Going into pre-season, many fans, including myself, didn’t have a firm choice on who should be the club’s first choice striker this season. The options of Olivier Giroud, Michy Batshuayi and Tammy Abraham seemed an uninspiring list to choose from, and on the face of it, it was. There was an acceptance from large parts of the fan base that each striker had huge flaws to their game, and that it would be a case of rotating all three options throughout the season. But Tammy didn’t acknowledge the doubters and set out on a mission to prove to everyone that he should be Chelsea’s #9.
Tammy didn’t started off the season in the best way and although he hit the post against Man UTD, his finishing just wasn’t there, while after he missed the deciding penalty in the Super Cup, he was racially abused on social media. He’s since spoken out on it and how with his mentality, which is very good, it didn’t get to him as much as it maybe would have done to others. He did however speak about how it impacted his family, with his mother in particular, very emotional after her son was the victim of online hatred.
Naturally, the abuse has since spurred Tammy on even more, and barring the Leicester game, he’s improved drastically and is showing real quality. I’d actually doubted his abilities and could never have imagined the upwards trajectory that he’s gone on since. He missed numerous 1v1s in pre-season, didn’t have an impressive start to the campaign and wasn’t finishing any chances in the open training session at Stamford Bridge that I went to. That led me to raise the question on if he could be the player to lead the line for us.
He’s quickly dispelled those doubts, becoming one of my favourite players, with his passion for Chelsea showing through in everything he does on the pitch. That coupled with his quality, makes him a very likeable player.
In his last three league games, Tammy has scored a remarkable seven goals, including a hat-trick against Wolves. Above all else, you want your #9 to be delivering up front and he certainly is. The more impressive feat however, is the range of goals that he’s scoring. They’re all different types of goals, something all top strikers have the ability of doing.
- vs Norwich – Peels off his man in the box and finishes on the half volley
- vs Norwich – Gets the ball in front of the CBs, cuts inside and finishes from outside the box
- vs Sheffield United – Shot saved and the rebound is scrappily put in
- vs Sheffield United – Alert and punishes an error by the defence, finishing into the corner
- vs Wolves – Poacher’s goal from inside the box. Cleverly sends the shot back towards where it came from, taking the keeper out of the equation
- vs Wolves – A header from a cross, where he had to power it accurately into the net, changing its direction
- vs Wolves – Running in behind, picked out, stands his man up, does a skill to go past and finishes across the goal
Looking at all his goals so far and the way in which they’ve been scored, it’s clear that Tammy Abraham has the potential to be a world class finisher. It’s obviously early days but he’s already showing his quality and doing it against teams where others have struggled. Norwich recently beat Manchester City, whilst Wolves took four points off of us last season. So the question marks over him being a ‘Championship player’ have been well and truly answered. The trust that Frank Lampard has shown in him will also have given Abraham a confidence boost.
“I never had clear expectations in him, only that I trusted him. I know a lot was made of the ban, but I felt it was the right time for him at this club anyway. He is in a good place and he can improve even more.”Frank Lampard on Abraham’s start to the season
Aside from goals, there is much more to Abraham’s play, which many people seem to overlook when they watch him. There seems to be a myth that tall strikers aren’t technically good, but with Tammy that clearly isn’t the case. His hat-trick goal against Wolves should tell you that. He can link up with teammates and find a pass or a flick to keep the move going, and he’s shown a telepathy with Mason Mount in that regard this season.
He also has a brilliant first touch, and the strength to hold off his man, and bring others into play. It’s a quality that Giroud was largely selected for last season, but with Tammy doing it so well, the Frenchman has seen his minutes very limited so far, with Michy Batshuayi coming off the bench ahead of him in the last two league games.
Looking more broadly at Abraham’s qualities, he can finish, hold up the ball and bring others into play, and has a spark that brings a bit of uncertainty to his attacking play for defenders to deal with. All of that at just 21 years old, is seriously promising and with seven league goals already, and as top scorer in the competition, defenders should be wary.
The signs are there that Tammy is not just taking his chance. He’s running away with it.