Tammy Abraham is having a moment
So the song goes... there's only one Tammy Abraham. And yes, it's hard to imagine a more experienced 21-year-old striker leading the line for one of the Premier League's top clubs. He's got 52 games in the senior circuit and 82 in the Championship, a record that some veterans might envy. And there's much more to come for this smarterscout young prospect.
Abraham is having the best season of his career, with attacking output rated 57 in the Premier League and 65 in the Champions League (at a Premier League standard). He's never been more of a target man; he receives a ton of balls in the box, and almost no one shoots more often than he does – despite the fact that about two-thirds of moves leading to a shot when Abraham is on the pitch don't involve him at all.
That's because Abraham is most active in two areas of the pitch: along the midfield line, and in prime shooting locations on the edge of or inside the opposition's penalty area. He also takes touches in the central channel, but basically he's (1) linking up the play, (2) charging forward, (3) receiving in a dangerous area, and (4) blasting it down the opposing keeper's throat. And as the numbers say, if you get the ball to him, he's getting a shot off.
He's above average in aerial duels in open play and close to average on the dribble. He's also a very good finisher with both his feet and his head in open play; he's outperforming his expected goals, but he's good value for it. He also defends quite ably for a striker. What he hasn't mastered yet is the art of predation on dead balls – but that could be a matter of coaching. Once he gets his movement right in those situations, he'll be a complete striker.
The fact that Olivier Giroud is looking for greener pastures says all you need to know about Abraham's place in Frank Lampard's squad. And why not? If you had scored 12 in 19 matches, you'd be non-negotiable in the starting XI, too. So what's next for the lanky English international?
If we look into our crystal balls, we can see Abraham's future through players who've had a similar style. Two of the closest matches were Michy Batshuayi last season at Crystal Palace (when he scored five times in fewer than 800') and Edin Dzeko in 2017-18 at Roma (when he only scored 16 in about 3,000'). Both players were excellent as target men and did a little bit of everything else, too. They were also quite a bit older than Abraham during those seasons; the Chelsea man already has the game of a peak-age striker, and with further refinement his attacking output should rise even higher.
It's especially interesting to see Batshuayi, another Chelsea player, as such a close match. In fact, we've seen it before – the Chelsea squad and the club's loan army seem to be made up of interchangeable parts. Batshuayi is on a 2021 contract, so he may be on the move in January or during the summer. At Chelsea all roads lead to Abraham, and if he keeps producing and improving, then only a move to an even bigger Champions-League-winning club will take him away from Stamford Bridge.
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