ANOTHER Chelsea opportunity. Another Chelsea blank for Tammy Abraham.
And while it is far too easy to get hung up on statistics, the numbers do not look too clever for the man the Blues hierarchy are banking on.
Abraham’s return to SW6 after his loan spell at Aston Villa was supposed to represent lift-off for his Chelsea career.
Frank Lampard’s first season in charge has only just begun, of course.
Abraham, too, has only started one of those first three games.
But the highlights – should that be lowlights? – reel is not exactly one for his agent to start putting together when it comes to new contract demands.
That early strike against the post at Old Trafford deserved to finish in the back of the net.
But it was Abraham who was out-muscled by Harry Maguire for the turnover that resulted in United’s second goal.
Then, after inducing Adrian’s foolish touch in the box for the extra-time penalty equaliser against Liverpool in Istanbul, Abraham first missed an absolute sitter and then saw his decisive shoot-out spot-kick saved.
And on Sunday, having come on in a bid to turn the game with Leicester back Chelsea’s way, another shocker of a shot, endangering the corner flag more than the goal.
The Chelsea fans want Abraham – who has never scored from outside the box – to succeed as much as the striker does himself and they will rightly suggest the striker’s career numbers say he will come good.
Abraham has scored 60 goals in 131 senior appearances so far.
Indeed, at the same age – 21 years and 10 months – Harry Kane had scored only 52, from 137 total games.
But Kane had just come off the back of his breakthrough first full season in the Spurs first team, which saw 31 goals including 21 in the Premier League.
Abraham’s sole previous top flight season, on loan at Swansea two years ago, brought him five goals.
Indeed, breaking down Abraham’s numbers – even if you must take into account the teams he was playing for, and the belief that he might suddenly emerge as Chelsea’s leading goal threat appears harder to sustain.
Abraham has now made 42 appearances against current Premier League teams, scoring just seven goals – and five of those, against Villa, Wolves and Sheffield United, were in the Championship.
The only current top flight clubs he has scored against in the Prem are Crystal Palace and Watford.
In addition, in a total of 13 appearances against the rest of the “Big Five”, Abraham is still to get off the mark.
There is always, with a young player, especially a striker, the big question over how they will respond to adversity.
Abraham’s anguished face after that spot-kick failure in Turkey told the tale of a player who looked utterly crestfallen and almost on the brink of teams, carrying the blame on his own shoulders.
The disgusting racist abuse that followed on social media was evidence of the monster that has been unleashed, with far too many now emboldened to say things that they would previously have kept within their sick minds.
Yet the pressure on Abraham can only have grown.
Chelsea fans recall how Romelu Lukaku’s Blues career never recovered from a similar nightmare from 12 yards. On the same stage, too.
Jose Mourinho, just back in the Blues’ hotseat for the second time, watched in disbelief as Lukaku’s tame and decisive fifth penalty in the Super Cup shoot-out in Prague in 2013 was easily saved by Bayern Munich keeper Manuel Neuer.
LATEST CHELSEA NEWS
Within days, Lukaku was heading for the Stamford Bridge exit, initially on loan to Everton but, in fact, never to return in Chelsea colours.
At least Abraham knows that will not be his fate, and there was plenty of support from his team-mates and manager, as well as the Chelsea fans.
He will need all of that, and more. But not as much as he needs a goal at Norwich on Saturday.
This post written by Martin Lipton originally appeared on Football news - transfers, fixtures, scores, pictures | The Sun. Read the full post here.