Yesterday’s 0-0 draw with Tottenham felt more like two points dropped than one point gained. Chelsea manager Frank Lampard said after the game that he felt “we created enough chances to win it” and you can’t argue with that assessment.
It seemed that only one player bore the brunt of supporter frustrations that we failed to capitalise on some excellent delivery’s into the box, and that man was Tammy Abraham.
And although it might seem unfair that Abraham takes sole responsibility for our failure to score, but unfortunately it comes with the territory of being Chelsea’s number 9.
Mourinho was fully prepared for Chelsea’s set up, instructing his midfield pivot to almost form a back 6 to stop the movements of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech through the middle.
’Parking the bus’ they used to call it, but Mourinho used the threat of a ever deeper Harry Kane and attacking pace of Son and Bergwijn to give Lampard and Chelsea something to think about.
Chelsea might have had control of the second half and created the better chances but it wasn’t a full on assault on the Tottenham goal. As Lampard said “the handbrake was on”.
That’s why when you get those rare moments of opportunity to carve out a decent chance, you’ve got to take them.
Abraham sadly, was found wanting.
Giroud arrived too late, and by then Mourinho had restricted our ability to get the ball into the box. It’s probably due to a lack of game time and minutes to find his feet, that Giroud tamely passed the ball into the hands of Hugo Lloris rather than loft the ball over his fellow countryman into the net.
Giroud should’ve done better, but we also know he can. With Abraham there is a nagging fear that he won’t make the relevant strides to become an elite level centre forward.
He has improved this season compared to last, especially in his all round game, but it’s again the big teams, the moments when you need players to step up that he seems to struggle with.
And that obviously makes the use of Werner wide left even more frustrating.
A return to fitness of Christian Pulisic might mean that Abraham couldn’t have picked a worse time to have a stinker.
Hopefully Werner is put back centrally, even though he perhaps is more dangerous playing off a bigger striker.
The positive? Abraham has the right mentality, he works hard, has shown that he can take criticism of his game and work on them.
At just 22-years-old, he’s got plenty of time to continue to develop, and learning from Werner and Giroud is only going to help that development.
But he will continue to take the flack after missed opportunities, because he wears the number 9 and the strikers job is to score goals and win matches.
Unfortunately for Abraham, he plays in a position that doesn’t really allow you the time needed to develop.
Reece James and Mason Mount are young, but play in positions that allow them to be coached through the game by senior players, if needs be.
We’ve all seen the impact Thiago Silva’s had on James’ defending.
Abraham is by and large on his own and any missed chances or poor performances are going to be heavily scrutinised because on the whole they’ll have an affect on the result.
It comes with the territory.
As Dan Silver pointed out on Twitter, Mourinho once said of Didier Drogba “judge him when he leaves”.
Perhaps we should take that same advice with Abraham.