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Chelsea’s win over Crystal Palace proves Kai Havertz must work for his place

Chelsea’s win over Crystal Palace proves Kai Havertz must work for his place

There are few fans – Chelsea or neutral alike – who would claim that Kai Havertz is not an incredibly gifted footballer.

The dynamic German attacking midfielder has already had a considerable impact at Chelsea since his big-money move last summer, having helped the club net both a Champions League win and a Super Cup triumph in just 12-months.

Havertz, and fellow German international Timo Werner, both came to Chelsea with the intent of winning major honors, and though that goal has already been achieved, Havertz’s place in Thomas Tuchel’s team is hardly guaranteed.

Part of that is perhaps the nature of playing for Chelsea, a club that is willing to spend freely to compete at the top level of the domestic and European game. This was put on display once again this summer, when they acquired former Blues forward and current Belgian icon Romelu Lukaku for £97million, in a return to Stamford Bridge amidst a Santa Clause bottomless bag of expectations.

Chelsea’s win over Crystal Palace proves Kai Havertz must work for his place

LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 01: Kai Havertz of Chelsea celebrates after scoring their team’s second goal during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Fulham at Stamford Bridge on May 01, 2021 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Chris Lee – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

And it is that very acquisition that immediately puts Havertz under the microscope regarding a need to push for minutes and prove himself, despite his successful record in major finals for Chelsea, which included a goal against Manchester City in the Champions League final, and an assist in the recent Super Cup win over Villarreal.

But Lukaku is sure to start against Arsenal next Sunday at the Emirates, ruling the Aachen-native out of operating through the center-forward channel. Additionally, the faith continuously – and justifiably – placed in academy product Mason Mount likely rules out at least one of the attacking midfield berths. Christian Pulisic’s goal this afternoon in Chelsea’s 3-0 win against Crystal Palace could put the American starlet in contention to start with Mount once again versus Arsenal, flanking Lukaku, which also relegates Timo Werner to the bench.

The wealth of attacking options at Stamford Bridge, which too includes the currently injured Hakim Ziyech, who was so impressive this pre-season, presents another potential selection obstacle for the former Die Werkself wunderkind. And for the first time in his club career, Havertz will truly be made to fight for minutes amongst a very talented – and deep – attacking unit.

At the very least, with a tactician like Tuchel at the helm, there will always be the possibility that the German tinkerman will tweak his selections based on opponent, need for rotation, and form. It is very easy to suggest that someone like Pulisic could fire hot and cold yet again, opening an avenue for selection. But as it currently stands, it is hard to look at Chelsea’s squad and suggest that Kai Havertz is one of the first names on the team sheet. Perhaps, that pressure could get the very best out of a player who remains one of the brightest young talents in Europe.

This article was edited by Conor Laird.

Chelsea betting odds, next game:

Watford vs Chelsea odds: result, both teams to score, correct score & goalscorers

Watford vs Chelsea Full time result
Watford vs Chelsea Result/Both teams score Yes No
Watford 16/1 14/1
Chelsea 11/5
Draw 13/2 12/1
Watford vs Chelsea Correct Score
Watford vs Chelsea Goalscorers First Last Anytime
Romelu Lukaku7/5 7/5 4/6
Kai Havertz9/4 9/4 21/20
Callum Hudson-Odoi10/3 10/3 7/5
Hakim Ziyech10/3 10/3 7/5
Timo Werner10/3 10/3 7/5

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Chelsea FC 13 26 30
2 Manchester City 13 20 29
3 Liverpool FC 13 28 28
4 West Ham United 13 8 23
5 Arsenal FC 13 -2 23
6 Wolverhampton Wanderers 13 0 20
7 Tottenham Hotspur 12 -6 19
8 Manchester United 13 -1 18
9 Brighton & Hove Albion 13 -2 18
10 Leicester City 13 -3 18
11 Crystal Palace 13 0 16
12 Brentford FC 13 0 16
13 Aston Villa 13 -3 16
14 Everton FC 13 -4 15
15 Southampton FC 13 -7 14
16 Watford FC 13 -6 13
17 Leeds United 13 -8 12
18 Burnley FC 12 -6 9
19 Norwich City 13 -20 9
20 Newcastle United 13 -14 6

Premier League 21/22

Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 11
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 9
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 7
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 7
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 6
Raphinha Leeds United 6
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford FC 5
King, Joshua Watford FC 5
Pukki, Teemu Norwich City 5
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United 5
Cornet, Maxwel Burnley FC 5
Sarr, Ismaila Watford FC 5
James, Reece Chelsea FC 4
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 4
Gallagher, Conor Crystal Palace 4
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 4
Toney, Ivan Brentford FC 4
Smith-Rowe, Emile Arsenal FC 4
Benteke, Christian Crystal Palace 4
Aubameyang, Pierre-Emerick Arsenal FC 4