The current champions of Europe, Chelsea, are known for their success around the continent, along with their English domination over the last 15 years. While this image of the West London clubs remains, the Chelsea loan system is a controversial subject surrounding the club that remains on the lips of football fans. Chelsea’s work at Cobham has received bad press, due to its unethical implications, as some may presume Chelsea have no real regard for the players within their disposal, simply employing them to make a profit. In addition, Chelsea has sent 21 players out on loan, building the profiles of these players and, in doing so, increasing the growth of players’ respective financial worth. While the ethics of Chelsea’s youth procedures seem unpleasant, no one can deny that the quality Chelsea produces within their academy is the best in the country. The year 2016 was fantastic for the club’s youth set-up. as Chelsea won both the FA Youth Cup and UEFA Youth League. Within that class? Mason Mount, Ola Aina, Trevoh Chalobah, AC Milian’s Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham.
Tammy Abraham has seen the ups and downs of professional football, while still being only 24 years of age. Having succeeded in the EFL Championship with Bristol City and Aston Villa, Abraham got the opportunity to showcase his talent at his parent club. Abraham impressed during his first full campaign, scoring 18 in all competitions. Following Frank Lampard’s departure and the arrival of Thomas Tuchel, Tammy Abraham’s fortune took a massive downturn. After being excluded from various matchday squads and not even being placed onto the bench during the Champions League final despite being the club’s highest goalscorer, the English striker decided to jump ship and exchange England for Italy. The summer of 2021 saw Tammy join José Mourinho’s AS Roma, and upon his arrival, his new manager discussed his new striker, stating: “I am trying to create a monster of a forward for Gareth Southgate. Unless he doesn’t have proper eyes and still doesn’t call him up with England”. If José Mourinho wanted a monster of a striker, then he’s certainly got one in Tammy Abraham.
This tactical analysis and scout report will discuss the Roma forward’s strengths, looking into how he currently stands as Serie A’s fourth-highest scorer with 15 goals. Additionally, I will look into how Abraham can improve as he enters the best years of his career.
The shot profile of any player can be broken down into two categories, the first being the volume of shots produced by said player. The second category which can be observed and contextualised is the quality of shots taken. Using this framework, we can get a true picture of the type of player Tammy Abraham is. When discussing the volume, Abraham does not shoot at the same volume as a Paulo Dybala, averaging 4.63 shots per 90 minutes, or a Victor Osimhen. The English striker produces 2.89 shots per 90, which is around average for strikers within the Italian top-flight.
His shot volume has slightly taken a hit when compared to previous seasons, as when playing for Chelsea back in 2019/20, Abraham averaged 3.58 shots per game. His match-to-match shooting numbers being on a slight decline can be chalked up to several reasons — the first being his creative numbers have taken a small upturn, meaning his game has slightly altered. Another explanation is the team he plays for, and the style Mourinho champions. The Portuguese manager’s Roma side does not try and control the ball too heavily, as they average just over 50% possession in the Serie A this season. This means chances may come limited to the attacking talent. Frank Lampard’s Chelsea made use of a more possession style a few season ago; attempting to work the ball through the third patiently. On the other hand, Roma’s play is more front to back, making use of quick transitions. With the likes of Lorenzo Pellegrini creating shooting chances from central areas or receiving crosses from the wing-backs, Tammy can adapt to any situation.
Abraham may not sit at the top of the list for shots per game, but through the quality of shots, we can see the calibre of the 24-year-old striker. Tammy Abraham sits at the top of the pile within the whole of Serie A for non-penalty expected goals. His non-penalty expected goal tally so far this season equals 0.59 per game, with Duván Zapata and Lautaro Martinez in second with 0.53 per game. There are instances when what occurs in games and data do not match and create conflicting messages, but this is not the case for Tammy Abraham. Through observation, the Roma forward is a fantastic poacher, able to work off the shoulder of the last defender. His movements are sharp, but not one-dimensional. Abraham can dart into space when appropriate but can also simply stand still waiting for space to be created ahead of him.
