-1 with Havertz as the no10, Ziyech as the RW and Werner upfront

One last formation before we conclude, the 4-2-3-1 which Lampard seemed to favour earlier in the season. The double pivot would consist of a sturdy midfielder coupled with someone who can run up and down the pitch, while the front four could do the damage in the attacking half. Havertz would be deployed as the attacking midfielder- a role in which he’s excelled this season with 25 appearances. On either side of him would be Ziyech and Pulisic, followed by Werner up top as the striker. Alternatively, in the absence of Havertz, Ziyech could take up this role, and so could Mount. My personal opinion would be to stick with the 4-3-3 system as it is used by the best teams in the world, but a 4-2-3-1 with the right system could do wonders.

That brings us to the end of the various formations in which we can line up next season. However, the extracts of the formations which I have used are contingent on us getting certain players to balance the side, hence it will be up to Lampard to pick the best eleven with the personnel at his disposal. The likes of Hudson-Odoi, Giroud and Tammy will also feature throughout the long season, but I have not included them in this article. Our reported interest in Benrahma could also spice things up, but as of now, these are our options. Whatever the case may be, I’m delighted that I am not in Lampard’s seat, because he has a few tough decisions to make!

Podcast: Chelsea 2-0 Wolves Review, Havertz, Willian new contract & more!


In our twenty first episode of The Chelsea Spot podcast Orlando (Host – @0rland1nho), Danny (@danny_new_) & Paree (@ACParee) discuss the great 2-0 victory over Wolves to qualify Chelsea for the Champions League next season. The boys also discuss the developments in Kai Havertz to Chelsea, the breakthrough in Willian signing a new contract and a lot more!

Prefer to listen elsewhere? Click your preferred streaming platform –



Make sure to check us out on all our social media platforms, including our website, Twitter, Spotify, ITunes and Deezer.

#TheChelseaSpot | #Chelsea | #CFC

The Simon Phillips Show #4 – Transfer Roundup & Aston Villa Preview!

Transfer Roundup & Aston Villa Preview!

In our fourth episode of the Simon Phillips show, Simon discusses the latest transfer news regarding the Football Club, including Werner’s finalised move to Chelsea, Havertz, Chilwell, Pedro and Willian.

In the second part, we talk about our upcoming game against Aston Villa and Loftus-Cheek’s fitness.

Prefer to listen elsewhere? Click your preferred streaming platform –



Make sure to check us out on all our social media platforms, including our website, Twitter, Spotify, ITunes and Deezer, as well as Simon’s.
#TheChelseaSpot | #Chelsea | #CFC

Can Chelsea cement a serious challenge for the title next season?

Given the recent news that broke surrounding a shock move for Timo Werner, who has been reported to have agreed terms with Chelsea, and other rumours floating around involving Ben Chilwell, Nicolas Tagliafico and German sensation Kai Havertz, can Chelsea create a serious contention for the Premier League next season?

The main consideration that must be acknowledged is that as of right now, Chelsea are yet to secure any of the aforementioned players, despite Werner’s transfer looking imminent. This piece simply outlines the possibilities of a title-capturing season if the Blues can pull the deals off. For the past 3 seasons, Chelsea have looked relatively weak compared to reigning champions Manchester City, and this season’s dominant Liverpool side. Chelsea’s best campaign since their victory in 2016-17 happened to take place just last year, with the London side capturing a Europa League, whilst also finishing 3rd in the Premier League. The Blue’s were then faced with a transfer ban, prohibiting their chances of structural improvements in the side, following the departure of club legend Eden Hazard. Chelsea have gone on to silence all doubters and place considerably higher than many expected them to, currently sitting 4th in the Premier League, with 9 games to play.

