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How two Chelsea flops are playing key roles at Arsenal and Tottenham

Not since the days of Diego Costa did Chelsea last boast a prolific goalscorer capable of striking fear into the opposition, with the number nine shirt famously cursed at Stamford Bridge.

However, Chelsea went shopping in the Bundesliga in 2020 and returned with Timo Werner and Kai Havertz – crown jewels of the German top flight at the time.

Werner was tearing it up at RB Leipzig and had established himself as one of the most formidable strikers on the planet, terrorising defences with his incredible pace and finishing.

Havertz was also stealing the spotlight at Bayer Leverkusen, earning praise as the finest prodigy on the block and drawing comparisons to German legends such as Michael Ballack.

Before arriving in the Premier League, Werner and Havertz bagged 34 and 18 goals in all competitions, respectively, but they failed to replicate that goalscoring prowess in the Premier League.

Werner returned a meagre 23 goals in 89 appearances in two seasons, missing more big chances than he converted before returning to Leipzig at the start of the 2022/23 campaign. 

Havertz, who spent three years at Stamford Bridge, netted just 32 goals in 139 games for Chelsea before following his countryman through the exit door at the start of this season.

While their goalscoring form cast a shadow, the German duo didn’t leave Chelsea empty-handed, winning three major titles, including the Champions League.

Rewriting their Premier League chapters

After struggling to recapture his goalscoring form at Leipzig, Werner was on the fringes before Tottenham Hotspur handed him a lifeline to redeem his Premier League career after his Chelsea adventure.

The 28-year-old, who was adored by the Chelsea fans despite his struggles in the final third, joined Spurs on loan in January to mitigate their crippling injury problems in attack.

Doubts lingered about his ability to perform, but Werner is already playing a key role in Tottenham’s top-four pursuit, bagging two goals and two assists in seven Premier League games.

His latest strike came in the 4-0 humbling of top-four rivals Aston Villa, getting on the scoresheet just seven minutes after replacing James Maddison in the 87th minute.

For a player who struggled for consistency at Chelsea, Ange Postecoglou’s fast-paced attacking system seems to suit the German, although expectations are considerably lower at Spurs.

Werner’s contributions to Spurs transcend goals, with only Dejan Kulusevski (1.7) completing more dribbles per 90 than him (1.5) in the league.

The German has made a solid start to life back in London and will undoubtedly play a crucial role in Tottenham’s top-four battle.

His compatriot is having an identical effect at Arsenal.

The Gunners raised plenty of eyebrows when they forked out £60 million to sign Havertz, particularly after a disappointing season where he netted just seven times in 35 Premier League games.

He never crossed the ten-goal threshold during his entire three-year stay at Chelsea. His best tally was in the 2021/22 season when he tallied eight goals and four assists in 29 Premier League games.

However, after shaking off a rusty start to life at the Emirates Stadium, Havertz has become an indispensable part of Mikel Arteta’s starting line-up.

He has already matched his best single-season tally for Chelsea with ten games remaining and is on course to hit the ten-goal mark for the first time in his Premier League career.

Havertz has also popped up with some clutch goals for Arsenal this season, most recently against Brentford when his last-gasp header sent them top of the table, taking charge of the title race.

Arteta promised to get the best out of Havertz, and he may have finally unlocked his potential with ‘the silky German’ now ahead of Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah in the pecking order.

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