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Just How Good Is Tammy Abraham? A Deep Dive Statistical Review

Admit it, when Chelsea had the transfer ban imposed and Chelsea's striking options included Higuain, Giroud & Batshuayi, you wer...

Admit it, when Chelsea had the transfer ban imposed and Chelsea's striking options included Higuain, Giroud & Batshuayi, you were deeply worried about where goals would come from, especially with Hazard leaving.

Yet, there was still some hope. Tammy Abraham returned to Chelsea after scoring an incredible 26 goals for Aston Villa in the Championship. Tammy was raring to go and was backed by Lampard to break the number 9 curse that had haunted Chelsea for so many years. With 15 goal contributions in 20 Premier League games, Tammy has exceeded expectations. With talks of a new contract being negotiated, Chelsea's massive reliance on Tammy for their source of goals and links to new strikers such as Werner & Dembele, it's time to answer the question - just how good is Tammy Abraham?

I will be comparing the 2019/2020 Premier League statistics of  Tammy Abraham and five of the league's best strikers: Aguero, Vardy, Firmino, Kane and Aubemeyang. Whilst these statistics focus on an individual's talents, they are naturally impacted by a multitude of factors (quality of teammates, the system they play in, injuries, individual / team form, their role in the team etc) which should be taken with a pinch of salt - this is by no means conclusive as to who is the better player.

Goals per game

Strikers are simply judged by the number of goals they score per game on average.

  1. Vardy - 0.9 goals per game
  2. Aguero - 0.7 goals per game
  3. Abraham, Kane & Aubameyang - 0.6 goals per game
  4. Firmino - 0.3 goals per game
xGoals per game

A more useful statistic is expected goals (xG) which measures the quality of a shot based on several variables such as assist type, shot angle and distance from goal, whether it was a headed shot and whether it was defined as a big chance. Adding up a player or team’s expected goals can give an indication of how many goals a player or team should have scored on average, given the shots they have taken. It shows if a player is overperforming (being clinical) or underperforming (not being clinical enough) based on the quality of their chances and is a useful guide to see how a player is performing over time.

  1. Aguero - 0.88 xGoals per game (Underperforming by 0.18 goals per game)
  2. Vardy - 0.60 xGoals per game (Overperforming by 0.30 goals per game - running hot)
  3. Abraham - 0.59 xGoals per game (Overperforming by 0.01 goals per game - in line)
  4. Firmino - 0.51 xGoals per game (Underperforming by 0.21 goals per game)
  5. Aubameyang - 0.47 xGoals per game (Overperforming by 0.13 goals per game)
  6. Kane - 0.40 xGoals per game (Overperforming by 0.20 goals per game)
Shots per game

Simple math dictates that the more a striker shoots, the more likely they are to score (mindblowing right?) - that's because strikers usually have the best positions to shoot from, in and around the six yard box, thus statistically they have the best chance of scoring compared to other positions. The amount of shots per game a striker has is usually indicative of a striker's ability to get into goal scoring positions and get shots off.
  1. Aguero - 4.37 shots per game
  2. Abraham - 3.47 shots per game
  3. Firmino - 3.34 shots per game
  4. Kane - 2.87 shots per game
  5. Aubemeyang - 2.59 shots per game
  6. Vardy - 2.58 shots per game
xGoals / shots per game

Whilst having a high xG is a great indication of how good a player is in front of goal, another useful stat is how many shots they take in respect of their xGoals (xGoals per game divided by shots per game) which shows how efficient or how wasteful they are.

  1. Vardy - 0.23 xG / shots per game
  2. Aguero - 0.20 xG / shots per game
  3. Aubameyang - 0.18 xG / shots per game
  4. Abraham - 0.17 xG / shots per game
  5. Firmino - 0.15 xG / shots per game
  6. Kane - 0.14 xG / shots per game
xAssists per game

Another useful statistic to measure a player's creativity is expected assists (xA) which measures the likelihood that a given pass will become a goal assist. It considers several factors including the type of pass, pass end-point and length of pass. Adding up a player or team's expected assists gives us an indication of how many assists a player or team should have had based on their build-up and attacking play. Similarly to xG / shots taken per, the more passes a player makes, the more likely their xA will be higher, thus xA should be taken with a pinch of salt in respect to how many passes a player makes.