Fast forward to June and Roman Abramovich has reopened his wallet and is not scared to break the bank to land some serious marquee signings for the Blues. As previously mentioned, Chelsea have all but confirmed their signing of RB Leipzig’s talisman Timo Werner, for a fee that could be as low as £52m, which in today’s market is unfathomable. The undoubtedly young Chelsea side have struggled for goals this season, with most of their attempts being turned away by Tammy Abraham, who has been nothing short of impressive in front of goal, but if Chelsea can land Timo Werner, the strike partnership of the prolific German and the goal-hungry Abraham, there is no doubt that the duo will score goals. Werner has rattled the net an astounding 31 times in all competitions this season, with 4 games to go before the end of the season. Abraham has surprised many by securing 15 goals in all competitions. 

As well as the Werner news, it looks like Chelsea are out for more, as news broke earlier this week that the Blues have declared serious interest over Bayer Leverkusen’s wonderkid Kai Havertz (per @cfbayern). If Chelsea can land this deal, beating rivals Manchester United amongst other clubs desperate to acquire the German star, the attacking possibilities at Stamford Bridge would be nothing short of fantastic. Kai Havertz is a truly dynamic player, with a serious eye for goals and assists, as well as exceptional hold up play, the 20-year-old has it all, and would be a perfect addition to Frank Lampard’s youth-based side. With Chelsea already landing Hakim Ziyech from Ajax, who can comfortably play out wide, or at the height of a midfield three, the Blues will be unstoppable going forward.

Football Manager 2020: What happens to Kai Havertz? - Football ...
Bayer Leverkusen youngster Kai Havertz, one of Chelsea’s main targets, Photo credit: Football Whispers

With the attacking options, if all goes well, looking a certain threat, Chelsea will also need to strengthen their defence. This has been made clear by Chelsea, with the blues mounting interest on Ben Chilwell, Nicolas Tagliafico and Alex Telles. Chelsea have suffered on the left-hand side for a while now, with Marcos Alonso looking considerably uncomfortable in a solid back four, and with Emerson looking like he is Italy bound. Despite Chelsea’s interest, Alex Telles has been toying with PSG over a move to the French giants, which means Chelsea have a toss-up between experienced full-back Nicolas Tagliafico, or 23-year-old Englishman Ben Chilwell. Whilst Tagliafico’s fee sits somewhere around the £23m mark, which would be a certain steal for a player with his quality, Leicester’s Chilwell appears a better fit for Lampard’s youth-orientated squad. Chilwell has played comfortably in a solid back-four for Leicester this season, and if Chelsea can acquire the Englishman at full-back, he will have the right players and coaches around him to take his defensive game to the next level.

With the completion of the acquisitions mentioned, and the removal of various ‘deadwood’ players in the squad like Drinkwater, Emerson, Batshuayi, and Mario Pasalic, who looks set for a permanent move to Serie A underdogs Atalanta for a fee of around £13m, Chelsea will not need to delve into their transfer budget as much as people think, with fees for Morata and Eden Hazard still at the club’s disposal. Furthermore, the potential new additions to the side will provide the Blues with some serious star power, as well as a refreshing balance from defence to attack, not to mention the sheer firepower in the midfield, with fan favourite Ruben Loftus Cheek returning from his elongated injury, and our player of the season Mateo Kovacic, Chelsea’s side, all signings considered, can mount a serious contention to take the top spot come May 2021.

Written by Mash Greaves.

Who is generational talent Kai Havertz, and why should Chelsea go all out to sign him?

For months, the talk surrounding football has largely been of the huge effect that the current global pandemic will have on the market. Supposedly even the biggest teams would have to scale back on their usual splurges, forced to be stingy by the potential loss of broadcasting revenue as well as the lack of any match day income. In total, Deloitte have predicted Premier League sides alone could lose up to £1 billion over two seasons as a result of the pandemic. However, it seems like one owner didn’t get the memo. Having stolen Timo Werner from underneath Liverpool’s nose by activating his £53 million release clause when the Reds were unable to, it seems that Roman Abramovich could attempt to prise away another of Liverpool’s supposed targets, and one of the Bundesliga’s brightest talents in Kai Havertz. This spending spree, which will also probably include a left back in either Ben Chilwell or Nicolás Tagliafico, in a time where other clubs are faltering, could set up Chelsea to be a force to be reckoned with over the next 5-10 years. And Havertz could be the star.

