The new season is just over a week away and Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard still is unsure who is number one striker is. With Chelsea currently under a transfer ban, the Chelsea head coach has the choice of three strikers. Chelsea kick off their premier league campaign away at Manchester United, by then Lampard is hoping his striking dilemma is sorted.
Olivier Giroud is currently the first-choice candidate to lead the line for the Blues this season. But he will have competition from the returning Tammy Abraham and Michy Batshuayi.
Lampard has only had one full season in management which was last year with Derby County who he managed to take them to the play-off final where they were defeated by Aston Villa. In the striking department for Derby, Lampard played a 4-1-4-1 formation where he opted for just the one striker. If he implements his way of playing on the Chelsea team quickly, Lampard won’t want his lone striker to wait for the ball to come to them.
He will be looking for his frontman to be frequently moving with and without the ball during the game. As well as finishing chances, his chosen number nine will need to look across the pitch to create passing lanes and be comfortable linking the attacks. Although the chosen striker will be required to be the team’s focal point, they will need to be required defensively during matches. They will have to remain engaged during matches where they continuously press intelligently.
It seems that in Chelsea’s pre-season matches so far, Lampard will surely set-up his side in the 4-2-3-1 formation this season, which indicates that there is only one striker slot up for grabs.
This analysis looks at the three options that Frank Lampard has and what they offer Chelsea if they are picked as the main striker.
The Frenchman had a mixed season under Maurizio Sarri. He was always the second choice to Alvaro Morata and Gonzalo Higuain when the pair were at the club.
Only two goals in the Premier League last season would be a worry to Lampard if he were to choose Giroud as his main striker. But, Giroud showed his class as he was the Europa League’s top scorer with 11 goals and scored the opening goal for Chelsea in the final as they went on to beat his former employers Arsenal 4-1. At 32 his game time on the pitch is limited as last season it would be a rare sight if the French international would complete a full 90 minutes.
Giroud gives a lot to the Chelsea side as he contributes with assists as well as linking the midfield players is one of his main qualities. When you think of Giroud you think of his aerial ability and is still one of the best in the premier league.
Although Giroud has the experience, which will prove valuable as Chelsea look to compete in all competitions, Lampard may look at other options that he has at his disposal because he knows Giroud isn’t getting any younger.
The Belgian international signed for Chelsea in the 2016/2017 season when Chelsea was managed by Antonio Conte. The ‘Batsman’ was the second choice for large parts of the season as Conte preferred Spanish striker Diego Costa. During that season Batshuayi scored the decisive goal away at West Brom which clinched the league title for the Blues.
Following success in his first season at Chelsea, he would be a backup striker again, but this time to incoming striker Alvaro Morata who the Blues paid £70million to secure his services. This led to Batshuayi being loaned out to Borussia Dortmund in the January transfer window in 2018, where he flourished in Germany scoring seven goals in just ten matches.
Last season it was a mixed season for the Belgian striker. He was loaned out to Valencia at the beginning of the season before the Spanish club decided to cancel his loan deal at the halfway point in January 2019.
Chelsea completed the loan signing of Gonzalo Higuain from Juventus in that month, and it was inevitable that Batshuayi would be loaned out again. He made the switch to Crystal Palace where he formed a formidable partnership with Palace wide man Wilfried Zaha.
Batshuayi ended last season at Palace with five goals in 11 appearances, with some Palace fans hoping that they would make his loan deal permanent.
Abraham has scored goals consistently at championship level for Bristol City and more recently Aston Villa. In terms of pure finishing, he already seems ready to make the step up in the Chelsea first team and compete with Giroud.
An academy graduate of Chelsea, Abraham made his senior debut for the club in 2016 before spending a full season on loan with Championship club Bristol City. Abraham enjoyed a successful campaign which culminated in him winning the club’s player of the season, young player of the season and top goalscorer awards, becoming the first player ever to do so in a single season.
A further loan spell at Swansea City followed for Abraham, but the season ended with the club suffering relegation from the Premier League. He then joined Aston Villa in 2018 and became the first player since 1977 to score 25 goals in a single campaign for the club.
Last season at Aston Villa he averaged more shots than Giroud per 90 minutes and hit the target with 11.6 percent more of his attempts. One thing that Abraham hasn’t shown to his game is a striker that can create for others and isn’t as good in the air that his height suggests.
However, he is a lot better at getting beyond the opponent’s defence with penetrative runs. He is good with his feet as he averages more dribbles than Giroud in matches and it shows with Abraham completing 68.9 percent of his attempted dribbles. Giroud has 50 percent to his name but his game is solely built on hold-up play and linking with the attacking midfielders.
He is the perfect all-round striker Chelsea need right now and the club hasn’t replaced Diego Costa since his departure back to Atletico Madrid. Lampard will see Abraham as being a striker he can depend on as he has shown so far in pre-season his willingness to press.
Only one goal so far in pre-season for the 21-year-old which came against Barcelona. However, Chelsea are confident that the youngster will be a success in the future as Abraham has recently been handed the number nine shirt. Maybe Abraham has moved ahead in the pecking order under Lampard?
So what does Lampard do?
A transfer ban is perhaps what these three strikers would have needed as there won’t be any incomings to the striker department anytime soon. These three strikers now have a chance to prove themselves and stake a claim to head coach Frank Lampard.
All three have qualities that Lampard can utilise during the season and will be hoping that they prove themselves in the final pre-season match against Borussia Mönchengladbach. However, if Lampard were to stick with his 4-2-3-1 formation, which he has used predominately in pre-season so far then Tammy Abraham would be the ideal option. He has shown his capabilities so far and the Chelsea fans would love to see an academy graduate be given an opportunity in the first team.
Michy Batshuayi is determined to be Chelsea’s first-team striker this season and so far has proven his worth in pre-season scoring two goals. Olivier Giroud has also contributed to two goals during pre-season, but I think Abraham deserves his opportunity at being Chelsea’s first-choice striker for this upcoming season.
I can see him scoring more goals than the other two options and he is the ideal striker Lampard requires if he is to implement his style of football on his team. Although I believe Abraham is the ideal option, I can see Giroud and Batshuayi being a huge part of Chelsea’s season. I also think that when Chelsea requires a goal in a match, Lampard will opt for a 4-4-2 diamond formation where he can add an extra striker into his team. Finally, for now, in the 4-2-3-1 system, Tammy Abraham is my ideal candidate to succeed as Chelsea’s first-choice striker.
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