Kai Havertz proved the star of the show this evening, as Chelsea got the better of Fulham to inch ever closer to a Champions League berth for next season.
Pensioners get the job done
Thomas Tuchel’s men were of course back in action a short time ago.
The Blues welcomed Fulham to Stamford Bridge, for a Premier League derby showdown.
Chelsea headed into proceedings aiming to take advantage of a slip-up on the part of Leicester City on Friday, to move within two points of the 3rd-placed Foxes.
And, when all was said and done in the capital, this is precisely what Tuchel and co. managed.
A brace on the part of Kai Havertz proved the difference at full-time, as the German again impressed when utilised from the off.
Havertz’s first came with just 10 minutes on the clock, as a long ball forward was wonderfully controlled by Mason Mount, who slipped Chelsea’s record signing in to slot confidently beyond Alphonse Areola.
— Angelo Mangiante (@angelomangiante) May 1, 2021
And Havertz was back at it again early in the 2nd-half, this time combining with fellow countryman Timo Werner.
Another classy piece of build-up play saw the former this time played in down the right, before cutting inside for Werner, who split Fulham’s backline for Havertz to pick out the bottom corner in style.
Ahead of their crunch showdown with Real Madrid during the week, Chelsea, in turn, now sit a full six points clear of 5th-placed West Ham in the Premier League table.
False 9 masterclass
On the back of the action coming to a close in west London, it has come as little surprise to see the name of one Blues star in particular grab the headlines.
The player in question? Kai Havertz.
German international Havertz has of course endured an altogether underwhelming debut campaign with Chelsea, on the back of his big-money summer arrival from Bayer Leverkusen.
Against Fulham, though, the 21-year-old showcased exactly why the board at Stamford Bridge signed off on his arrival in the first place.
Havertz, as has been the case on a number of occasions of late, was utilised in a ‘false 9’ role, a position which plays ideally to his many strengths.
When handed the freedom of dropping between the lines, the ex-Leverkusen standout showcases not only his ability to finish, but also link up play, and create.
This comes with Havertz in possession of a stellar combination of touch, composure, eye for a pass and, above all, intelligence.
His 2nd of the evening on Saturday proved a perfect example of such talents, as the German international controlled a lofted pass with effortless finesse, before dancing past the incoming defender, picking the right pass to Timo Werner, and bursting in behind.
From here, Havertz’s remarkable nonchalance in front of goal was too on display, as the attacker coolly slotted beyond the quickly advancing Areola.
Kai Havertz vs Fulham:
1 key pass
100% aerial duels won
Man of the Match. pic.twitter.com/68sPQ11G2S
— LDN (@LDNFootbalI) May 1, 2021
The season has of course now almost come to an end, but, on the back of standout displays versus all of Everton, Crystal Palace and now Fulham, it appears that ‘false 9’ Havertz may finally have found his position at Stamford Bridge.
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Premier League table
|1||Manchester City FC||34||47||80|
|2||Manchester United FC||33||29||67|
|3||Leicester City FC||34||22||63|
|5||West Ham United FC||33||10||55|
|7||Tottenham Hotspur FC||33||18||53|
|11||Aston Villa FC||32||9||45|
|12||Wolverhampton Wanderers FC||33||-13||41|
|13||Crystal Palace FC||33||-22||38|
|14||Brighton & Hove Albion FC||34||-4||37|
|17||Newcastle United FC||33||-18||36|
|19||West Bromwich Albion||33||-34||25|
|20||Sheffield United FC||33||-38||17|
|Kane, Harry||Tottenham Hotspur FC||21|
|Salah, Mohamed||Liverpool FC||20|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United FC||16|
|Son, Heung Min||Tottenham Hotspur FC||15|
|Calvert-Lewin, Dominic||Everton FC||15|
|Bamford, Patrick||Leeds United||14|
|Vardy, Jamie||Leicester City FC||13|
|Watkins, Ollie||Aston Villa FC||13|
|Lacazette, Alexandre||Arsenal FC||13|
|Gundogan, Ilkay||Manchester City FC||12|
|Rashford, Marcus||Manchester United FC||10|
|Wilson, Callum||Newcastle United FC||10|
|Ings, Danny||Southampton FC||10|
|Wood, Chris||Burnley FC||10|
|Zaha, Wilfried||Crystal Palace FC||10|
|Iheanacho, Kelechi||Leicester City FC||10|
|Sterling, Raheem||Manchester City FC||9|
|Pereira, Matheus||West Bromwich Albion||9|
|Mahrez, Riyad||Manchester City FC||9|
|Barnes, Harvey||Leicester City FC||9|
|Player||Team||Red Cards||Yellow Cards|
|Maguire, Harry||Manchester United FC||10|
|Gallagher, Conor||West Bromwich Albion||9|
|Milivojevic, Luka||Crystal Palace FC||1||8|
|Lundstram, John||Sheffield United FC||1||8|
|Luiz, Douglas||Aston Villa FC||8|
|Bellerin, Hector||Arsenal FC||8|
|Holgate, Mason||Everton FC||8|
|Hayden, Isaac||Newcastle United FC||8|
|Soucek, Tomas||West Ham United FC||1||6|
|McGoldrick, David||Sheffield United FC||7|
|McGinn, John||Aston Villa FC||7|
|Shaw, Luke||Manchester United FC||7|
|Neves, Ruben||Wolverhampton Wanderers FC||7|
|Reid, Bobby||Fulham FC||7|
|Evans, Jonny||Leicester City FC||7|
|Hojbjerg, Pierre||Tottenham Hotspur FC||7|
|Xhaka, Granit||Arsenal FC||1||6|
|Alioski, Ezgjan||Leeds United||7|
|Kante, N`Golo||Chelsea FC||7|
|Andersen, Joachim||Fulham FC||1||6|
|Kane, Harry||Tottenham Hotspur FC||13|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United FC||11|
|Grealish, Jack||Aston Villa FC||10|
|De Bruyne, Kevin||Manchester City FC||10|
|Son, Heung Min||Tottenham Hotspur FC||9|
|Rashford, Marcus||Manchester United FC||8|
|Vardy, Jamie||Leicester City FC||7|
|Werner, Timo||Chelsea FC||7|
|Cresswell, Aaron||West Ham United FC||7|
|Digne, Lucas||Everton FC||7|
|Bamford, Patrick||Leeds United||6|
|Sterling, Raheem||Manchester City FC||6|
|Pereira, Matheus||West Bromwich Albion||6|
|Ward-Prowse, James||Southampton FC||6|
|Mane, Sadio||Liverpool FC||6|
|Harrison, Jack||Leeds United||6|
|Neto, Pedro||Wolverhampton Wanderers FC||6|
|Gross, Pascal||Brighton & Hove Albion FC||6|
|Silva, Bernardo||Manchester City FC||6|