Photo credit: 90Min

The return of elite football arrived earlier in Germany than the rest of Europe, causing a new audience to flock to watch the Bundesliga in search of their football fix. With the spotlight seemingly firmly fixed on Jadon Sancho, Erling Haaland and Robert Lewandowski as Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich fought for the title, it was Kai Havertz who stole it. He has long attracted interest from European powerhouses, with Liverpool and Bayern Munich seemingly chief amongst them, but his back-to-back braces in the opening two games following the forced break in the season showcased his talents on a much larger scale, perhaps prompting Abramovich to amp up his pursuit of him.

Before we dive into the youngster’s incredible stats, it is worth discussing his personality. When making a big money move to the Premier League, having a strong mentality is essential. As the British media wait for you to slip up spectacularly, you have to shut out the outside world and hit the ground running. Despite still being 20 years old, Havertz is in his 4th season of regular game time at Bayer Leverkusen. Making his Bundesliga debut at the age of just 17 years and 126 days old (at the time making him the club’s youngest ever league debutant), he has shown remarkable mental strength to earn his place and keep it from such a young age and with such media attention focussed on him. More impressive still is the fact that he has led Leverkusen as captain on 5 occasions this season in the absence of club captain Lars Bender, going further towards proving that he truly is an old head on young shoulders.

Photo credit: Metro

However, the most encouraging aspect of Havertz’s mental make-up is his ability to keep going in the face of adversity. He came into this season with the pressure of having to follow up a 17 goal haul in 2018/19 (with 4 assists to his name as well, despite him playing as a midfielder/winger), and initially struggled. In fact, he only netted twice between the start of the season and 2020, with those goals coming across 14 league starts. The media scrutiny that follows a superb breakthrough season looked to be getting to him, but the German persisted and has dramatically turned his form around. Having scored in the first game back after the winter break, he has amassed a huge 9 goals and 4 assists in 12 appearances so far in 2020, making him the Bundesliga’s third top scorer since the turn of the year, behind only Lewandowski and Haaland! It is clear that Havertz can handle the burden of huge expectation, which will be vital if he is to join Chelsea in a big money move. So, he can handle the psychological aspect of the game, but how is he with the ball at his feet?

Not only is Havertz’s goal contribution haul impressive –  he has bagged 11 goals and 5 assists in 26 league appearances to date – but look closer at his underlying numbers and you will understand that his current red-hot form is no fluke. He is the fulcrum of all Leverkusen’s play; whether he is playing as a false 9, a right winger or as an attacking midfielder, and has been a crucial component of one of Germany’s most exciting offensive forces. His 2.1 chances created per league game rank him 9th in the league, and are only 0.2 fewer than Jadon Sancho, who has 11 more assists than Havertz. This implies that in a more clinical team, the German would be racking up huge assists numbers. The potential of seeing him play with the deadly Werner (who has netted 25 league goals this campaign so far), therefore, is mind-blowing for all Chelsea fans!

On top of being an elite chance creator, Havertz is also excellent at ball progression. Wherever he is playing, he will always drop deep in search of the ball and then force his team up the pitch, with his average of 46 passes per game (at an 86% completion rate) very high for an attacking player. For context, his teammate and usually the man who plays on the opposite wing to him, Moussa Diaby, makes only 20 passes per game, and the highly involved Sancho manages 48. His 2 completed dribbles every match also make for impressive reading, and are more than both Willian and Hudson-Odoi (our right wing options this term) currently average. He is also a player who will constantly make defences uncomfortable, as he naturally drifts between the defensive lines, willing to receive the ball all over the pitch, with his marker unsure of whether to be drawn out of position and follow him (opening up space behind the defensive lines for pacy players like Werner or Hudson-Odoi to exploit) or to sit back and allow Havertz to work his magic. He has the ability to take a touch and make a sensational cross-field pass, or beat his man before feeding a teammate or going alone. With such incredible match intelligence at only 20, Havertz’s potential truly is incredible.

