Timo Werner may not have set the world on fire in his debut season at Chelsea, but he is the player Pep Guardiola should be worried about ahead of the Champions League final against Man City.
In fact, talkSPORT experts say the City boss may have to change his squad to keep the German speedster at bay in Porto.
City are favorites heading into Saturday’s all-English season final, with a possible hat-trick within their grasp following Premier League and Carabao Cup successes this quarter.
Chelsea had seemed a real danger for City with the Blues enjoying an impressive resurgence under Thomas Tuchel, only for the German side to lose their sting in the final weeks of the campaign by losing the FA Cup final and three of their last four league games. in the countryside.
Many deregistered the London club ahead of the battle for European glory in Portugal, but former city manager Stuart Pearce warned his former club there was every reason to be wary of Tuchel’s side .
And there is one man in particular who experts say could pose the greatest danger in City’s long quest to become European champions.
“I think Timo Werner will be the key tonight,” Pearce said at the weekend sports breakfast.
It hasn’t been a first year as a Chelsea player for Werner.
The player himself admitted he had had the ‘most unlucky’ season of his entire career, with the forward scoring 12 goals but the stats [expected goals] showing that he should have had at least 20.
Fans, and undoubtedly his manager, have been frustrated by his apparent inability to stay in play, but there is no doubt about the overall threat he brings to the Blues’ attack.
Although his goal production may be below par, his total of 15 assists is above average for a center-forward, and the German has been praised for his character, for keeping his head up and keeping trying. for his team despite his personal disappointment.
“I’m a big fan of Werner,” said former Arsenal winger Perry Groves.
“He’s in single digits for Premier League goals [six] but when he is in the team, the other players play better because of him.
“I think you judge the players when things aren’t going very well for them, their character, and he never hides. He always tries to put himself in the right positions.
“Oh he just keeps running,” added Jason Cundy, sports bar host and former Chelsea defender.
“You can’t blame him for the effort, he’s A + for the effort.”
Pearce has opened up about how Werner – despite his skeptics – can hurt City, with Groves saying it would be so boring that Guardiola might be forced to rethink his back line.
“He’s better suited on the counter attack because of his pace to get behind,” said Pearce.
“When you’re at Chelsea there are a lot of teams in the Premier League that won’t allow you that space behind, but I’m going to tell you one side that probably could – Manchester City.
“City are coming on you, they will attack and bring you the game, so it could be a game where Chelsea need that exit if they start and run behind.
“In the game at Wembley [Chelsea’s FA Cup semi-final win over City – one of Tuchel’s two wins over Guardiola this season] his threat was a massive weapon for Chelsea.
“I think Pep will be concerned about Werner’s pace,” Groves said.
“I think he could play Kyle Walker as one of the three middle halfs because of Werner’s pace – He’s always looking to fall behind, he’s stretching the opposition.
“He will be a danger to Man City.”
Any Tony Cascarino believes he has the opportunity to relaunch his career at Chelsea and become an instant hero with a goal against City.
“Timo Werner was not even mentioned by anyone,” said the former Chelsea striker.
“He had a somewhat indifferent season, he did not score the number of goals expected of him.
“Can he make a name for himself in this final?” Imagine that. From the guy we haven’t really talked about, he has the opportunity to really relaunch his career at Chelsea.
The Champions League final is LIVE on talkSPORT on Saturday, May 29, kicking off at 8 p.m.
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