Frank Lampard has been told his loyalty to summer signing Timo Werner could prove costly and he needs to consider dropping the Germany striker.
Lampard’s men could only manage a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa on Monday after another lacklustre performance.
Olivier Giroud opened the scoring only for Anwar El Ghazi to equalise minutes into the second-half.
And Chelsea had no real response, managing only three shots on target as they hunted a win.
The draw with Villa follows on from loses against Arsenal, Wolves and Everton in a run of bad results.
That run of results leaves Chelsea down in sixth – still in the mix for the top four but now with serious questions being asked.
Indeed, one such report on Monday suggested the axe could fall on Lampard with a big-name German boss waiting in the wings.
One man who has befitted their current struggles is Timo Werner.
The Germany striker arrived in a £48m deal from RB Leipzig in the summer and made a bright start. However, he has now gone 10 games without a goal and looks short on confidence.
Werner has scored eight goals in 22 appearances for Chelsea so far this season. However, he has not scored since netting in Chelsea’s 4-1 win over bottom club Sheffield United on November 7. Indeed, both Tammy Abraham (three in last two appearances) and top scorer Olivier Giroud have proved more reliable in front of goal.
Indeed, Peter Crouch has labelled Werner “selfish” and claims he is “hurting” Chelsea by his desperation to end his drought.
“I thought Chelsea had pulled off a masterstroke when they signed Werner,” he wrote in his Daily Mail column.
“If you look back at some of the things I said in the summer, one was centred on my surprise that having been linked with him so heavily, Liverpool did not pursue him more strongly.
“Let me make it clear – I am not about to change my opinion on him. He was exceptional for RB Leipzig, he is Germany’s No9 and it’s hardly like he’s started at Stamford Bridge the way I started my Liverpool career.
“But I have watched him closely a couple of times over Christmas and I picked up something that tells you he has played 949 minutes for his club since his last goal.
“He is taking shots on when he should be passing. Strikers should be selfish but not when it is to the detriment of the team.
“Werner is anxious and wants to break this sequence, but there was a moment against West Ham when he smashed a shot and his team-mates reacted with frustration. He hadn’t done the simple thing.”
Crouch, however, did offer a word of encouragement for Werner.
“He’ll be fine, eventually, he just needs to settle down,” the pundit added.
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Lampard defends Timo Werner
Lampard recently stated that he does not think Werner is losing confidence despite his barren run in front of goal.
Werner has admitted to “struggling” in recent weeks, despite having initially warmed to life at Chelsea and in the Premier League.
Lampard remains convinced that Werner will quickly fire back into goal scoring form.
“I talk to him all the time but I don’t sense frustration,” said Lampard.
“I think it’s clear as a striker you want to be scoring regularly, as he’s done in his career.
“But at the same time every striker has moments when the ball doesn’t drop for you for whatever reasons.
“The positive thing is he’s getting chances in games. He’s using his attributes to get into the box, he’s getting chances, so they’ll come.”
READ MORE: Lampard bemoans moment in Aston Villa draw that sums up Chelsea plight