Another facet to Havertz’s game is his aerial presence. Standing at around 6 foot 2 inches (or 1.89m) tall, he boasts a physical advantage on many central defenders, and is only 2cm shorter than Tammy Abraham. This allows him to win 1.4 aerial duels per game, behind only Abraham and Giroud (on 3.2 and 2.9 respectively) for non-defenders in the Chelsea squad. His aerial prowess has helped him bag 2 headed goals this season, the same figure as Tammy, despite only making 7 appearances as a number 9. His physique should cause opposition defenders all kinds of problems, as he is a threat from set pieces and he can hold up the ball well, which is vital in a relatively short squad (the 7th shortest in the league). He also happens to be left-footed, something none of our wingers are, and therefore could play on the right wing and cut in should Lampard require it, a trait which makes him even more desirable to the Chelsea board.

Photo credit: talkSPORT

So Havertz is a brilliant creator, a fantastic dribbler and a threat in the air, but what are his areas of weakness? Well, one aspect of his game that he could easily improve on is his shot volume: as he has managed only 1.9 shots per game this season, the 25th most in the Bundesliga. Part of the reason his average shots per game are low is that he has only recently started playing as a false 9, but even as an attacking midfielder I would expect him to get off more efforts at goal every game. For example, Mason Mount – in his first season of Premier League football – has made 2.3 attempts on goal per game as an attacking midfielder, and should continue to improve on that as he gets older. If Havertz can take more shots per game, it is only logical that more goals should follow. He is also quite regularly dispossessed, at an average rate of 2.7 times a game, which would rank joint top in the Chelsea squad with Pulisic. However, this could be because most of Leverkusen’s attacking moves go through him, and so he is bound to make a few mistakes when he is constantly trying to force openings for his team.

Having seen a breakdown of his game, we know that Havertz is a star and has huge scope to improve at only 20 years of age. Put simply, he could become a truly elite player in the future. What might concern a lot of Chelsea fans, however, is where he will fit in. With Ziyech and Werner (hopefully) due to arrive this summer, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek coming back from his lengthy injury lay-off, the competition for places will be monumental, which could push the squad on as a whole, but could also lead to some significant player departures.

The German international is capable of playing a number of roles, with his versatility another reason why he is sought after by so many sides. He is able to play as: a free number eight in a 4-3-3 (similar to how Mount plays when in central midfield), a central attacking midfielder in the hole behind the striker, a right winger, or as a centre forward. Such versatility should offset any worries about him keeping any particular player out, as Frank can move him around regularly as Peter Bosz has done this season at Leverkusen. With Ziyech and Hudson-Odoi both capable of playing on the right wing, the ideal place to play Havertz would be as a number 10 in a 4-2-3-1 behind Tammy and with Werner cutting in from the left wing. This would be a devastating attacking unit, arguably one of Europe’s best, and would make the most of Havertz’s creativity, ball progression and finishing (as he can arrive late in the box to tuck shots away).

Photo credit: talkSPORT

However, if Lampard opts for a 4-3-3, as he has tended to do this season, Havertz would be more than able to play as a number 8, perhaps with two more stable central midfielders beside him allowing him to push forwards (perhaps N’Golo Kanté and Mateo Kovačić). The possibility of a 2 striker formation has also been thrown about recently, and is something that could prove really exciting. Should we play a 4-4-2 with Tammy and Werner spearheading the attack, Havertz could possibly be paired in a midfield pivot with the ridiculous defensive shield that is N’Golo Kanté, which would allow him to get forwards regularly. Such squad selection headaches can only be a good thing for Frank Lampard, who wants his players to fight for their places, which will improve the long-standing issue of mentality and motivation in the Chelsea dressing room. We must also assume that the board are backing Frank Lampard as part of a 3 year plan (as per The Athletic) in which Chelsea are winning major honours by the conclusion of the 2022/23 season, and if Lampard has sought out Havertz and Werner, I am confident he knows exactly how he wants his side to lineup with them in next season.

