It’s not as if Tammy Abraham had been struggling in his return to The Championship, with Aston Villa. Before Wednesday’s epic 5-5 draw against Nottingham Forest, he’d already bagged 6 goals in 12 matches, a goal every other match, including a penalty against rivals Birmingham City on Sunday.
As it had been hoped for when he decided to return to the Championship on loan instead of fight for scraps of minutes at Chelsea, he’s locked-in as Villa’s first-choice striker. But on Wednesday he took it to another level.
He scored four goals in regulation, almost doubling his season’s tally in a single match.
The first came in just the 11th minute, a header off of a cross by fellow loanee Yannick Bolasie (of Everton).
Tammy’s second came just three minutes later, bundling home a loose ball after Forest couldn’t clear their six-yard box.
Now we’re up to his third goal. And we’re still in the first half, mind you.
Tammy has become Villa’s designated penalty taker and in the 36th minute he got the nod to put another one away.
And finally — phew! — in the 71st minute, a beautiful glancing header off of a free kick.
Manager Dean Smith, who has won 4 of the now 7 matches he’s been in charge of for Villa, was effusive in his praise afterwards, even though the match itself actually finished as a rather unbelievable 5-5 draw (keeping Villa three points behind Forest for the final promotion playoff spot as the Championship approaches the halfway point of its season).
“He will be disappointed that he didn’t get six because he certainly had two very good other chances. He’s a player with a brilliant attitude and application. All I can say is ’what a lad’.
“He’s great to have around and his workrate is brilliant. He’s got a love for Aston Villa at the moment. You can see that in the way he’s played. He’s probably disappointed that he hasn’t got as many goals as he should have.
“In the games I’ve been here he’s had a lot of chances. But gets those chances because of his attitude and application.”
Asked about his goal bonanza — Tammy had never even scored a hat-trick in professional football before — Abraham preferred to dwell on his team not managing to get the win despite scoring five times. Perfect attitude.
The concern with Abraham’s loan back to the Championship, the level at which he had already scored 26 times in a season once, was that it would prove nothing. And sure enough, we’re not learning anything we hadn’t already known. Abraham had already won his spot in the Chelsea first-team, as the third-choice striker, after all, and now he’s simply confirming that he’s already mastered second division football.
The real question is, will he ever get a chance to play for a team in the Premier League that’s better than the relegated Swansea City he labored for last season? Like Chelsea, maybe?