Here is your Chelsea morning digest for Saturday, May 16.
Ziyech can bring the best of Abraham
This season, Tammy Abraham proved that he can replicate his goalscoring exploits in the Championship at a higher level. The Chelsea striker, who returned from his loan spell at Aston Villa ready to stake his place at Stamford Bridge, scored 13 goals this season.
However, while that number is far superior to any teammate — Chelsea’s next highest-scorer is Mason Mount with six — only one has come since the turn of the year. In fact, more than half came in a rich vein of form across three successive games in late-August and early-September.
Abraham has lacked consistency.
Chelsea have also been unable to provide proper service. Willian leads the team with five assists on the year, and per WhoScored, no player created more than chances per game. Perhaps, then, new signing Hakim Ziyech can be the man to unlock the best out of Abraham.
That is the argument of football.london’s Chelsea correspondent, Oliver Harbord. Over the past four Eredivisie campaigns, Ziyech has provided 11, 15, 13 and 12 assists. These numbers rival Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas and suggest that Ziyech can provide the type of service that Abraham needs to flourish.
Coutinho would have to do u-turn to secure Chelsea move
With reports claiming that Frank Lampard is keen to add some creativity to his team, on-loan Bayern Munich midfielder Philippe Coutinho has been consistently named as a potential solution.
The Brazilian will return to Barcelona at the end of the season and could be available, either on a permanent — though that is unlikely given his wages and the financial pressures of the current climate — or temporary basis.
But if Coutinho was to make the Stamford Bridge switch, he would have to make a u-turn on his previous convictions.
“Manchester United is a great club, I have players there and I have all the respect for them, but as far as Philippe goes it would be an extremely difficult to a near-impossible move,” his agent, Kia Joorabchain said on talkSPORT last year.
“It would be very difficult for Philippe to play for any of Liverpool’s rivals, because he has such a great affinity towards Liverpool. His time there was fantastic.”
Joorabchian then went one step further, revealing that Coutinho would struggle to sign for any Premier League team that isn’t Liverpool: “Every time we’ve spoken about it we’ve had that same conversation, he would find it hard to play for another club in the Premier League.”
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The position Chelsea must address first
Chelsea have been routinely linked with a move for Jadon Sancho or Coutinho as Lampard searches for an offensive spark to his team. However, as Chelsea correspondent Oliver Harbord writes for football.london, there is a position that the Blues must address first: the defence.
This season, Chelsea have conceded 39 goals in 30 Premier League games. It is the worst record in the top seven. In fact, with only one goal worse off, Spurs and Burnley are the only teams to have conceded more in the entire top half.
Chelsea also ranked second-worst in the Champions League group behind Lille. Lampard’s side also capitulated in the first leg versus Bayern Munich, conceding three goals.
Lampard has rotated through four centre-backs: Antonio Rudiger, Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen and Fikayo Tomori.
He also has issues at left-back, especially if he plays a back four, while Reece James is set to inherit the right-back position from Cesar Azpilicueta and is seemingly the only settled position along the backline at present.
While Chelsea fans may dream of Sancho and Coutinho, it is the defence that needs work first.