Havertz has handled the pressure of being his club’s star man as a teenager, as well as being their captain, and his 59 goal contributions in 114 Bundesliga games before turning 21 is incredibly impressive. When we add in his mental toughness and ability to come back firing following a scoring drought, as well as his Champions League experience and 7 international caps for Germany (including a goal), it is clear that Havertz is a must buy. With other clubs seemingly incapable of meeting his rumoured €80-100 million valuation, Roman Abramovich could play on Havertz’s eagerness for a new challenge by being his sole realistic suitor this summer. If he manages to secure two of Europe’s most talented players in one window (not to mention Ziyech and a left back), Abramovich could create a dynasty which leads to years of Chelsea success!

Written by Daniel New

Havertz comes out on top in his battle with Thuram as Leverkusen beat Mönchengladbach

Only cardboard cut outs were at Borussia Park to witness a high quality Rhine derby between two of the Bundesliga’s high fliers. The 13,000 lifeless figures were treated to a match of high quality and intensity as Leverkusen leapfrogged their rivals into third with a 3-1 away win. Among the talented players to catch the eye were Kai Havertz, the exciting and versatile German linked with a move to Chelsea earlier this month, and Marcus Thuram, Mönchengladbach’s powerful forward and the son of World Cup winner Lilian.

13,000 cardboard fans watch on, Photo credit: Daily Mail

The game got off to a flying start, with Leverkusen captain Kai Havertz putting his side ahead in the 7th minute. He used his phenomenal pace to latch onto a well weighted through ball from Bellarabi, before sticking the ball through Yann Sommer’s legs. Such composure is rare in a 20 year old, but Havertz isn’t your average youngster and throughout this game he proved what a bright future he has lying ahead of him. From the first whistle Leverkusen hogged the ball, keeping 65% of possession in the first half an hour, as Mönchengladbach sat back. It was clear that the visitors would be playing with a high defensive line and a compact midfield from the start, constantly playing neat little passes between the forwards as they looked for a way through Mönchengladbach’s stubborn defence. The rest of the first half was more or less one-way traffic, with the home side unable to get their key players, Thuram and Alassane Pléa, into the game. Havertz was once again at the centre of everything Leverkusen did, showing his strength to hold off a couple of defenders before slipping a ball through which led to a tame effort on goal. As half time approached, Lukas Hradecky spilt a routine long range effort from Florian Neuhaus and was spared his blushes as somehow neither Thuram or Pléa could pounce on the loose ball. On the stroke of half time the visitors somehow conspired to miss an easy two on one, with Diaby getting in Havertz’s way and delaying the forward’s shot, which hit the bar from a narrow angle. The rebound fell to Demirbay who’s goal bound effort was heroically blocked by Nico Elvedi. However, as the two sides left the pitch for the break, Mönchengladbach had played themselves back into the game after the early onslaught, and there was optimism that they could claw there way back from a goal down.

The second half was where this match up really came to life, as Thuram netted a precise half-volley from a beautifully dinked pass into the box from Pléa. It was Pléa’s first real contribution of note, as Mönchengladbach equalised in stunning fashion. Powerful winger Thuram then had the chance to put his side ahead less than a minute later, with a surging run into the opposition penalty area where he used his strong frame to held off a defender, only to be thwarted by the legs of keeper Hradecky. The home sides optimism was short lived as Elvedi was adjudged to have fouled Bellarabi after the Leverkusen man had fired wide, with the visitors awarded a penalty. A lengthy Video Assistant Referee review followed before Havertz kept his cool from the spot, sending his penalty to Sommer’s right. Although the keeper got a strong hand to the effort, it wasn’t enough to keep it out as Leverkusen recaptured the lead. As the game headed into the final ten minutes, Sven Bender sealed the three points for Leverkusen with a fantastic diving headed (although the ball may have glanced off his shoulder) from a Demirbay free kick. As the clock ticked down, the largely quiet Pléa had three opportunities to help his side back into the game. First came a free header which he placed wide from an excellent Wendt cross, followed by a nice run into the box and a near post blast which was very well saved by Hradecky. From the resulting corner he again had a free header but the delivery was slightly too high for him to get a good effort off on goal. Those three chances in two minutes were as good as it got for the home side, the game finished 3-1 to Bayer Leverkusen.

