3 Chelsea players that could benefit from the absence of Lukaku and Timo Werner
Chelsea beat Malmo 4-0 at Stamford Bridge in what was an entertaining Champions League match. However, the celebrations were marred by the ankle and hamstring injuries suffered by Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner respectively.
Romelu Lukaku twisted his ankle in the match against Malmo (Photo credit: Football.London)
In recent weeks both strikers have been named in Chelsea’s starting lineup, therefore, their absence is an opportunity for two others to step up and stake a claim to their starting positions. Below are the 3 Chelsea players that are likely to seize that opportunity just as Ruben Loftus-Cheek did in the absence of Jorginho.
1) Callum Hudson-Odoi
Hudson-Odoi has failed to leave up to expectation but judging by his last 2 appearances where he played in the front 3, I have the feeling he is about to turn a corner. The difference for me is he seems to be believing in himself once again.
When it appeared he lacked belief he would pass back rather than try to run past defenders. However, that has not been the case recently. In the first half against Southampton just before the last International break, he played more forward passes and always looked to run past defenders at every given opportunity.
He would have had an assist in that game if Werner’s goal wasn’t disallowed by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR). That change in attitude was what led to him assisting Kai Havertz’s goal against Malmo. If he continues like that I don’t think Thomas Tuchel will continue to play him out of position.
2) Kai Havertz
Havertz has not started for Chelsea since after the defeat to Juventus. However, the absence of Werner and Lukaku could bring an end to that as he is their only other player who can play in the center forward position.
He is not a target man or a runner like Lukaku and Werner respectively, but last season showed he can be effective in that position. He already has one goal since their injuries as he scored after coming on against Malmo. If Chelsea doesn’t miss both players it will be because of the German international.
3) Hakim Ziyech
Ziyech has not been able to get back into the team since returning from the injury he suffered just before the beginning of the season. With Mason Mount playing on the right-wing and Christian Pulisic out with an injury, the left-wing position is a battle between him and Hudson-Odoi.
If he can rediscover the kind of form he showed during the preseason, there is no doubt he will be in the team as he has the qualities that can make him Chelsea’s best playmaker. Unfortunately, it hasn’t happened for him at Chelsea. It is almost similar to what happened to Mohamed Salah when he was a Chelsea player.