One of the biggest questions facing Chelsea this season is how to replace the production provided by Eden Hazard, who was not only the obvious (and often one and only) attacking fulcrum of the team, but had actually lead the team in goals in each of the last two seasons (and three of the last six). While Chelsea have struggled with this question repeatedly in the last decade — outside of a couple years of respite provided by Diego Costa — Hazard’s presence always mitigated some of those concerns. Now that the safety blanket is gone, someone else will have to step up.
Who will that be? Lampard’s hoping that at least one of Tammy Abraham, Michy Batshuayi, or Olivier Giroud can provide at least a partial answer, which so far (early doors and all) they haven’t.
“When you don’t capitalise and score those goals you can become a bit nervy.”
“If we’d have been more clinical in front of goal in the last three games we possibly could have had three wins, including the Super Cup, because we were the better team for big parts of those games. [...] That’s the challenge for the strikers, but it’s not just them. We can score from different areas of the pitch, but of course you do look to your strikers in those moments and I’ve got no problems with their attitude and training.
“The competition is there. [...] Competition is good and someone needs to come to the front, hopefully. [...] We need the competition up front with the three strikers we have.”
If you’re keeping count, it’s two starts and one goal for Olivier Giroud and one start and zero goals for Tammy Abraham. And three mentions of “competition”. The one man who has yet to feature at all is of course Michy Batshuayi, who did score two for the reserves earlier this week. Despite that distribution, Lampard has seemingly put the position up for grabs. And if the head coach stays true to form, the starts will go to those who perform best in training.
“We work hard on the training ground as a team to create and also with the attacking players to finish. I used to love practising my finishing in training, it’s what I felt made me lucky at the weekend, and gave me an edge in front of goal. What I have got is great attitude in the three strikers particularly, but others in the squad also always want to stay out, want to work harder.
“The reality is that moments come when things don’t quite go for you. Tammy’s goal goes in off the post against United, different story for him, different story for the game. But you can’t get too down about that, I don’t think we need to go negative about it. It’s about positivity, working hard and the belief that it will come, and I believe it will come. We’re talking about quality players in terms of our attacking players, so it will come.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Football.London
There was a stat going around after last weekend that Chelsea have created more scoring chances from open play than all other teams bar Manchester City, but our strikers have managed a grand total of one shot on target in the two Premier League games so far. As limited as the “chances created” stat may be, there is no good way to interpret those numbers. Improvement is required, and required as soon as possible.
Only Manchester City (34) have created more than Chelsea's 23 chances from open play, but centre forwards Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud have mustered just a single shot on target between them (Telegraph)— Sid Celery (@sidcelery) August 20, 2019