Paul Merson believes Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel needs to drop Timo Werner for the Champions League final against Manchester City later this month.
Werner has struggled in his first season in England, but he headed home the first goal against Real Madrid. It looked like being the deciding goal until Mason Mount scored to send Chelsea through to the final 3-1 on aggregate. The speedy German striker has retained the support of Tuchel, despite his lack of goals. Werner has just six Premier League goals to his name after arriving for £50m last summer.
Werner predictably got the nod to start in both games against Madrid, but was hooked on 66 minutes in both legs. And the man who replaced him on Wednesday, Christian Pulisic, is the player Merson would start against City.
“Timo Werner scored a big goal for Chelsea against Real Madrid. But he shouldn’t play in the Champions League final,” Merson told the Daily Star.
“Christian Pulisic should start against Manchester City – because he is a better finisher. I’d be shocked if Pulisic doesn’t play. He can beat two or three players and he’s better in front of goal than Werner.
“I would play him against City this weekend and see how it goes. You won’t get 10 shots a game against City, so you have to play your best finishers.”
Former Arsenal star Merson believes Pulisic’s impact from the bench against Madrid should be enough to earn him a start in the final.
“Werner did well against Real Madrid. He’s a handful and he just keeps going and going. But Pulisic was unlucky not to play after scoring in the first leg, and when he came on he made a big difference,” added Merson.
“What he did to set up Mason Mount for the killer goal, checking his run and cutting it back, I don’t see Werner doing that in a month of Sundays.
Werner offside goal was ‘poor’
“He doesn’t have that kind of composure. He would have smashed it across goal, probably without even looking, and the chance would have gone.
“Werner scored a good goal. You can say it was an easy finish from such close range, but you have to anticipate and be in the right place to do it.
“He was the only one there. That’s not luck. It’s anticipation. The sort of thing Gary Lineker was so good at.
“It was a good goal. The problem is the first one he had disallowed for offside. He must have known he was off. That was poor.
“If you saw that in an Under 15s game you would think: ‘Hmm, I’m not sure about him. He shouldn’t have gone there.’ But he’s not an U15, he’s £50m player!”