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Lampard pleased with Abraham, staying positive with Werner

Striker review


Throughout Lampard’s now nearly 1.5-year tenure, there have been plenty of questions about Chelsea’s defending, goalkeeping, and at-times porous midfield, but the team’s ability to attack and score goals has rarely been a problem. Chelsea finished as the third-highest scoring team in the league last season, behind the runaway top two, and were shut out just 9 times in 55 games in all competitions. (We also finished with easily the worst defensive record in the top half of table, just to illustrate the other aspect.)

Much of Chelsea’s success in front of goal can be attributed to young Tammy Abraham, who not only broke the “Curse of the No.9”, but became the first Academy graduate to lead the team in scoring in nearly three decades, since the likes of Clive Walker and Mike Fillery ruled (second-division) Chelsea’s scoring charts.

But Abraham tailed off in the second half of last season — leading to Olivier Giroud’s resurgence — and has similarly been battling it out for minutes with the veteran striker this season. But Monday’s brace against West Ham, along with the notion that he plays as a more dynamic striker and thus enables better performances from those around him as well, should lead to more minutes for the 23-year-old.

Head coach Frank Lampard is certainly pleased with what he’s seeing, but as all head coaches do, wants more from his young charge.

“With Tammy I’m pleased. He scores a lot for us and we saw the other night and this season.

“He and Oli in their own way offer us different things. He has to keep working and keep progressing. Last season was a great breakthrough season for him in terms of the Premier League and being Chelsea’s No9 and there’s more work he can do. I’m very happy with him.”

Chelsea v West Ham United - Premier League - Stamford Bridge Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images

It was expected that Abraham’s minutes would decrease and he’d have an extra fight on his hand after Chelsea signed Timo Werner this summer, but the Bundesliga goal machine has been playing mostly on the left, in part due to injuries, but also as a tactical wrinkle that Lampard’s chosen to employ in his 4-3-3 formation.

Werner might be the team’s joint-leading goalscorer — he and Giroud both have 8 while Abraham’s just behind with 7 — but he’s hit a rather nasty streak of not scoring, getting unlucky, and missing easy chances as well, which has led to plenty of growing scrutiny from all corners.

Lampard has been urging patience with the 24-year-old adapting to a new league and a new position, and he remains confident that the goals will indeed come. Trust the process!

“I talk to him all the time, I don’t sense his frustration.

“I think it’s clear that as a striker you want to be scoring regularly, as he has done in his career. But at the same time every striker has moments when the ball doesn’t drop for you for whatever reasons.

“The positive thing is he’s getting chances in games, he’s using his attributes to get into the box, he’s getting chances, so they’ll come.

-Frank Lampard; source: Footbal.London

Werner leads the league in woodworks hit with 5 — last season’s leaders in this category, Kevin De Bruyne, Marcus Rashford, and Danny Ings all had 6! — and he’s certainly getting into the right positions. You miss one hundred per cent of the shots you don’t take, as Wayne Gretzky once said. And Werner’s shooting plenty still and not hiding. As long as that remains the case, he will undoubtedly find the back of the net sooner than later.

Chelsea v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Chris Lee - Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

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