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Keep, Sell, Loan: Tammy Abraham’s 2016-17 season in review

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Derby County v Bristol City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Appearances (starts+substitute):
EFL Championship: 40+1 (3425 minutes)
FA Cup: 1 + 2 (141 minutes)
EFL Cup: 1 + 3 (177 minutes)

Goals:
EFL Championship: 23
EFL Cup: 3

Tammy Abraham has arguably had the best season among all the Chelsea loanees, scoring 26 times for Bristol City and being names their Player of the Year, as well as Young Player of the Year. Signing on loan for Bristol City on August 5, Abraham found himself on the bench for City’s immediately following game, against Wigan, which was on the day after his loan deal was finalised. He started the very next week against Wycombe in the EFL Cup, and scored his first goal in a Bristol City shirt that day. That evening at Wycombe marked the start of something beautiful; Tammy kept the goals coming and established himself as one of the most important players in the squad, to such an extent that Jonathan Kodija, their top scorer in the previous season was sold, leaving the veteran Aaron Wilbraham as the only practical back-up to Tammy until January.

After just over a month of joining the club, Abraham had 8 goals to his name and as a result, City were flying high, as high as the promotion play-off places and the season ahead was looked upon with great optimism. Unfortunately this run of form was not to continue, as after a hugely prolific period, Abraham hit a little slump that was compounded by injury, as would only be normal for a boy of 19. Bristol City were also rapidly plummeting down the Championship table and eventually found themselves in the relegation quagmire, spending several weeks at the bottom end of the table despite a number of reinforcements signed in the January transfer window. Their target for the season was clear - to renew their status in the Championship for the third consecutive season, and Abraham went on another scoring run from the middle of March, ultimately helping his team to successfully avoid relegation with two games to spare.

Here’s a video of all of Tammy Abraham’s 26 goals for City.

Bristol City, football-wise, were a side that could be on absolute fire on their day, but ridiculously bad when not on song, bi-polar almost; there seemed no concept of consistency with the side. Tammy would be starved of service for long periods and had to learn to feed off scraps in many games. Things got especially hard when teams began actively trying to mark him out of the game, as well as when he came up against defenders who were stronger than him. There were always going to be obstacles in the path of his development, and Tammy responded well, showing great improvement in his hold-up play and aerial dominance.

As you might’ve already seen, Tammy’s all-round play has some way to go but his strength as a striker definitely lies in his positional awareness and finishing.

Tammy averages 2.7 shots per game, ninth-highest in the league (Jonathan Kodija, incidentally, has the highest with 3.3). However, he is only second to Kodija with 2.2 shots per game from inside the penalty area. When it comes to accuracy, he averages 1 shot on target per game, the league highest being 1.5, while Bristol City average 4.5 shots on target as a whole (sixth highest in the league). His efficiency is highlighted with his goals-to-games ratio of 0.6, which is at par with league top-scorer Chris Wood, and second to the ridiculously efficient Dwight Gayle. Also, Tammy is also second to Chris Wood (by a margin of 0.07) in shots on target per goal (1.69), and averages 3.73 shots per goal, only Wood and Gayle average less.

As I mentioned previously, Tammy’s hold-up play and aerial ability (yes, despite his height) have had to be worked on this season; he’s shown improvement in these aspects but his numbers are fairly average compared to the league’s other strikers. He averages 2.1 aerials won per game, with a total of 5.7. Tammy never sees all that much of the ball, even by a striker’s standards, and makes only 16.5 passes per game and 1.1 key passes, with a take-on success of 47%.

In conclusion, Tammy’s conversion statistics are excellent; he clearly is astute at taking his chances and finding the right positions to shoot from. He could also exploit his physical tools a lot more, although his hold-up play has been improving in the due course of the season. Involvement in build-up play is also something that is left to be desired, but a lot of that also comes down to his team’s style of play. He has shown in glimpses though, that he would do well in a side that saw a lot more of the ball in attacking areas.

His mentality, which is equally important for a young player has been top-notch. He leaves it all on the pitch in every game and always shows great desire. He has endeared himself to the Bristol City fans in a manner that is othewise rare for a loanee, and that just goes to show that he has given his all for the club this season.

Verdict: His first season has been a remarkable success. I think it should be followed with a loan at a higher level, to a team that’s willing to give him chances. Brighton are rumoured to be interested in him, in which case it would make for a good move, although sides that are likely to be involved in the relegation scrap always carry an according amount of risk when it comes to playing loanees.

Grade: A+

Poll

What would you do with Tammy Abraham next season?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    Keep him around with the first-team as third striker
    (260 votes)
  • 80%
    Loan him out again
    (1163 votes)
  • 1%
    Sell
    (28 votes)
1451 votes total Vote Now