Timo Werner, Chelsea and Numbers That Lie


Not solely are his probabilities rarer, although, they’re additionally decrease high quality, in keeping with Gracenote’s evaluation. But, on the similar time, he has seen a slight uptick within the variety of probabilities he’s creating: an help each 331 minutes in England versus one each 340 minutes within the Bundesliga.

None of those, in fact, quantities to a smoking gun, a single stunning statistic that proves, in a single fell swoop, that Timo Werner has been the signing of the season. They don’t contradict the concept that he has been sapped of his confidence — although maybe it’s beginning to return below Chelsea’s new coach, Thomas Tuchel — or that his first few months in England have been irritating and arduous.

The numbers don’t inform the entire story, however they’re a reminder that maybe the speedy judgment of the attention will be flawed, too. A few weeks in the past, on a bitterly chilly evening in Sheffield, Werner spent virtually the whole recreation making the identical run, repeatedly.

He picked out Chris Basham, the Sheffield United defender, his mark for the night. He lingered a few ft in entrance of him: shut sufficient to sense, not fairly shut sufficient to the touch. He waited. He danced in anticipation. And as quickly because the ball fell to one in every of his teammates, he made his transfer: burning previous Basham at an angle, slicing from the left-hand facet of the sector to the middle, bearing down on the penalty space.

For some time, it had no tangible affect. There was a cross that didn’t fairly come off, a shot that was cleared from the road. After which, simply earlier than halftime, Werner received his reward. Ben Chilwell picked out his run from deep: He knew the place he was going to be. Werner skated previous Basham, floundering now, to the nook of the penalty space, and crossed, low, for Mason Mount to crash the ball residence.

It will have been simple to miss all of the work that went into that second. A lot of it could not even have been famous in all however the deepest statistical evaluation. However then a lot of what constitutes soccer goes unseen: a ahead pulling and stretching a again line, softening up a defender, priming them for the coup de grâce. The attention and the spreadsheet generally inform totally different, equally legitimate, tales. However there are occasions, too, when neither and each fairly seize the entire.

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