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Chelsea boss Frank Lampard is using Tammy Abraham wrongly by asking the striker to drop deep and link up play, according to Martin Keown.
Keown believes Lampard isn’t playing to Abraham’s strength by asking him to drop deep as he believes Abraham is better off playing on the shoulder of the opposition centre-backs with his teammates putting him through on goal.
“In their 4-0 defeat at Manchester United, the average positions of Chelsea’s players show that striker Tammy Abraham played deeper than midfielders Ross Barkley and Mason Mount,” Keown told Daily Mail.
“Then in their 1-1 draw with Leicester, Olivier Giroud started up front instead of Abraham and he averaged a deeper position than wide man Christian Pulisic.
“Frank Lampard obviously wants the front man to drop deep and link up play. That’s fine for Giroud. He is like the backboard in basketball. You bounce balls off him.
“He was creating chances for others against Leicester, from Mount to Pedro to N’Golo Kante. The Frenchman performs that job well. He brings others into the game and occasionally scores spectacular goals.
“But I’m not sure that is playing to Abraham’s strength. He’s much more mobile than Giroud. He has the legs and pace to burst into the box.
“Frank won’t want to abandon his style, so Abraham has to link play, but I’d like to see him playing on the shoulder of the centre half as well and his team-mates putting him through.
“He gave Virgil Van Dijk a little taste of his pace in the Super Cup. It was encouraging and I’d like to see it more. As a centre half, I hated a striker who could play with his back to goal, but also spin in behind. I never knew whether to go tight or give him a yard.
“But Abraham seems to be playing the same way as Giroud. OK, he did it at times for Villa last season, where he scored 25 Championship goals.
“In the play-off semi-final first leg against West Bromwich, for example, Abraham fronted a 4-1-4-1 formation but three of his team-mates, John McGinn, Albert Adomah and Anwar El Ghazi, played further forward than him.
“Villa won 2-1 and Abraham put away a penalty. But the trouble with dropping deep is it is then difficult to get back into the box to score himself, and that could become a problem.
“Lampard is not alone in using this system.
“Jurgen Klopp does something similar at Liverpool with Roberto Firmino. The Brazilian’s goals record is hardly terrible but it is not on the same level as Mo Salah and Sadio Mane.
“Firmino works hard for his fellow forwards. He drops deep and connects attacks. Salah and Mane are then used as what I call ‘inside forwards’ — they don’t stay stranded out wide, but come in and occupy the space between the full back and centre back.
“Lampard may want to do something similar — but is Abraham his Firmino?
“Chelsea have scored one goal in two league games so far, and that came from Mount pouncing on some dawdling by Wilfred Ndidi.
“To score goals in the Premier League, Abraham has to gamble a bit and play more than one way. Otherwise, his chance under Lampard could pass him by.”