Timo Werner shows hint of Chelsea future as West Ham win boosts Champions League chances

West Ham v Chelsea: Match in pictures

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Timo Werner’s performance in Chelsea’s 1-0 win over West Ham summed up the frustration fans are feeling with the striker during his debut Premier League campaign. Werner came up with the goods when it counted as he fired Thomas Tuchel’s side into the lead against the Hammers – and then missed a glorious chance to double his side’s lead as the race for Champions League qualification intensifies.

Prior to the London Stadium clash, the German striker had scored just one goal in 22 Premier League outings, but he ended his drought in style to provide a huge boost to Chelsea’s top-four chances.

Going into Sunday’s showdown, Chelsea and West Ham were locked together on 55 points as the battle to qualify for Europe’s top club competition headed into the final six games of the season.

David Moyes’ side have done superbly well to get themselves firmly in contention at the business end of the season, and they produced a discipined performance against their London rivals.

But just as the first half looked as though it would end goalless, Werner fired home from a Ben Chilwell cross to break the deadlock, with his movement having played an important part in the build-up.

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It seemed like the perfect moment for Werner to start paying back his £47million transfer fee, with a goal that could prove crucial towards achieving Chelsea’s key aim of the season.

Plenty of observers have been saying throughout the season that once Werner clicks and snaps his poor scoring run, the goals will come.

But the 25-year-old’s frustrating season was typified early in the second half when he had a chance to double his side’s lead – and fired wide with the goal gaping.

Werner again did well midway through the second half when he ran in behind the Hammers defence and carved out an opening, before shooting straight at keeper Lukasz Fabianski.

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Rotation aside, Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has largely kept faith with Werner despite his minimal goals return this season.

His movement and pace caused West Ham problems on Saturday, and his first-half strike was a glimpse of why the club were so keen to land him from RB Leipzig following his 34 goals for the Bundesliga club last season.

Everyone connected with Chelsea will now hope Werner can continue to find his feet, with a two-legged Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid sandwiching a London derby against Fulham and followed by huge games against Manchester City and Arsenal.

Chelsea’s success since Tuchel took charge has been built on solid defence, and so it proved again on Saturday as they shut out West Ham following Werner’s opener.

But if Werner can nail his finishing and start to produce the goods on a more regular basis, the Stamford Bridge side’s steady progression could see them become ever more genuine challengers for the top titles both domestically and in Europe.

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