Paul Merson is ‘worried’ for Chelsea ahead of their Champions League final against Manchester City but insists misfiring forward Timo Werner is capable of causing the Premier League winners ‘problems’.
Despite beating Man City twice in the last six weeks, Chelsea are the outsiders going into Saturday’s showpiece in Porto.
The Blues finished fourth in the Premier League this season – 19 points behind champions City – and Merson admits he is ‘worried’ for Thomas Tuchel’s side.
‘I’m worried for Chelsea after seeing them at Aston Villa in what was a must-win game for them,’ Merson told Sky Sports. ‘They missed another load of chances and that’s a big concern.
‘I know Chelsea have beaten Man City twice already this season, but I do worry for them in this one.
‘Let’s not get carried away, in the game at the Etihad, City missed a penalty to go 2-0 up. If that game goes to 2-0 it could get very messy, but for Chelsea, after the penalty miss, the reins came off and bang.
‘If you have a go at Man City you have got a chance, but you’ve got to take that chance, and I don’t think Chelsea have got the players to take them chances.
Against Leicester in the FA Cup final, Chelsea had all that play in the first half but they just don’t put teams away.’
Merson has identified Germany striker Werner as the ‘key player’ for Chelsea as they bid to win their second Champions League and deny Guardiola’s Manchester City a sensational treble.
Werner, 25, has endured a difficult first season at Stamford Bridge, scoring just 12 goals in 51 appearances for the Blues in all competitions.
But former Arsenal and England star Merson added: ‘I have to say Timo Werner, and I say that as his biggest critic.
‘If he gets it right on the day and makes the right decisions, Man City are in trouble because he will cause you a lot of problems.
‘However, we’ve seen it too many times over the last eight to nine months, he doesn’t make the right decisions consistently enough.
‘If he’d have made the right decisions at Wembley against Leicester, Chelsea would have won the FA Cup before half-time. So, for those reasons he is the most important player on Saturday.
‘I could have said Thiago Silva because you have to be so sharp in defence with Man City. You can’t switch off for a second. You’ve got to be aware and you’ve got to be organised, but I am going with Werner because on his day, he can hurt you.
‘Both N’Golo Kante and Edouard Mendy are also musts for the game on Saturday. It’s good news for Chelsea that they are on course to play. They are two of the first names on the teamsheet alongside Mason Mount.’