Chelsea verdict: Timo Werner proves he has important role to play alongside Lukaku amid recent transfer links

TIMO WERNER was all smiles at the final whistle as he repaid Thomas Tuchel's faith with a fine display against Southampton.

The forward struck with five minutes to go to put Chelsea 2-1 up before Ben Chilwell sealed the three points minutes later.



Werner could have been forgiven for letting his head drop however as his first-half header was ruled out by VAR.

He was also denied by Alex McCarthy twice, with the Saints goalkeeper brilliantly stopping the German from close range in the second half.

And though Tuchel will be delighted with Werner's determination and finishing instinct, the forward's all-round display will make his manager feel vindicated in his team selection.

Werner was perhaps a surprise inclusion after he failed to work with Romelu Lukaku in last week's defeat to Manchester City.

But he showed why he deserves to start as he caused problems with his pace down Southampton's left throughout the match.

Perhaps more importantly, his inclusion also benefitted Lukaku and got Chelsea's attack firing – just as Tuchel had hoped to do after suffering back to back defeats.

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Werner's movement created space for the Belgian and the pair showed signs of an emerging partnership.

And if Werner's final ball had been better he could have provided Lukaku with several scoring chances in the first half.

Likewise, Lukaku drew Saints defenders towards him with his hold-up play and once Cesar Azpilicueta was given freedom to roam, Werner was unleashed.

He moved more centrally and combined with the Spaniard to tap home from inside the six-yard box – and his relief at getting a goal was clear to see on his face.

With Reece James to return from injury Werner could be even more dangerous on the right flank, and Tuchel may have found his ideal pairing after experimenting with a number of options so far this campaign.

Werner still has work to do to improve his composure in front of goal but his first of the season will surely provide him with a much-needed confidence boost.

And if Werner helps to get the best out of Lukaku – which Antonio Conte claimed Chelsea have failed to do so far – then he will solve multiple conundrums for his manager.

Speculation this week had linked Werner with a move back to Germany.

Werner was reportedly considering his future after growing concerned about a lack of game time due to Lukaku's arrival.

But his match-winning display against Saints shows there is a role for him alongside the Belgian in attack, and his popularity amongst the Stamford Bridge faithful means he can still carve out a successful career in west London.

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