After Kai Havertz and Tammy Abraham impressed in Carabao Cup thrashing, Chelsea’s forwards are battling it out for starting places leaving Frank Lampard with a headache… what are the manager’s options in attack?
- Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has selection dilemmas for his attacking four
- Competition is heating up in winger, striker and No 10 role at Stamford Bridge
- New signing Kai Havertz and Tammy Abraham impressed in 6-0 win vs Barnsley
- Sportsmail looks at all of Chelsea’s options in each of their attacking positions
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has several selection headaches to come as the club’s star-studded attackers start to up the ante in the bid for a starting place.
Competition for the front four places out wide on both wings along with the striker and No 10 role are heating up following the Blues 6-0 thrashing of Barnsley in the Carabao Cup.
New signing Kai Havertz, who had struggled to impose himself in the first two Premier League matches, scored his first professional hat-trick against the Championship side and calmed the nerves following his £75million move.
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has selection dilemmas over his strongest attacking four
New signing Kai Havertz and Tammy Abraham impressed during their 6-0 win against Barnsley
Tammy Abraham also impressed up front for Chelsea as he opened the scoring after many believed his Chelsea career would be over following the signing of Timo Werner earlier in the window. Olivier Giroud also got on the scoresheet only to intensify the battle for the striker spot that little more.
Havertz is likely to assume the No 10 role moving forward, but he has arrived at a club that were already very well equipped in the attacking midfield position. Mason Mount, Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are all fighting away for that starting place alongside the German.
Meanwhile, with Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech to return to full fitness after picking up injuries, Lampard is set for some pretty tough dilemmas in the weeks ahead.
Here, Sportsmail looks at all of Chelsea’s options in each of their attacking positions and the current pecking order for starting places.
Chelsea have three out-and-out strikers among their ranks. Timo Werner, Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud.
Werner recently made a £50m switch from RB Leipzig to Stamford Bridge and has impressed the Chelsea fanbase so far. He has started both Premier League matches up front, and whilst he has not yet found the back of the net, he won a penalty against Brighton for his intuition and makes some great runs for balls over the top.
Abraham looked to fit into the No 9 role like a glove this time last season, after the club’s transfer ban meant they turned to their youth stars for some inspiration – and Abraham delivered at first.
£50million signing Timo Werner is yet to score but has impressed with his work-rate and runs
However, from early December 2019 the goals dried up and he seemed to have lost his chance to cement himself as the main striker at the club.
Despite this, he made an impressive account of himself, albeit against Barnsley, but he will be waiting in the wings for his chance and hungry to learn from his German team-mate.
Whilst Olivier Giroud has been a great servant to the club, as he had been at Arsenal, he doesn’t have the star-studded quality surrounding him now in the new-look Chelsea squad. He will always be a great squad rotation player, if he is happy to play that role.
Tammy Abraham made impressive account of himself after many thought his future was over
Attacking midfield/ No 10 role
This position is where Chelsea and Lampard will have the most headaches as the simple fact is there is an overcrowding of attacking midfielders in Chelsea’s dressing room.
New signing Kai Havertz is impossible to look past in the pecking order, following his huge money move from Bayer Leverkusen. Whilst he did get off to a slightly shaky start in the first two Premier League outings – and with good reason following his lack of training beforehand – he got down to business in the Carabao Cup.
His hat-trick only magnified his goalscoring ability from the attacking position. He is a special talent and an all-rounder that could score just as many as the striker but also rack up the assists – much like Lampard himself.
Club record signing Kai Havertz is Chelsea’s most gifted attacking midfielder for the No 10 role
Looking elsewhere, Mason Mount has been another Chelsea academy graduate that has made his mark on the senior side. He has bags of ability and can spot a pass that not many others can.
What goes in Mount’s favour is his versatility around the front four. He can play out wide just as much as he can play in the No 10 role. Whilst this may hinder his chance to cement a place week in, week out, there is no doubt he will be a valuable asset to Chelsea this season.
Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek find themselves more on the fringes of the starting side and not much of that is their fault. Barkley has done a good job whenever he has been called on by Lampard but much like Giroud in the striker position, lacks that star quality.
Loftus-Cheek’s case is a little more frustrating, as he spent all of last season on the physio bench when he had his best chance to break through into Chelsea’s ranks. And now he has to fight against all of the aforementioned names, it could be a boring season for these two.
Mason Mount is also a strong option to sit behind the striker but he can be versatile, too
In the second half of the disrupted 2019-20 season, Christian Pulisic quickly shot himself into stardom and was Chelsea’s best player in attack.
The American took some time to settle in London, with injuries hampering his progress, but he made an almighty statement last campaign with his dazzling runs and wonder goals.
Currently Pulisic is injured and whilst a return date isn’t known, he is beginning to train with more intensity and get back to feeling his best. There is no doubt that once he is fully fit, Pulisic will start on the left side of Chelsea’s attack.
Christian Pulisic is certainly Chelsea’s best option for the left-wing position once he is fit
Meanwhile, Mason Mount has filled in on the left side and done a very respectable job. Against Barnsley, he tee’d up Havertz for his first goal and impressed in the first two league matches.
Mount has the quality to be able to drift in-field and seamlessly work in transition with the rest of the attack, making him hard to mark.
The England international has his chance right now to try and pip Pulisic in Lampard’s preferred eleven, but it’s tough to not see the American starting once he is back.
Chelsea are lacking a world-class right winger, but still have plenty of great options to chose from as many of their attackers can drift out wide with ease.
Many believe summer arrival Hakim Ziyech will fill this hole once he recovers from an injury he picked up against Brighton in pre-season.
The former Ajax attacker is more natural out on the right, often cutting in on his favoured left-foot which has seen him make pinpoint crosses time and again or score some incredible goals.
Summer arrival Hakim Ziyech will likely be Lampard’s first-choice out on the right wing
In his absence, Callum Hudson-Odoi needs to take his chance to prove why Chelsea were right to reject numerous lucrative bids for the 19-year-old.
The winger has been a little unconvincing and is highly unlikely to be the first-choice on the right side once Ziyech is ready to go.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek can also do a shift out on the right, but similarly to Hudson-Odoi he will have to put in some pretty mind-blowing performances soon to make a case for a starting place.
Callum Hudson-Odoi has not done enough to prove he is capable of starting for the Blues
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