Tammy Abraham was rewarded for his match-winning performance on Thursday against Barnsley in the FA Cup with a (somewhat rare these days) start in the Premier League yesterday. He may be the team’s leading goalscorer, but was just his 11th start in the league this season.
Unfortunately, it also turned into one of his shorter appearances of the season, as he was forced just past the quarter-hour mark with what looked like a rather painful and potentially serious ankle injury. Any time you’re not able to “run off” a strain or a sprain, you’re probably looking at a minimum of a few weeks on the sidelines, which would be especially terrible timing for the 23-year-old.
Head coach Thomas Tuchel was equally concerned in his immediate assessment of the situation.
“It’s serious enough [that] he had to go out and we worry about him and hopefully he will not miss too many matches.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: BBC
The insult to the injury was that the tackle by Jamaal Lascelles was deemed legal by the referee (and VAR must’ve been on break), even though the Newcastle defender lunged in from behind, going through the player to get to the ball. Nine times out of ten, that’s a foul in the modern game. “But I knew I got the ball” is not enough anymore, Jamaal!
“My assistant tried to show [the referee at half-time] on the iPad. We had the feeling that it was a reckless tackle. He played the ball, yes, but for it was too much because you risk the injury of an opponent and for me, it was a foul. It was reckless but OK, I don’t want to criticise.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
It’s one thing for the referee to miss a call. That’s why have VAR! But in this case — and also in the case of (again!) Lascelles pushing Timo Werner over in the second half and again escaping a call — the system was working poorly even by its own usually poor standards. (VAR stayed busy by scrutinizing Werner’s goal for a good while instead, looking for some minute and immaterial contact.)
In any case, hopefully Abraham’s injury is not too serious and Tuchel’s just being overly cautious and careful. Fingers crossed!