Football News

“The way forward” – Kai Havertz offers signs of encouragement up front as Chelsea end losing Premier League streak

By Harry Edwards

Published: 19:43, 27 December 2022

Kai Havertz is the way forward for Chelsea, according to Joe Cole, after he scored and assisted in the Blues’ 2-0 win over Bournemouth on Tuesday evening.

Chelsea have struggled up front this season with summer arrival Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang becoming the latest victim of the club’s No.9 curse, scoring just three goals in 13 appearances across all competitions. There was so hope that Armando Broja would take over once the Premier League returned but the Albanian suffered a season-ending injury in a friendly against Aston Villa during the World Cup break.

Also during the break Chelsea were linked with a January move for Cristiano Ronaldo after he left Manchester United, having already been tipped to sign the Portuguese forward in the summer as part of Todd Boehly’s plans to improve the club’s marketing. But Ronaldo appears to be on his way to Saudi Arabia, which left Havertz as the main option for Chelsea’s return against Bournemouth on Tuesday.

Havertz himself hasn’t had the greatest of seasons so far for Chelsea, or career in general aside from a few big moments including the Champions League-winning goal in 2021. The more popular choice as Chelsea’s central man this season, the German has scored just four goals in 20 games across all competitions for the Blues and fans’ patience has started to run out.

To add to the frustration, Havertz has enjoyed hi time with the German national team, scoring twice in a 3-3 draw against England in the Nations League at Wembley and adding another two vs Costa Rica at the World Cup. The question was, could he finally carry that over to Chelsea?

It’s very early doors post-World Cup, and his season won’t be made or broken by one game against Bournemouth, but Havertz gave reason for Graham Potter and Chelsea fans to be encouraged.

Chelsea were on top pretty much from the start and had tested Bournemouth a few times before opening the scoring, and it was Havertz who got the ball rolling. The moved was quick from Chelsea and Raheem Sterling played a first-time cross wonderfully towards the far post where Havertz slid in to claim his fourth Premier League goal of the season – more than any other Blues player.

Less than 10 minutes later, Chelsea went 2-0 up and Havertz was involved once again. This time it was the German who played the ball outside the box to Mason Mount for the Englishman to curl into the bottom corner, showing decent awareness of his teammate’s position when he himself was crowded in the box.

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But Havertz was about more than just the goal and assist. It was perhaps Havertz’s best all-round performance for Chelsea in quite some time, even if he tailed off with the rest of his teammates in the second half (though that is more down to the tactics and deflation following Reece James’ injury).

Havertz ended the game with the joint-most shots, more touches in the opposition box than any other player, but also four clearances with only Thiago Silva (six) managing more among the Chelsea player. And former Chelsea winger Joe Cole believes Potter’s bold decision to start Havertz paid off.

“He’s a very good guy. We want him to be more mean, we want him to do what he did today, break your neck to get into those positions to score goals – like he did for the first one,” Cole said on Amazon Prime.

“I thought he led the line, I thought he was excellent tonight, a goal and an assist. I think that was a real bold decision from Graham Potter. You’ve got Aubameyang on the bench, a proven goalscorer, he’s gone with Kai Havertz, I think that’s the way forward for Chelsea.”

The win saw Chelsea end a three-match losing streak in the Premier League, avoiding what would have been their worst run in the competition since 1998 when they lost four in a row.