Tammy Abraham is still just 22 years old but he knows Chelsea’s top four hopes rest on his shoulders. Can the academy product lead them to Champions League qualification?
The England international returned quicker than expected from an ankle injury to lead the line for the Blues during their 2-2 draw at Leicester City on Saturday.
In that draw Abraham almost got on the end of a few crosses, could have won a penalty kick and battled hard to hold the ball up as he also battled through the pain barrier after his recent injury.
Abraham has scored 13 Premier League goals so far this season but has scored just three times in the league in his last 12 outings. That led to Frank Lampard and Chelsea pushing hard to sign a striker in the January window as both Michy Batshuayi and Olivier Giroud have failed to provide adequate cover for Abraham to try and give him a rest.
Speaking to journalists after the game Abraham revealed he is thriving on the pressure of being their main striker for the rest of the season.
“Playing for a club like Chelsea there is always going to be pressure,” Abraham said. “For me it is about being in the right place at the right time and believing in myself and my abilities as well. I am sure I will score a few more. I like the pressure and I play under pressure. For me I can’t complain, it has been a great season so far. I would like to push on. There are still massive games. I just have to be ready for them and take my opportunities.”
He did admit that playing alongside Edinson Cavani or other experienced strikers who were linked with Chelsea would have been nice so he could “steal his ideas to add to my own” and said the fact Chelsea didn’t sign a new striker in January “gives me that extra push and desire to claim my position and be as best as I can.”
Pro Soccer Talk asked Abraham about the mental battle of playing his first full season for Chelsea in the top-flight and how tough that has been, plus his thoughts on the winter break.
“Mentally and physically, we all need this,” Abraham said of the break. “It is getting to the point of the season where people start to get leggy, a few injuries come in. Now with this break we can recover ourselves and recover our bodies and our minds.”
The load on Abraham’s mind and body will be heavy between now and May as Chelsea push for glory in the FA Cup and Champions League as well as kick on in their pursuit of a top four finish.
Abraham is having a fine first season as Chelsea’s first-choice striker but there’s no doubt goals have dried up in recent weeks. That said, he is still impacting games and working hard to provide a focal point and you get the sense this winter break has come at a very good time for Lampard’s young side to recharge their batteries ahead of the final push.
Giroud and Batshuayi provide more experienced but Abraham deserves to lead the line for the rest of the season given his performances so far. All the talk about Chelsea wanting a new striker in January was actually nothing to do with Abraham. It was more to do with the back-up options Chelsea have in that position.
If Abraham is fit and refreshed after the break he is more than capable of reproducing the form which took the Premier League by storm at the start of the season. If he does that and Chelsea continue to create numerous chances each and every game, Abraham will lead Chelsea to a top four finish.