The win for Frank Lampard’s side moves them up to third place in the league table despite a number of defensive issues arising again.
Christian Pulisic was yet again on the scoresheet for the Blues and provided more important contributions to prove his worth in Chelsea ’s attack. The American will be hoping to continue that sort of form until the end of the season after a season disrupted by injury.
However, the arrival of Timo Werner before the start of next season will lead to question marks over how Lampard lines up with both players in the side.
While Werner has played as a centre-forward at times for RB Leipzig and Germany, his strengths lay in being able to drift towards the left flank and look to penetrate the opposition’s defence with his pace.
As shown below, the German’s activity this season has illustrated how often he looks to drift into wider areas instead of staying centrally like Tammy Abraham.
As a result, those tendencies would most likely overlap with the work that Pulisic has done on the left this season. The prospect of playing both Werner and Pulisic together is perhaps a problematic one and it raises an interesting thought process.
Werner’s goal record in the Bundesliga this season – some 28 goals – suggests that he would be a suitable option through the middle. However, it would make little sense to change the way that the 24-year-old prefers to play and that could lead to Pulisic missing out.
The American would indeed feel hard done by if that proved to be the case when you consider his fantastic start to life in the Premier League. One way that the pair could play together is if Lampard decides to drastically change the tactical complexion of his side.
This season has seen Chelsea primarily use a 4-3-3 system with Pulisic off the left and Abraham through the middle. In order to accommodate both players alongside Werner, there would most likely need to be an adaptation of the system.
One way of doing that would be by playing a 4-2-2-2 system with Pulisic playing as more of an attacking midfielder and Werner in front as a left-sided forward partnering Abraham. While that would play to a number of strengths, such an intricate system takes time to evolve and reap the rewards.
Southampton are a side that have used that system to some success this season but the role of Pulisic in that set-up could prevent him playing with the freedom that he has this season.
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A total of eight goals in 1,554 minutes this season presents a very good return for Pulisic who has been one of Chelsea’s most impressive players in attack this season.
The selection headache that will play on the mind of Lampard next season is one that he would rather have than not. Choosing which world-class player to play or drop is a nice problem to have.
But Pulisic’s match-winning performance on Tuesday showed that he will give Lampard a difficult choice to make when Werner arrives.