Tammy Abraham Is the Most Important Part of Chelsea’s Expensive Attack

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After matchday eight of the 2019/20 campaign, Tammy Abraham sat on eight goals and seven starts. He looked like a revelation for Chelsea.
At the same point in the current campaign, the 23-year-old striker has managed a return of just two goals, if only from four starts.

On paper, the situation looks like a young player who has been lost in a sea of expensively assembled superstars, with Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic all demanding a hefty share of the spotlight.

In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Instead, what Abraham has done is modified his game to become the ideal striker for Frank Lampard’s system, and the work on that actually began well before the new recruits rocked up at Stamford Bridge.

Last season, Abraham’s scorching-hot form began to cool around December. He failed to score in a 3-1 loss to Everton, after which a slump in form and injuries began to take their toll. Lampard had no choice but to turn to Olivier Giroud.

A pass-first striker, Giroud came in to offer Chelsea some balance. The Frenchman kept defenders busy and gave space to his more-creative teammates, and he just so happened to bag eight goals in his final 12 appearances of the season.

Chelsea were better with that kind of striker in attack, and instead of spitting his dummy out and leaving for an easier challenge, Abraham put his head down to try and become that kind of striker.

Abraham has learnt the art of taking a back seat. Instead of always looking forward and trying to get a shot off, he is now prepared to run deep and try a pass or a flick. He has become the kind of player alongside whom every forward would love to play.

It’s a change which was needed from Abraham this season if he was to fit in alongside Chelsea’s new faces. Lampard knows his side cannot afford to attack, attack, attack, but with all the summer signings, there’s a real risk of being a little gung-ho about things. For a side who have struggled for balance over the last 18 months, that cannot happen.

Somebody needs to be the glue that holds it all together. Somebody has to agree to back away from centre stage and let the rest of the group shine, and instead of letting Giroud take that honour this year, Abraham has demanded the role.

In each of the six games he has started in all competitions, Abraham has scored or assisted at least one goal, and he added an extra assist as a late substitute in the 4-0 win over Krasnodar.

Not only is he playing some of the best football of his career, but Abraham is having the exact impact on his teammates that Giroud had on Pulisic last season when the American erupted for four goals and four assists after lockdown.

Werner has scored four goals in his last three games alongside the Englishman, while Ziyech has chimed in with one goal and three assists. They’re talented players in their own right, but Abraham’s tireless work has made it even easier for them to impress.

He might not win the Golden Boot this year, but if Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino has taught us anything, it’s that strikers don’t need to score 20 goals per season to be seen as one of the world’s best.

For Abraham, there’s a long way to go before he can claim to be an elite option in his position, but all the signs suggest he can get there. His efforts might not get the kind of global appreciation that they deserve, but you can guarantee Lampard is loving it.


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