Abraham and space go hand-in-hand, but this is not to declare that the young forward cannot create for himself. Abraham obtains clean receiving skills, which aid him when his back is to his goal. Thanks to his quick feet, when he pins the defender he can create separation from the opposition defender by shifting the ball past him. From there, Abraham can shoot at goal. His shooting quality can be depicted by data, and this notion can also be echoed by the quality of his technique also. Abraham obtains clean ball striking, with the ability to pick out any corner he wishes. With this being said, Abraham is similar to his England national teammate Harry Kane, with regard to him wanting to consistently direct the ball low and hard into the bottom corner when finishing. in addition, he also showcases precision on his weaker left foot along with his head, giving the young striker weapons of choice.
Tammy Abraham’s shot profile is wonderful but, at times, quite baffling. As mentioned prior, the shot quality is of the highest standard so far this year in Italy, but both stats and in-match performances suggest he can still score more. Simply put, Abraham has a slight tendency to miss the occasional guilt-edged chance. In addition, Abraham has underperformed his expected goals for the last three seasons. This could be a few things; the first possible takeaway is Abraham is not as clinical as some would like, regardless of his scoring consistently. Some could also argue he has been slightly unlucky, and his stats should even out eventually.
Tammy Abraham carries a large frame, as he stands at nearly 6’3, with a slim build. The Englishman obtains good body control, as he can shield the ball from the opposition. While Abraham is quite rangy, he is also quite acrobatic, capable of the spectacular such as overhead kicks and scorpion kicks from time to time. Further, Abraham does dwell on his upper-body strength to shift his opponents during aerial duels. With his height and strength, the Roma attacker is also quick, as he can run the channels effectively, along with making darting runs in-behind the opposition’s backline. In general, he offers a good package within the physicality department. While being quick mentally, he acquires the speed to make clever runs, together with the strength to facilitate hold-up play, allowing teammates to join the attack.
A typical comment regarding football’s ‘big men’ is usually: “he’s got good feet for a big man”. Regarding Tammy Abraham’s technical prowess, the 24-year-old striker does have good feet for any player, let alone a big man. While being a predator in and around the box, Abraham at times will drop slightly deeper and contribute to build-up. Furthermore, the Roma forward showcases good link-play; he’s able to play nice one-two’s with his teammates before sprinting forward while he’s also able to bypass a defender when positioned out wide with either a nice body swerve or a step-over or two.
As mentioned previously, Abraham’s shot count has taken a slight hit over the last season. Conversely, his creation has improved slightly. So far this season, he has amassed 1.05 key passes per game, being the highest tally in his topflight career, as well as 2.49 shot-creating actions per match. These stats are no indication that Abraham is a crossbreed striker and playmaker. These stats do showcase that while being a fantastic spotter of space within damaging positions, Abraham can drop deeper sometimes and contribute in other ways.
Here Tammy Abraham has started for a slightly deeper position with two teammates on either side of him creating width and stretching the opposition.
From this point, Abraham does well to drive with the ball cleanly upfield and survey his options within attack. Abraham decides to make use of Roma’s left-winger, and in doing so, slides in a perfectly weighted ball into his teammate’s path.
Another example of the English forward showcasing chancing creating talent, can be seen when Roma played against Napoli. Here, Abraham is in possession, 1v1 against an opposition midfielder. To bypass him, he makes a slight movement to the right, before quickly changing his movement to the left, creating a yard of space to exploit.
Abraham can now drive through the pitch uncontested, allowing him to play a wonderfully cute passing in-behind, to catch out the opposition’s backline on the blindside.
The Chelsea youth and loan system has always been a major talking point in the sport; mostly for the questions the system raises regarding ethics. While the value of the system is rightfully questioned, one aspect of the process cannot be ignored — the work done at Cobham is very effective.
Conor Gallagher, Mason Mount and Trevoh Chalobah are a few names to have been promoted from Chelsea’s youth ranks. Within England, the three players mentioned are in the forefront of fans’ minds because of the Premier League exposure, but one name we must not forget is Tammy Abraham. After his days were numbered at his boyhood club, the English striker decided to take his talents to Rome, playing for Jose Mourinho’s Roma. So far, Abraham has excelled, displaying instinctive ability within the penalty area, while being able to drop back and support others.
The forward is showing he has the skillset to play as a lone number nine while having the technical capacity to combine within a striker partnership. With 15 goals to his name so far, Abraham is certainly demonstrating his goalscoring ability is not only limited in England. Additionally, Abraham should be applauded for making such a brave move abroad, as this is something the majority of English players do not consider when the going gets tough. With this being said, if Tammy Abraham continues on this path, a flight back to the Premier League is certainly on the cards.