Kai Havertz has had a tricky time of it since arriving at Stamford Bridge.
After a slow start to life under Frank Lampard saw him lose his place in the side, he was set to be given a fresh start when his Thomas Tuchel touched down in London.
But after just one start under his countryman, an injury reared its rather annoying head. Between January’s 0-0 draw with Wolves and Chelsea‘s 2-0 win over Everton on Monday evening, he managed just 11 minutes of Premier League football.
Apparently, though, no-one told him that time out of the team was supposed to have a negative effect on his match sharpness.
Out of the blue, Havertz delivered his most energetic and impactful performance in a Chelsea shirt to date. The stats don’t do him justice – no goals, assists, or even key passes for the vibrant German on this occasion – but that’s just evidence that stats are generally a bit rubbish.
It was a big win for Chelsea, who kept their momentum ticking over under Tuchel, and it likely wouldn’t have happened without Havertz pulling the strings.
Deployed as the central player in a fluid front three alongside Timo Werner and Callum Hudson-Odoi, he made things happen for those around him.
No-one seemed to know what to do with him – Andre Gomes was closer to him more frequently than any other player, and that explains why he topped the Everton charts for fouls while landing just one successful tackle.
The football gods were conspiring to deny Havertz a goal. Chelsea’s opener was his for all intents and purposes but went down as a Ben Godfrey own goal thanks to a deflection, and he later had one disallowed for a sketchy handball decision that even Peter Walton admitted should have stood.
Chelsea’s second goal, a penalty from Jorginho, only came about after Haverz raced onto a through ball, took a touch beyond Jordan Pickford, and was subsequently wiped out by the Everton keeper.
Otherwise, Tuchel’s side didn’t create too much against the Toffees. But they picked up a comfortable win against one of the Champions League chasers, and did so thanks to two decisive moments crafted by their marquee summer signing.
It’s almost as if he just needed a few months to settle in, isn’t it?