Football Features

Newcastle 0-2 Chelsea: Timo and Tammy steal the show on Tyneside to take Blues top of the table

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 14:41, 21 November 2020

In a straightforward afternoon of football, Chelsea beat Newcastle 0-2 at St. James’ Park to go top of the Premier League.

Chelsea’s win wasn’t the most comfortable, and they rode their luck defensively at times, but the highlight of the afternoon was undoubtedly the bubbling partnership of Timo Werner and Tammy Abraham in attack.

The pair linked up for Chelsea’s second goal as well as all their best chances on the day, and it points the way for Chelsea’s success and prosperity in the vast majority of games over the course of the season.

Sure, in the very biggest of games Chelsea might want to add an extra midfielder and play with Werner at the head of attack. Bring Christian Pulisic into the XI and play on the break, but that approach is unlikely to work against most teams.

Because most teams, when faced with Chelsea’s star-studded attack, will retreat and defend deep like Newcastle. And when that happens, Werner struggles at the head of the side.

As Julian Nagelsmann said of potentially missing Werner in the Champions League last season when the German decided to join Chelsea early: “Atletico wouldn’t have been the best opponents for Timo Werner because there is not a lot of space behind the defensive line.”

Werner is lightning when running at teams, but struggles with his back to goal. So you turn to someone else. Olivier Giroud is an option, of course, and there’s few players in the world who can play link-man as well as him.

Frank Lampard, however, is clearly turning to Tammy Abraham. The 23-year-old Chelsea youth product who bagged 18 goals across all competitions for the Blues last season. Abraham is obviously an immense talent, but seemed to get lost in the shuffle a bit.

Not so now he has Werner to play with. Hakim Ziyech too, but although the Moroccan is part of the front three he obviously drops deep to play a more creative role whilst Werner and Abraham lead the line.

The two are the perfect pair, because whilst Abraham can lead the line with aplomb he is actually mobile enough to (somewhat) run with Werner, whereas Giroud obviously doesn’t have that.

But the key is Abraham as the fixed point ahead the team. He is the reference that occupies defenders and allows Werner to run from deep. Today Chelsea could cross it for Abraham, or they could find Werner with balls in behind.

The German had a couple of great chances to score against Newcastle, one where he directly ran off Abraham and the space he created. The German missed, but he only had the chance because of his link with Tammy – who created the joint-most chances in the game.

You can’t stop Werner, though. The German is well and truly in the groove right now and his run for the second goal showed that. Picking the ball up deep he scorched through Newcastle like a hot knife through butter before brilliantly laying the ball off for Abraham to slap home.

That strike made it three goals in as many games for Tammy, and 11 direct goal involvements in his last 10 appearances for Werner. The German has really hit his stride but it’s Tammy Abraham that’s going to unlock his ability to be productive across the long slog of a whole season, especially when teams do as Julian Nagelsmann warned and deny him space in behind.

Chelsea are now top of the league, 12 games unbeaten and looking like genuine title contenders. And it’s all thanks to Timo and Tammy, Chelsea’s golden goalscoring duo.