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Chelsea curse-breaker Abraham already utterly indispensable to Lampard

02:28 GMT+4 05/12/2019
Tammy Abraham Chelsea
The 22-year-old proved in Wednesday night's 2-1 win over Aston Villa that he is absolutely integral to the Blues' hopes of success this season

John McGinn still has fond memories of Tammy Abraham from the forward's time at Aston Villa but he admitted after Wednesday night's meeting with Chelsea, "I wish he hadn't turned up tonight!"

It was easy to understand why: Abraham is the Blues' difference-maker this season, their undisputed No.9.

After missing last weekend's shock 1-0 loss at home to West Ham with a painful hip injury sustained in Valencia, Chelsea's home-grown hero returned to inspire his side to a 2-1 win over Villa at Stamford Bridge, with the 22-year-old netting the first goal before creating the second for Mason Mount.

Chelsea had been badly blunted by the Hammers. Olivier Giroud looked rusty and unsuited to the type of football that manager Frank Lampard is looking to play, but Abraham is a perfect fit, so it came as no surprise that his return to the starting line-up resulted in a much-improved performance.

Abraham's goal – which came from a cross from fellow academy graduate Reece James – was his sixth opener of the season and it eased the tension in west London after back-to-back defeats, to Manchester City and West Ham.

That makes it 11 goals in Abraham's first 14 league outings for the Blues – a record only bettered by Diego Costa (12 in 2014-15) and Nicolas Anelka (12 in 2008-09).

In addition, no Englishman has scored more goals in an entire league season for Chelsea since Lampard, who racked up 15 in 2012-13.

Abraham is a player that Lampard has always trusted but he has surpassed expectations since returning to Stamford Bridge after helping Villa secure promotion to the Premier League last season with 26 goals.

Indeed, there were fears that he might struggle after being handed the cursed No.9 shirt, which proved such a burden for the likes of Alvaro Morata and Gonzalo Higuain.

Abraham, though, never had any doubts over his ability to thrive at Chelsea.

"I heard a lot of things about the cursed No.9 shirt at Chelsea but I was willing to take that upon myself and change it," Abraham said ahead of kick-off.

"It’s a dream come true for me and, in the next 15 years, I want to create a legacy so I can sit back when I retire and know I made myself proud as Chelsea’s No.9."

After three loan spells away from the club, he's now well on his way to doing just that, and not just because of his lethal finishing.

He also holds the ball up better than Michy Batshuayi, while Giroud is unable to match his pressing ability due to his lack of pace.

Chelsea have a number of exciting attacking options but as their last two games have so clearly illustrated, everything now goes through Abraham.

When he is not scoring goals, he is creating them, as he did so wonderfully well by chesting the ball into the path of Mount, who volleyed home first time.

Chelsea still have issues to address at the back but there are no longer any doubts over their No.9.

When Abraham came off in the closing stages, all four corners of the stadium stood to applaud him.

"We know what kind of quality Tammy has," McGinn admitted afterwards. Everyone in the Premier League is now aware of it too.