by James O'Conners
In Saturday’s 5-2 win for Chelsea away at Wolves, Tammy Abraham continued his superb form with a hat-trick whilst Fikayo Tomori got only the third goal of his senior career from a position on the left of a back three.
Like a few other members of this Chelsea squad, a first Uefa Champions League appearance could be coming the way of the 21-year-old duo.
Abraham’s hat-trick was a continuation of his excellent all-round displays and variety of finishes this season.
For the first goal, he was alive to a loose ball in the box and spun to put the ball back across the despairing dive of Rui Patricio. It was a better finish than many will have noticed purely because of that quick thinking and placement.
For the second goal, Abraham managed just a slight tug on Conor Coady to get in front of him and head home Marcos Alonso’s cross. That sort of superb movement is regularly overlooked, but it again shows how well coached the striker is. His movement to arrive at the last moment at the front post has been drilled into him from a young age.
The hat-trick goal showed a side of Abraham that not many will have seen; he uses his studs on the ball to bring Coady to a stop, before excellent quick touches and a burst of speed to go past him and fire into the bottom corner.
No wonder the Chelsea man has asked for an upgrade on his speed rating in FIFA 2020!
Ian Wright described the treble on Match of the Day by saying: “What I like about the first goal is that once he gets the touch, you think he’s going the other way but he pulls it back across the keeper.
"He can stretch the defence and once he stands you up, look how quick his feet are.”
The rest of Abraham’s performance was mostly good, and while he scored an unlucky own goal as Kepa Arrizabalaga pushed a shot onto him, he also did some good defending from set-plays.
Going forward, he made constant runs into the channels to exploit the space to the sides of the back three, and he competed very well in the air.
The Valencia game on Tuesday is likely to see Abraham keep his place, but Chelsea do have other options in Olivier Giroud and former Los Ches loanee, Michy Batshuayi.
Considering how well Giroud played in the UEFA Super Cup against Liverpool and the busy fixture list for the club, there is sure to be some temptation for Frank Lampard to rotate his side with a home league match against the Reds on Sunday.
In defence, Tomori’s chances of keeping his place have increased with Antonio Rudiger’s groin injury ruling him out of the match. Saturday’s match saw Tomori play on the left of a three-man central defence, something he did on loan at Hull City in the 2017-18 season. The big story was his wonder goal from 30 yards.
Tammy Abraham summed up the goal from his friend perfectly, saying in his post-match interview: "I was thinking 'don’t shoot, Fikayo', but everyone is delighted for him.
“In training, he’s been trying it every day and smashing windows but today it paid off – it was a great strike.
"We were the last people off the pitch because we were discussing how we’ve all scored in the same game for Chelsea. We’ve dreamt of that since we were little boys and we made it happen."
Tomori’s build-up play was relatively competent, but there were a number of giveaways on his weaker left side and one attempted dribble where he was caught on the ball.
However, his role in the second goal was exactly what you need from your side central defenders in a back three. If space opens up, carrying the ball forward can draw opponents out and leave attacking players free. That run, and the weight of his pass with his left foot to Mason Mount inside the box, made that goal.
Significant show of faith from Lampard in Tomori to retain the 21-year-old in the heart of his three-man defence while dropping Zouma to the bench. Tomori/Rudiger as a duo has immense potential. pic.twitter.com/4kkV17Ku0Z— Ed Dove (@EddyDove) September 14, 2019
His stats by full-time were highly impressive – 89 touches, 86.6% passing accuracy, seven out of eight duels won (87.5%), four tackles made and a massive eight interceptions.
The pace of the Canada-born defender was crucial to protect the space on the left flank as Adama Traore versus Marcos Alonso was a pace mismatch and a potential area to exploit for Wolves. In the end, Traore was taken off after 55 minutes.
The sale of David Luiz has created a pathway for Tomori, and Lampard deserves credit for his faith in the academy graduate.
Whether Lampard will give Tomori a third start in a row against Valencia remains to be seen. It is likely that the side will revert to a back four to get an extra man into the side in central midfield, so it looks like a straight choice between Kurt Zouma and Tomori to partner Andreas Christensen.
On this evidence, the young defender would not be fazed with the occasion.
If he does find himself on the bench, he should not be disheartened. He has taken his chance and is now a genuine contender to make a starting place his own in coming months.