Chelsea 2-2 Sheffield United: Tammy Abraham is living his dream but defence is giving Lampard nightmares


The 21-year-old striker made it four goals in two games with his double against Sheffield United but the Blues backline gifted the visitors a 2-2 draw

In Chelsea’s recent history, no manager has trusted in youth quite as much as Frank Lampard – who has been less than a month into his first season at the helm.

It may only have been newly promoted Sheffield United at Stamford Bridge on Saturday but Lampard boldly went for three academy graduates – Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori – in the youngest line-up the Blues have ever fielded in a Premier League fixture.

Abraham had the kind of match he has dreamed about since he first joined the club as an eight-year-old. After last weekend’s double at Norwich, he scored his first two senior goals at Stamford Bridge.

In the end, though, this was like a recurring defensive nightmare for Lampard’s Chelsea, as Kurt Zouma’s late own goal gifted the visitors a 2-2 draw.

Sheffield United were good value for their point, though, because while the home side impressed going forward, their tactical issues at the back remain.

The Blues press was unable to shackle Chris Wilder’s adventurous and innovative side. Lampard’s tactics have not set in, as underlined by the fact that the Blues have the second-worst defence in the Premier League.

Looking on the bright side, Abraham has been starting to look like the goalscorer Chelsea have been awaiting.

Both of his goals were of the poacher variety, with the 21-year-old first taking advantage of a handling error from United goalkeeper Dean Henderson, and then making the most of a defensive mix-up.

The goals represented vindication for Lampard and his coaching team.

They backed Abraham to wear the No.9 jersey that has previously weighed so heavily upon the shoulders of far more illustrious names, such as Alvaro Morata, Gonzalo Higuain, Fernando Torres and Radamel Falcao.

All four of those renowned forwards flopped at Stamford Bridge. But it seems that a homegrown hero has broken the curse.

Tammy Abraham Chelsea 2019-20

With this second consecutive double, Abraham has just one fewer goal than Higuain managed during the entirety of his six-month stay in west London last season.

Maurizio Sarri certainly would have been better served recalling Abraham from his loan spell at Aston Villa last season rather than bringing Higuain in on loan.

Indeed, Abraham has scored more goals in the top-two English leagues than any other soccer professional since the start of last season. Despite all of the doubts, he has been proving himself fit to lead the line.

In fact, it could be argued that no one has worn the No.9 jersey with such authority since Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink!

Of course, these are early days but the youngster’s fearlessness has been impressive – and typifies the kind of youthful exuberance that Lampard has chosen to promote.

It has been a selection policy that has gone down well with the fans, at least. Mount and Abraham haven’t been in a Chelsea shirt long but they already have their own chants, with the Stamford Bridge faithful delighted to be finally seeing the fruits of the excellent work being done at Cobham Training Centre.

The average age of the side on Saturday afternoon was only 24 years and 158 days. Two 20-year-olds and two more 21-year-olds lined up for a team containing no over-30s.

Chelsea celebrate 2019-20

It wasn’t the youngsters’ fault that all three points did not stay in London but there has been a general tactical naivety about Lampard’s side that has seen them repeatedly let games get away from them.

Chelsea were poor in possession here and overpowered in the second half by a team that are proficient at their game plan but nonetheless new to this division.

So, while there are still plenty of positives to be derived from the early part of the season, it has been tinged with concern over Lampard’s game plan.

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Still, the return of N’Golo Kante and Antonio Rudiger should add steel to a team that has been flimsy at the back.

Investing in youth has been certainly paying off, with Abraham and Mount the obvious cases in point.

Thanks to both, there are no longer any issues about where Chelsea’s goals will come from. The concern now has been how to keep them out.


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