Not since Didier Drogba ten years ago has the Premier League Golden Boot been won by a player donning the blue of Chelsea. But could all that be set to change with the emergence of one of their own in Tammy Abraham?
A blistering start to the campaign has Chelsea’s newest number nine an early frontrunner in the scoring stakes and a genuine contender for the prestigious end of season accolade.
Let’s chew over the odds and discuss how backing the Chelsea youngster now could see you quids in come May.
Tammy on time
Timing is everything for a striker. Not only when trying to beat the offside trap on the pitch, but off the pitch too.
Three successive loan spells in which Abraham proved himself a capable Championship striker at Bristol City and Aston Villa, but an unknown Premier League quantity after a lean period at Swansea, the 22-year old had reached a crossroads in his career.
Either stay and show his worth to the side he joined as an eight-year-old boy, or, move on to pastures new. Fortunately for Abraham, the decision was made for him.
Chelsea’s much-publicized transfer embargo was going to force the club into making use of a previously shunned batch of youth players. And the situation was to be headed by Frank Lampard, a club legend with a philosophy based on giving young players a chance.
Seizing the opportunity
While Abraham has shown true striker’s instincts by being in the right place at the right time career-wise, a top striker, and particularly, one so young, must also deliver the goods when afforded the chance.
Not helped by Chelsea’s opening day thrashing at Old Trafford and a penalty miss in the final of the Super Cup early on, doubts were raised regarding Abraham’s ability to thrive on the big stage. How he has quelled that scepticism though.
Seven goals in three games at the back end of August and early September – including two braces and a first Chelsea hat-trick – leaves Abraham with a tally of eight from nine starts so far and an average of a goal every 92 minutes – a rate bettered only by Sergio Aguero.
What’s more, discounting the retired Jamie Vardy, no English player has scored more than Abraham, a feat which brought a second and well-deserved call-up to the England squad.
In terms of stats, Abraham leads the way for shots on target on 17 and is unsurprisingly among the top five players in the league for shots at goal. And his goal tally could be far greater if he wasn’t guilty of spurning 7 big chances, though, on the plus side, shows he is getting in the right positions.
The numbers confirm Abraham’s arrival as a Premier League striker in red hot form. But how do the bookies rate his chances of keeping that going?
Back Tammy before the odds take a tumble
Despite the sprightly start, the bookies are keeping their distance when it comes to the odds for the Golden Boot market. Understandably, Messrs Aguero, Kane, Aubameyang, Salah and Mane, all past winners and very much in the goals this term, are shorter than the 9/1 available on Abraham.
However, when you consider Aguero’s chances rely on injury and rotation, Aubameyang’s frequent positional shifts to accommodate Lacazette, the state of flux at Spurs and a Liverpool frontline known for sharing the scoring burden, the chance to make nine times the money backing Abraham represents outstanding value.
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Lampard’s main man
From the outset, Frank Lampard had no reservations placing his faith in Abraham and making him his main man ahead of experienced duo Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi.
A brave call in the scheme of things but one clearly paying dividends now. Abraham has already repaid his manager’s faith with the goals and performances required for Chelsea to keep pace in the race for a top-four spot.
Given just how long it has taken Abraham to reach this stage, don’t expect him to slow down anytime soon either. Abraham’s chance to lead the line for his boyhood club is finally here and you can bet he’s planning to make the most of it.