Tammy Abraham, Olivier Giroud

Following a memorable month of goalscoring form for Olivier Giroud, his place in Chelsea’s starting 11 against Arsenal is unlikely due to no fault of his.

Tammy Abraham was handed a start in the derby against West Ham after a run of two defeats to Everton and Wolves. Injuries to their wingers limited the options in wide areas meaning the crosses into Giroud were reduced, resulting in consecutive ineffectual performances.

Hence, Abraham wrapped up the vital win over The Hammers with a brace in the final 12 minutes. The manner of the goals – predatory finishes from moves he started with his holdup play – will have been pleasing for the striker and his manager.

The 23-year-old, who has undoubtedly broken the curse of the Chelsea number nine shirt, looks set to start and extend Arsenal’s winless run stretching back seven games since November 1.

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Tammy Abraham
Tammy Abraham is primed to start against Arsenal. (Richard Pelham/NMCPool)

Indeed, Chelsea are unbeaten in Abraham’s seven league starts, while he has registered five goals and two assists at a rate of one every 115 minutes.

The team scores more goals when Tammy starts, and pertinently, his budding linkup with summer signing Timo Werner stands him in good stead as the German works through a nine-game goal drought.

Perhaps Lampard could spring a tactical surprise by dropping Werner to the bench against Arsenal. Given Abraham’s form and the fact they could be without their first choice fullbacks, the use of two natural wingers in Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi will provide width against Arsenal’s backline, with the prospect of Werner coming on to devastating effect in the second half. 

The competition for places at Chelsea has been fierce as Frank Lampard has to select between Abraham’s work rate and ability to run in behind against Giroud’s link-up play and aerial presence. The Frenchman has scored six times from five games in December and is prone to scoring important goals, however, he might be most useful as a substitute against his former team.

The blueprint to beating Arsenal is apparently straightforward. Let them have possession in their defensive third and watch The Gunners labour for incisiveness to create chances inside the box.

Alongside meticulous defending of crosses into the box, a mid-press would be best-suited to exploit second-balls and hit on the break. Abraham scored a late winner from a swift counterattack in the final game of 2019 at The Emirates and would be hoping for similar fortunes.


Arsenal are in a rough patch of form in 15th place and only four points ahead of the relegation zone. As pressure continues to mount on the Gunners in the form of Sam Allardyce’s declaration that they are indeed relegation rivals, they are at their lowest ebb after midweek cup defeat, knowing a gutsy derby performance would go a long way to spark a revival.

Tammy Abraham must emphasize Chelsea’s place as overwhelming favourites with his efforts as the focal point of the team.


Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin

Chief Editor of the Football Castle, Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin is a football junkie and writer of the beautiful game.


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