The centre forward – the number nine. Arguably the most uncertain position on the pitch for Chelsea FC since the bittersweet departure of serial goalscorer, Diego Costa, in September 2017. However this season, despite not having a secured number one striker, Chelsea could potentially start to see more goals coming from the striking position. That’s something which has been somewhat of an irregularity in recent seasons which I’ll give my thoughts on throughout this article. I will talk about all three of our strikers: Tammy Abraham, Olivier Giroud, and Michy Batshuayi, and conclude with who I think is the best option for our upcoming match in which we will be hosting Sheffield United on the 31st of August.
In Tammy Abraham, we have a young and fresh striker from our own academy who is eager to impress on all fronts. His primary strength is quite clearly his ability to press opposition back lines. As a 21 year old though, he still has lots of room for improvement to his overall game, such as hold up and linkup play, as well as decision making in the final third. That being said, the young Englishman is a confident finisher, as we saw this past weekend away to Norwich, where he was the difference maker. Additionally, Tammy has something that not all young players possess naturally – a world class mentality. Despite ultimately missing the decisive penalty in the Super Cup almost a fortnight ago, and facing disgusting racial abuse on social media, he did not let any of it faze him, and sure enough he came back and delivered in the perfect way on Saturday at Carrow Road.
A much more polished player, our elegant French striker is the type of player many managers appreciate to have on the team. A true team player, his ability to link up almost all the players around him with such ease makes playing alongside him truly enjoyable, and easier. In addition, his height and physique allows him to be able to comfortably win aerial duels and bully centre backs. A consequence of his unselfish play style of course is the fact that he isn’t the type to score over fifteen to twenty goals a season. However, as we’ve seen in the past, he always has a worldie of a goal in him at some point. Olivier is also more than capable to deliver in big games, as we’ve seen recently against the likes of his former club Arsenal and Liverpool, in the Europa League Final and UEFA Super Cup, respectively.
Finally, the undertaker of this battle thus far, Michy Batshuayi. Signed from Marseille in the summer of 2016 for £33 million, his Chelsea career has yet to formally kickoff. He was mainly an understudy to Diego Costa in our last title winning season. More of the same came in 2018, before going out on loan to Borussia Dortmund, Valencia, and Crystal Palace respectively. Which then brings us to the present. So far, it is looking more or less like the same old story for Michy under Frank Lampard, though the boss has yet to rule him out and has publicly stated he still values him and will make use of him this season. Batshuayi definitely possesses that eye for goal that we’ve been severely lacking recently, as well as the ability to run in behind with his pace – something that could benefit Jorginho’s track record for assists. Something that has always seemed to set Batshuayi back at Chelsea was his work rate and effort in games and training. However, with the spot up for grabs, I sure hope he can see it as an opportunity to grasp if he puts in the work for it.
Pre Season Recap
Throughout our seven pre-season matches, each one of our centre forwards had equal opportunity to impress, each scoring two goals. We became more familiar with Abraham, though saw some of his areas needed improvement. Giroud, who featured a bit less, still did what he always does, and bagged two brilliant goals vs St. Patricks. Batshuayi actually looked quite decent, with his highlight being his beautiful goal against RB Salzburg. However with Michy, a main problem was highlighted as well; he often looked selfish on the ball and over did quite a few things. By the end of pre season it became clear that Lampard’s preferred striker was to be Tammy Abraham, which has been the case so far this Premier League campaign.
Next Match and the Long Run
Onto Sheffield United on Saturday, the spot is easily up for grabs that game! Could Abraham be trusted with another start to potentially gain him boosted momentum? Could Batshuayi finally be given his first opportunity in the League? Many questions will be asked this week regarding who will play there. As far as I’m concerned, I have a feeling Lampard will persevere with Tammy. That will inject more confidence into him, and hopefully he can keep up where he left off vs Norwich. But in the long term, I am sure it won’t just be Tammy. Chelsea are in four competitions this season, and Lampard is going to have to shuffle through all three of our strikers, depending on the competition, and the style of play of the opposition. I think this should be regarded as good news for all of them, and once again it will be seen as to who wants the spot the most.