Has Tuchel found Chelsea’s ultimate false nine in Kai Havertz?


hen Thomas Tuchel was asked recently to describe his perfect No9, he thought it was a trick question.

Ahead of a summer when Chelsea hope to win the race for Erling Haaland, he did not want to fuel speculation about the club’s transfer plans. He then proceeded to wax lyrical about Lionel Messi.

His point was that Barcelona took a unique talent and created a system that turned him into the deadliest player on the planet. Messi was the ultimate false No9.

The German’s struggles in English football have hung over the club all season and contributed to Frank Lampard’s sacking in January.

Tuchel was charged with the responsibility of tapping the potential that made Barcelona and Real Madrid both covet the former Bayer Leverkusen playmaker. And Havertz’ imperious performance in this 2-0 win against Everton was evidence that he can be the focal point of Chelsea’s attack.

The balance up front still needs work, with Timo Werner taking a step back after his impressive performance against Liverpool last week as he was guilty of twice failing to convert when one-on-one with Jordan Pickford.

Werner missed two great chances

/ Getty Images

But Tuchel has found Havertz’s most effective role and it is now a case of building a side around that.

The £71million signing was at the heart of most of what was good about Chelsea as they extended their unbeaten run to 11 games under Tuchel and opened up a four-point gap on top four rivals Everton.

He dropped deep to pick up the ball and link play – and broke the lines with his forward runs that led to both of Chelsea’s goals and saw another ruled out for handball.

Havertz on song

/ Getty Images

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