Chelsea have dropped the biggest hint yet that Timo Werner will be starting in the FA Cup semi-final against Crystal Palace despite recent Romelu Lukaku developments.
A few weeks ago, who would be starting in the front three for the Blues would always be an easy question to answer. Kai Havertz would have been spearheading the front three with two of Christian Pulisic, Mason Mount and Hakim Ziyech operating on the wings. However, the form of Werner in the last two games has suddenly thrown a spanner in the works and now has left manager Thomas Tuchel in a tricky situation.
Three goals scored against Southampton and Real Madrid respectively have finally given Chelsea fans a glimpse of the player they thought they had signed two summer transfer windows ago when Marina Granovskaia activated the £47.5million RB Leipzig release clause. Performances that hadn’t only impressed the manager himself but also the usually critical Rio Ferdinand and Joe Cole who have been doubters of the Blues’ No.11 like many other pundits during his English stay to date.
“We talked up Timo Werner following the weekend, and he hit the woodwork about three times that day, so he has found that little bit of confidence and in this game, he didn’t look like a player who had only played a few games over the past couple of months,” Ferdinand said on BT Sport after the Real Madrid clash. “I thought he was very bright today, and I’m sure he has come in and done exactly what Thomas Tuchel asked him to do. He stretched them, was bold and was busy, and he got his goal and an assist.”
Cole then added: “It is credit to his personality that he can come on and do this because we have seen his attacking in the first leg and have seen him fluff his lines, but this leg, no Chelsea fan will be able to hold a grudge against him because he works his socks off, and this was as good as I have ever seen him in a Chelsea shirt this evening.” Momentum is the key and with the 26-year-old arguably in the form of his Chelsea career at the moment, dropping him to the bench for the upcoming Palace clash would seem a little surprising.
The same front three of Werner, Mount and Havertz would probably be the preferred front three amongst the majority of the fanbase but Lukaku’s return has complicated this. According to The Sun, Chelsea’s club-record signing has returned to training in time for the Palace affair and could play at Wembley this weekend.
Whether or not the Belgian starts alongside Werner or at the expense of the versatile forward remains to be seen, but Chelsea have dropped a telling hint on social media. The club tweeted a graphic ahead of the London derby FA Cup semi-final featuring Werner with the caption: “Attention turns to the Emirates FA Cup.”