Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel still has January transfer problem after Burnley draw


Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel punched the air in delight when his side opened the scoring against Burnley in what proved to be the only goal of the game. But there must have been a great sense of relief for the German, rather than jubilation, as he celebrated on the touchline.

How things can change so dramatically over the course of 90 minutes. 

When Kai Havertz found himself unmarked in the middle, there were few people you would rather have on the right supplying the cross than the in-form Reece James.

The 22-year-old whipped a sensational cross and Havertz only had to guide it into the corner with his head to hand Chelsea the lead.

That goal was Havertz’s first in the league since August when he netted another header against Liverpool in a 1-1 draw at Anfield.

And while goals in the Champions League against Malmo have followed, there is a feeling the German is not feeling too confident on front of goal after missing an array of chances in the return fixture in midweek.

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All the while, Havertz and Hakim Ziyech have struggled to make an impact. Christian Pulisic has been absent since the opening day, highlighting the Blues’ issues in attacking numbers.

In the absence of Lukaku and injured Timo Werner, this was the Havertz’s chance to shine and he took full advantage.

He held up the ball like a target man, something not many would associate with a player of Havertz’s style. He is more of deep-lying forward, helping link the attack and midfield.

But against Burnley, Sean Dyche’s men failed to cope with his direct runs in behind and the way he met James’ cross in behind James Tarkowski was a delight to observe.

The £72m signing from Bayer Leverkusen endured a difficult first season in England, scoring only four times in the league and registering three assists.

He also spent some time on the sidelines after being badly affected by the coronavirus when contracting the virus in December.

But now, fit and firing, Chelsea have found the man to spearhead their attack — at least for the time being. Lukaku and Werner are not long-term absentees and will no doubt win their places back in the side when they are fully recovered.

Tuchel had challenged Havertz to earn his place in the team after admitting his form was not up to their expected standard back in October.

“That’s a fact,” he responded, when asked about Havertz’ barren run of form.

“He does everything to reach his level again and we will do everything to help him.

“He is an important player for our squad and it will be like this at the moment.

“He had many games to start with, he started strong in the season. He was very strong in pre-season. The story has not changed.

“But he lacks, as simple as that, the statistics of decisive things, of goals and assists and he needs to fight his way back into the team.”

The shy, timid character that arrived in England has transformed into a battling ram up front, fighting for every ball and every lost cause.

With this display, Havertz showed he can be the striker that Tuchel has been crying out for, even if he can be more clinical in front of goal.

But more performances of this kind from Havertz will show his manager and the Chelsea fans that he can be the star man the club invested a record fee to sign.

However, Chelsea must find their clinical edge in front of goal again after missing a host of chances against Burnley.

And if Havertz and co. don’t solve them soon, Tuchel may be forced to act in January by axing his flops.



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