When a club of Chelsea’s stature decides to flex their financial muscle and recruit a host of big-money signings, it’s impossible not to consider the impact the new arrivals will have on their current crop of players.
Having embarked on an eye-watering £220m transfer splurge in the summer – with stellar names like Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech arriving at Stamford Bridge – the future of Tammy Abraham seemed far from certain.
However, due to a number of unforeseen circumstances – whether they be COVID-19 related or just a tactical reshuffle – the youngster has been afforded his chance to stake his claim as Chelsea’s main man, and he’s giving Frank Lampard plenty to think about.
Abraham’s performance in Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Newcastle on Saturday afternoon was everything Lampard will be looking for from his central striker.
The Magpies set out their stall early on, camped deep in their own half with three physical, towering centre-backs looking to marshal the Blues frontline. Clearly unfazed by the home side’s no-nonsense approach, Abraham battled all afternoon, looking to occupy the Newcastle trio of Federico Fernandez, Jamaal Lascelles and Ciaran Clark.
His selfless work meant the Chelsea widemen – in particular Werner on the left – were afforded time and space on the ball, and were it not for some uncharacteristically wayward finishing the German would have found himself on the scoresheet.
While posing a physical threat is all well and good, sceptics among you may be thinking ‘well Olivier Giroud has been doing that for years and his trophy cabinet doesn’t have a Premier League winner’s medal in it, what’s so special?’.
The truth is, Abraham is so much more than a target man; he has the ability to mix his play, possessing the pace and power to run in behind and work the channels were necessary, something which proved key in breaking down a rigid Newcastle backline.
So his all-round game was excellent, but he’s a striker…he’s there to score goals, right? Correct, and he showed the coolest head in St. James’ Park (that phrase works so much better when there’s more than 80 people in the ground, damn Covid) to end the game as a contest.
For anyone watching the highlight reel of Chelsea’s win over Newcastle, Abraham’s finish will hardly have you picking your jaw off the floor, however, given the persistence he had shown and the battling nature of his display, to remain calm when presented with his only real opening of the game showed real maturity.
The Lampard side of 2019/20 was a very different proposition to their current team. There was a Kevin Keegan ‘we’ll score more than you’ mentality, so any spurned opportunities could easily be forgotten about when the next chance inevitably came along.
However, the Blues boss is clearly working hard to address his team’s defensive fragility, and because of that opportunities in front of goal aren’t going to come around quite so readily, and whoever is tasked with leading the line will need to be able to prove they can take their chance when it comes.
Abraham did just that, and in doing so notched his third goal in just five starts in the Premier League this season.
With Werner looking at home on the Chelsea left and Havertz producing his best football at Stamford Bridge when playing in a midfield three, some Blues fans might be left thinking their centre-forward dilemma remains unsolved.
But fear not, the man who looked like becoming a spare part at the club just three months ago has proven he’s got all the tools to spearhead their title tilt.