Once again it will be Havertz who steals the headlines. Germany’s brightest young talent came into this game fresh off a brace against Werder Bremen last weekend and managed to repeat the trick against much stronger opposition today. Once again occupying the false 9 role, Havertz seemed to be everywhere. As well as scoring twice, he dropped deep to help in the build up play, as he managed 45 passes at an 82% completion rate. These were not safe passes either, a series of flicks and lofted balls helped his side progress up the pitch, notably hitting a volleyed pass over the head of a defender to Diaby in acres of space in the first half. He clearly has what it takes to physically compete as a forward as well, winning 3 aerial duels as well as tracking back to make a couple of tackles. Nothing summed up his confidence better than when he won back possession in his own box following a Mönchengladbach corner and proceeded to nutmeg the player in front of him before lobbing a ball straight to Diaby on the halfway line. He was a constant menace to the home defence, constantly moving between the lines, either taking a single touch before making a purposeful pass or darting at an opposition player, as he looked to carry his team forwards. He managed couple of key passes today, really emphasising his creative touch. Havertz looks like one of the hottest talents in Europe right now, and with 8 Bundesliga goals in 2020 (only 2 fewer than Haaland, despite a lot of his game time being in midfield), it is easy to see why. I am convinced that he would be a brilliant signing for Chelsea, and with his age, leadership skills and versatility adding to his world class ability, he would fit right into Lampard’s side!

The 20 year old captained his side to a comfortable win, Photo credit: Liverpool Echo

This game was initially billed as a duel between Havertz and Thuram, and after a quiet first half, the Frenchman played his part in the showdown. His equaliser was a sumptuous half volley beyond Lukas Hradecky, and if he had scored a second a minute later after a brilliant run in the 53rd minute of the game, there could have been a very different outcome. He, like Havertz, managed a couple of key passes, one of which was a superb back heel to Neuhaus which should have led to a goal. His hold up play and strong dribbling were on show throughout, as he made two outstanding dribbles and consistently offered himself as a target for long clearances from Sommer. The reported €12 million Mönchengladbach paid for his services last summer looks a bargain, and having attracted attention from all of Europe’s elite following his 8 goals and 8 assists in his debut season in Germany, it looks like the forward could move on to bigger and better things soon.

Had the Frenchman netted a second when through on goal, the outcome of this match could have been very different, Photo credit: Marcus Thuram FaceBook

If you read my match report on Leverkusen’s previous game against a Bremen, you will know how highly I rate the 21 year old centre back Edmond Tapsoba. Having joined the club in January from the Liga Nos, he has taken no time to settle, and he continued his superb form today. Constantly shifting out to the right in order to track opposition danger man Thuram, it felt like a Tapsoba was always in the right place at the right time. His stunning 5 interceptions were often crucial, with Thuram otherwise set to go through on goal. One particular moment of brilliance came in the 70thminute as he tracked the Frenchman back before muscling him off the ball in a dangerous position. In the first half especially he kept his opponent quiet, with Thuram switching to the right flank after the break for a period of time. In fact Thuram netted his equaliser from the right, before moving back to the left flank and being pocketed by Tapsoba. It was not the young defender’s best day when it came to passing, his 65 completed passes not as impressive as his average of 102 league passes per game before today, but he still managed to complete a couple of nice long balls. However, it was clear that he had been given the specific task of shackling Thuram by manager Peter Bosz, and he completed this admirably. With Chelsea very vulnerable defensively this season, Tapsoba could be a bargain buy that fixes our defence.

