Opinion: Is this Tammy Abraham's time to shine?
(Photo: Getty Images - Christopher Lee)

Tammy Abraham will, without question, get his chance in a Chelsea shirt this season.

But what problems does the striker face? What has he said in the lead up to the start of the new season? And will he be able to deal with the pressure and take this incredible opportunity?

Healthy competition

Abraham will have his fair share of competition for the striker role at Chelsea. Michy Batshuayi and last seasons Europa League top scorer Olivier Giroud will be his greatest competitors at the club. None of the three, though, are sure favourites to be Frank Lampard’s number one throughout the season.

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All have been given their chances during the pre-season, but Lampard has given no set indication as to who he will favour come their opening Premier League match against Manchester United.

Giroud was Chelsea’s standout player in their Europa League-winning campaign and has made more than a fair case to continue the good form he showed towards the end of last season. The Frenchman scored 11 goals in 14 games in the competition but only managed two in 27 appearances in the Premier League.

Of course, Chelsea’s new signing Christian Pulisic also has potential to play down the middle, as Eden Hazard often did for Chelsea last season, though it is thought he will be preferred out wide.

The curse of the number nine

The Chelsea number nine curse is no joke. In fact, it is quite a worrying statistic that has left supporters fearing that Abraham could be the Club’s latest player to fall victim to the detriment that the shirt brings.

Over the years, Chelsea have seen Khalid Boulahrouz, Franco Di Santo, Radamel Falcao, Steve Sidwell, Fernando Torres and more recently Gonzalo Higuain and Alvaro Morata occupy the number nine shirt.

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It is fair to say that none of these players managed to capture the hearts of the Chelsea supporters and really state their claim on Chelsea’s leading role.

On the ‘cursed’ Chelsea number nine shirt, Abraham feels as though the stigma isn’t something he is worried about.

He said: "I'm glad he offered it to me. I've heard all the rubbish about the No 9, but I'm here to play my game and do my best.

"Football brings a lot of pressure. It drives me on. It gives me the extra belief. It was my first goal in a Chelsea shirt and now that's out of the way it will be nice to push on and score some more."

The chance is there

On the flip side, Lampard has declared that Abraham will be getting his chance to lead the front-line for Chelsea. The striker was a crucial part of the Aston Villa team that beat Lampard’s Derby County to Premier League promotion in the play-off final last season.

Abraham was the division's second top goal scorer last season with 25 goals. Now, though, Lampard believes it is time for Abraham to make the step up and prove himself amongst England’s elites in the topflight.

"Tammy is hungry for goals. I like his attitude. He always wants to score," started Lampard.

"I saw it in the Championship last year. He's proved that and now it is his time to prove it for Chelsea.

"Goal scorers need confidence, so to get his goal will put him in good stead. It's vital for them to show they can be the lead striker for Chelsea. I have full confidence in them."

Backed up by his new shirt number, it is very likely that Abraham will be given more than a fair shot in the Premier League under Lampard.

Past seasons

Like many young Chelsea prospects, Abraham has spent a lot of his early career in the loan market. Since making two appearances for Chelsea since 2016, he has had spells at Bristol City, Swansea City and, most recently, Aston Villa.

His first season in the Championship with Bristol City was vastly successful; he scored 23 goals in 41 games and earned another loan move to the Premier League off the back of his performances.

Swansea gave Abraham his first taste of regular Premier League football. Making 21 appearances in the topflight, Abraham only managed five goals at the early age of 19.

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His latest stint at Villa has been, by far, his most successful one. His 25 goals and three assists helped the Championship side return to the Premier League at the second time of asking.

Time to shine?

Effectively, the time for Abraham to shine is now. Chelsea’s transfer ban means that no new strikers will join the club and he is one of only three players who could provide the firepower for Chelsea this season.

Being given the number nine shirt, Abraham will not get a better chance than this to become a regular Chelsea player. If he fails to impress at the start of the season, the experienced Giroud will most likely come in and do more than enough.

If he does well, this could be the perfect start to Abraham’s long and illustrious Chelsea career. If he fails, he can be expected to leave Chelsea… but not on another loan deal.

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