Chelsea should forget Haaland for now as Havertz shows promise up top


on’t let the score line fool you, Chelsea are growing as an attacking force under Thomas Tuchel – even if a goalless draw against Leeds cost them the chance to move up to third in the Premier League.

While that frustrated their manager on the touchline – with the German engaging in a row with Leeds’ sporting director Victor Orta at one point and berating a number of his own players as tensions grew – this could have been a very different story.

Add Erling Haaland, for instance, to this team and Chelsea would have walked away handsome winners.

That lack of cutting edge remains the biggest issue for Tuchel in the race for top four and his hopes of delivering silverware this season.

Kai Havertz moved from a false No9 to an orthodox centre forward and produced a performance full of attacking threat. His intelligent movement exposed gaps in the Leeds defence and saw him hit the target on four separate occasions.

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Tuchel would have every right to expect one of those to hit the back of the net. But Havertz is not a No9.

Put unused substitute Olivier Giroud in the same position and Chelsea might expect at least one goal. Likewise, the injured Tammy Abraham. Put Haaland there and he would likely walk away with the match ball.

Yet, goals aside, this was about as dangerous as any centre forward has looked under Tuchel. Havertz’ runs consistently put himself in goal-scoring positions. His link-up play was impressive, too. It was his finishing that let him down.

Still, this was further evidence of Chelsea growing as an attacking prospect – coming on the back of Monday’s win against Everton when Jordan Pickford was forced into more saves than any opposition goalkeeper this season.

The question is how long Tuchel sticks with his Havertz project.

“He is pretty much a number nine because he likes to be high and not necessarily drop to 10 and turn,” said the Chelsea manager. “He loves to be high and arrive in the box. He loves to be there and have the last touch. This is for me why he played number nine today.”

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