  1. Firmino - 0.24 xAssists per game
  2. Aguero - 0.22 xAssists per game
  3. Abraham - 0.15 xAssists per game
  4. Aubameyang - 0.13 xAssists per game
  5. Vardy - 0.12 xAssists per game
  6. Kane - 0.10 xAssists per game
Passes completed per game

In a possession-based system such as Lampard’s that has more emphasis on a direct build-up of play, higher passes completed per game are an important statistic, even for strikers, to measure how involved they are in the build-up and transitional play.

  1. Firmino - 24.5 passes completed per game
  2. Aubameyang - 16.0 passes completed per game
  3. Kane - 13.1 passes completed per game
  4. Aguero - 10.3 passes completed per game
  5. Abraham - 10.2 passes completed per game
  6. Vardy - 8.8 passes completed per game
Key passes per game

A key pass is a final pass of the ball to a player before there is an attempt at goal without scoring. Key passes are a useful statistic to compare a striker's creativity in the final third through a final decisive pass.

  1. Aguero - 1.29 key passes per game
  2. Firmino - 1.26 key passes per game
  3. Kane - 1.01 key passes per game
  4. Abraham - 0.95 key passes per game
  5. Aubameyang - 0.77 key passes per game
  6. Vardy - 0.63 key passes per game
Key passes / passes completed per game

Evaluating how many completed passes it takes for a player to make a key pass is a useful indication to analyse how efficient and effective a player is with their passes.
  1. Aguero - 0.13 key passes / passes completed per game
  2. Abraham - 0.09 key passes / passes completed per game
  3. Kane - 0.08 key passes / passes completed per game
  4. Vardy - 0.07 key passes / passes completed per game
  5. Firmino - 0.051 key passes / passes completed per game
  6. Aubameyang - 0.048 key passes / passes completed per game
Passing accuracy

Making a pass is great, making an accurate pass is even more important especially for strikers.

  1. Aguero - 80% passing accuracy
  2. Firmino - 79% passing accuracy
  3. Vardy - 73% passing accuracy
  4. Aubameyang - 71% passing accuracy
  5. Abraham & Kane - 67% passing accuracy
Possession lost per game

How often a striker loses possession is an indication of how wasteful / efficient a player is, as well as how often they attempt to play a risky, but high-rewarding pass.
  1. Aguero - possession lost 6.1 times per game
  2. Vardy - possession lost 6.9 times per game
  3. Abraham - possession lost 10.1 times per game
  4. Firmino - possession lost 11.6 times per game
  5. Aubameyang - possession lost 12.0 times per game
  6. Kane - possession lost 12.2 times per game
Final results

So what does this all mean? How good is Chelsea's number 9? If you give a player 6 points for every category they rank 1st in, 5 points for 2nd, 4 points for 3rd etc, you get the following results (see appendix for a summary of ranking and points by category).

  1. Aguero - 54 points
  2. Firmino - 37 points
  3. Abraham - 36 points
  4. Vardy - 34 points
  5. Aubameyang - 28 points
  6. Kane - 25 points
This is certainly by no means a conclusive study, I’ve assumed that each category, that I have ranked each striker by, is equally weighted when it isn’t. For example, xGoals per game is a far more important statistic as a striker compared possession lost per game, however, I have given them the same weighting for the ease of comparison. The eye test is important, however as fans naturally we are biased towards certain players, thus statistics prove to be an unbiased source of information to interpret.

So, in a Chelsea team that lost their best player, under a new manager learning the trade and in a team that lacks creativity and goals, Tammy Abraham is ranking very respectfully amongst some of the best strikers in the league. And the crazy thing is, Abraham is far younger than all of the strikers in this statistical comparison, so the only way is up for Tammy, especially as Chelsea inevitably strengthens in the coming transfer windows to fix their creativity issues. Tammy has already shown he has the ability to press, to be in the right place at the right time through his clever movement and most importantly, to score goals. Tammy is certainly far from the finished product, he needs to continue to improve his hold up play which he has done since the start of the season, as well as improving how lethal he is in the air to become an aerial nightmare for defences across the country. Whilst Chelsea certainly need to sign a back-up striker to reduce the reliance on Tammy and give him much needed rest at times, Chelsea do not need to sign a striker that takes away Tammy's starting place.


Written by - JMH @ChelseaCentral_
Edit by - Kristen @KristenPulisic

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