An old head on wise shoulders, Tapsoba kept Thuram quiet for most of the game, Photo credit: Bundesliga

At times you would be forgiven for forgetting that Moussa Diaby was on the pitch. The French winger completed only 25 passes in the whole game, and at times seemed frustrated by his lack of action, receiving an unnecessary yellow card for dissent in the second half. He did manage to make a key pass and complete a couple of long balls, but this was a quiet day for one of Europe’s hottest young talents. His 9 goal contributions from 13 league starts speak for itself, and as a left footed young winger, he could be very desirable to Lampard and the Chelsea board. Aside from a few clever runs, this was not his day, but the hype surrounding Diaby continues to grow.

It was a frustrating day for the 20 year old winger, Photo credit: Football.London

The ball to set up Thuram’s equaliser was a thing of beauty, a wonderfully weighted ball that fell perfectly into the stride of the young Frenchman. It was his older compatriot who provided said ball, as Alassane Pléa made his first meaningful impact of the game. The 27 year old managed to complete a mere 13 passes all game as he, like Diaby, went under the radar. He could have finished the match with a couple of goals and an assist, however, with the free header from a few yards out his most glaring miss. His strong link up with Thuram was evident at times, the deadly duo have been the key to Mönchengladbach’s attack this season, but he didn’t have the look of a man who has better 9 times and assisted 8 in the league in 2019/20. Not in fitting with the age profile of Lampard’s squad, he is not a realistic transfer target, however he could make an interesting strike partner to Tammy Abraham if he did ever move to the Bridge, as he is usually both creative and clinical in equal measure.

A wonderful assist for Thuram’s equaliser was overshadowed by late misses, Photo credit:

With Chelsea linked with every left back under the sun this summer as the club look to address the glaring weakness in the squad, I kept an eye out for Ramy Bensebaini, the Algerian with five goals and an assist from left back in the league this season. Penned into his own half for much of the opening 45 minutes, he began to grow into the game after the break, driving his team towards goal. He attempted a surprising four shots, the most on his team, a dribble and a key pass as he bombed forwards whenever possible. Unlike Marcos Alonso, Chelsea’s left back come centre forward, Bensenbaini didn’t neglect his defensive duties, managing 4 tackles and interceptions in the game as he attempted to halt the sea of red shirts approaching his goal. He managed 48 passes as well, a lot of them with attacking intent as opposed to sideways and safe, the left back impressed and was probably his sides second best player after Thuram. The 25 year old is valued at just £8.55 million by transfermarkt and on today’s display he would be a very handy signing for Lampard’s side.

One of the home side’s star players, Photo credit: Daily Mail

Kepa Arrizabalaga has come into plenty of criticism with a series of lacklustre performances this season, even being dropped for 39 year old backup keeper Willy Caballero in February. The Spaniard’s woeful 55% save rate is the worst in the Premier League and has led many to question if there are better options available. The 31 year old between the sticks for Mönchengladbach, Yann Sommer, has proved himself to be one of Europe’s best shot stoppers this term, with his phenomenal 80.2% save rate roughly the same as Alisson Becker. Valued at £8.1 million, the veteran could be excellent option to compete with or even start ahead of Kepa. Today the Swiss international performed reasonably well, impressing with his feet by completing 10 of 14 attempted long balls, as well as looking comfortable when closed down by opposition players. He managed to get a hand to Havertz’s penalty and arguably should have kept it out given its height, but there was little he could do for the first or third goal.

The 31 year old got a hand to Havertz’s penalty, but couldn’t keep it out, Photo credit: Bundesliga

After a very entertaining game I hope I have brought to light a few potentially exciting signings for Chelsea this summer, with some outstanding talents on display today. With Chelsea back in training this week it is time to start getting excited about the Premier League’s return, so wherever you are keep safe and well and keep the blue flag flying high.

Written by Daniel New