Timo Werner makes positive impact on Tottenham debut but Chelsea flaws remain

Timo Werner makes positive impact on Tottenham debut but Chelsea flaws remain

Timo Werner marked his return to the Premier League with a crucial assist in Tottenham's 2-2 against Manchester United, but his performance at Old Trafford suggests he may continue to be as frustrating as he is effective in the final third.

Werner's simple pass to Rodrigo Bentancur, who strolled past Jonny Evans and finished emphatically for Spurs' second equaliser, ensured the German got off to a positive start back in English football and justified his inclusion in the side five days after joining on loan from RB Leipzig.

The doubts over Werner lie not in his ability to contribute to the build-up but his quality as a finisher, however, after a spell at Chelsea characterised by missed chances and disallowed goals - and he squandered the opportunities that did come his way on Sunday.

There was an early header which was diverted from danger by Evans, two wild shots after cutting in from the left flank and a volley with dropped just over the bar.

Werner's best chance by far, though, came towards the end of the first half, with Spurs trailing 2-1, when he raced onto Oliver Skipp's brilliant pass but seemed to hesitate and dragged a left-foot shot wide of the far post.

It was the kind of chance he seemed to regularly miss at Chelsea and he should have at least hit the target.

One story of this entertaining draw was the fortunes of previously-misfiring forwards, as United's goal-shy pair Rasmus Hojlund and Marcus Rashford finished brilliantly to twice put the hosts in front, while Werner and Brennan Johnson failed to make the most of their openings.

Spurs missed absent captain Heung-min Son desperately, but at least Richarlison is enjoying a hot streak, and the Brazilian headed home Spurs' first equaliser from Pedro Porro's corner for his sixth goal in as many league games.

Werner should obviously not be judged on a single game, particularly when he is adjusting to a new team and has barely played football in the first half of the campaign after dropping down the pecking order at Leipzig.

There was actually plenty to admire in his debut, too, as the 27-year-old took up good positions on the left and provided a permanent outlet for a Spurs side who dominated the possession, even as they twice fell behind in the first half.

But it is not energy, tactical acumen or pace Spurs are lacking in the final third but finesse, and Werner did not supply it here. Spurs will hope it comes with time.

If Ange Postecoglou's side, who were missing 12 players to internationals, injury and illness, had more on the bench, Werner may have been replaced before the 80th minute, when Bryan Gil was introduced.

The head coach's selection woes should ease soon; Dejan Kulusevski, James Maddison and Manor Solomon are all expected to be available in time for Spurs' next game, the FA Cup fourth-round tie at home to Manchester City on January 27, while Son will be back from the Asian Cup next month.

That may really be a good thing for both Werner and summer signing Johnson, who was poor, taking the pressure off them somewhat and allowing them to settle in to a side which is still to really click in the final third.

His performance here aside, as a low-risk addition to a squad which just keeps losing players for one reason or another, Werner looks a canny signing, even if some of the flaws from his spell at Stamford Bridge are likely to remain.