Tammy Abraham has recovered from a challenging start to the season, in which he missed the decisive penalty during the European Super Cup against Liverpool. Following the match, the England international suffered racial abuse on social media and supporters were left questioning his capabilities as a top-six Premier League striker. These doubts have quickly been removed, as the 22-year-old has scored ten goals in the games that have followed, emerging as a golden boot contender in the process.
Frank Lampard has managed the striker well. The decision to remove him from the firing line following the European Super Cup was key in Abraham’s development. He was reinstated to the starting line-up with a point to prove, scoring seven in three matches, including a well-taken hat-trick against Wolves. At the time of writing, the academy graduate averages a goal every 89.7 minutes with an average of 3.2 shots per game, highlighting his threat. This is a slight increase in shot volume from last season’s average (2.9) with Aston Villa in the Championship.
Abraham’s early success can be best displayed by his expected goals (xG), as they indicate that he has the quality to maintain his current scoring rate. The English striker has the highest non-penalty expected goals total with 7.2 xG according to FBRef
. Meanwhile, his xG per ninety minutes of 0.72. Only one player averages more, Sergio Aguero with 0.93 xG per ninety minutes. Considering this is the 22-year-old’s first season leading the line at Stamford Bridge, these stats are remarkable.
There are already calls for Abraham to be given a chance to lead the line for England. As captain, it is unlikely that Harry Kane will be dropped any time soon. However, a look at the stats suggest that his Chelsea rival may be a better pick for the national team.
Kane has scored six Premier League goals, one coming from the penalty spot. Meanwhile, his non-penalty expected goals for the campaign so far is 4.1, with 0.38 xG per ninety minutes. To provide context, this is the same as Watford’s Andre Gray. The doubts regarding the Tottenham striker’s form following his injury struggles are well documented. There aren’t widespread calls for him to lose his England place. However, as Abraham has an xG per ninety minutes that is nearly double, there is growing pressure on Kane.
In addition to his goal threat, Abraham offers excellent hold-up play and is able to link-up with the midfield effectively. He averages 3.1 successful aerial duels in the Premier League, while he has contributed three assists in his last five matches across all competitions. It is certainly an area of his game that is improving.
It can be unwise to expect too much from a young player, but all the indications of Abraham’s early career suggest that his current scoring run is likely to continue. He managed to maintain consistency throughout two Championship seasons with two different clubs, surpassing 20 goals in each. The spell at Swansea City was a struggle, but the system didn’t suit him and there was a lack of creativity in the team.
Jamie Vardy may be leading the scoring charts, but Abraham is leading the xG totals, which suggests that he is more likely to finish the season with more goals. This could be the finest breakthrough season for an English striker since Harry Kane. Ironically, the campaign may end with the Chelsea starlet ousting the Tottenham man from the England team. If they both continue at their current rate, that wouldn’t be a surprise.