Tammy Abraham made his first Premier League start in nearly a month last night as Chelsea hosted West Ham at the Bridge. On the surface of it, the decision was a bit surprising from the head coach given that Olivier Giroud had been in fine goalscoring form, netting six times in all competitions in just four starts during that same span.
But Chelsea had not looked as dynamic in attacking unit with Giroud in the center as with Abraham, and that’s something that Lampard was clearly concerned with as he reflected in his post-match comments.
“I wanted [Abraham] to be a handful, move and have energy and move their backline. He did that. Oli has been doing it for us in his own way and scoring goals. It was more about the opposition today to play Tammy.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Football.London
It may have taken the young striker nearly 80 minutes to get on the scoresheet, but he not only grabbed two goals in just as many minutes to put the game to bed, he started both of the moves that he would eventually finish off as well, combining well with the likes of Christian Pulisic, Mason Mount, and Timo Werner in the process.
The finishes themselves weren’t spectacular strikes by any means — a tap-in from a mis-hit shot and an angled far post strike from a rebound — but they were something much better (and much more repeatable): goals scored by being in the right place at the right time with the right composure.
“It was the perfect night to repay the faith of the gaffer. My job is to help the team score goals by getting in the right areas, and that’s what I did for my two goals.
“They were poacher’s goals, something you do in the park. It’s just about getting in the box, getting in the right areas and being ready for when the ball lands at your feet. Whether it was a cross or shot from Timo, it was about me anticipating, getting ready for rebounds, deflections, and luckily I was in the right place.”
Abraham might be downplaying them a bit, but poaching goals, like poaching eggs, is an artform. Having led the team in goals last season already, he’s now reached 25 career goals for Chelsea (70 appearances): the first English player to do so since Kerry Dixon in 1984. And at just 23 years of age, Tammy’s only just getting started.
“That was much more like it. The boys said before we needed a performance and that was what we did. They were in the game until my first goal. They are a great side and have been great this year, so we had to stay patient for the second goal.
“I don’t think the losses knocked our confidence that much. We know we’re a good side, we just lost concentration for two games, but we’ve brought it back and hopefully we can kick on. Some days you have bad days, but if you get the win that is what makes a top side. We had to grind this win, and find a way to beat them.”
-Tammy Abraham; source: Chelsea FC
Equally young Chelsea are only just getting started as well.