Chelsea cashes out with ATM: English youngsters make impact
LONDON (AP) — Chelsea is collecting a rare currency from its “ATM”: Goals from young English academy graduates.
Abraham, Tomori and Mount.
They have scored all 11 goals in Chelsea’s five Premier League games so far.
The trio — all under the age of 21 — might only be getting its chance in the first team because of the club’s summer transfer embargo for breaching FIFA rules on the signing of youngsters.
Frank Lampard, the former Chelsea midfielder hired in the offseason, is reaping the benefits of the situation enforced on him.
Tammy Abraham netted his first Chelsea hat trick in the 5-2 win at Wolverhampton on Saturday, alongside goals from Fikayo Tomori and Mason Mount.
“I know a lot was made of the (transfer) ban giving opportunities for young players, but I thought now was his time,” Lampard said Monday, talking about Abraham.
Tomori and Mount played under Lampard at Derby, and Abraham scored 25 goals in 37 league games as Aston Villa gained promotion.
“I’ve been working hard and hopefully this can be my season,” Abraham said. “It’s up to me to keep showing the gaffer (Lampard) in every game and training session that I’m hungry and I want success.”
Tomori’s early season form has helped to vindicate Lampard’s decision to squeeze out David Luiz and sell the center back to Arsenal, where the Brazilian’s calamitous defending has proved costly for the north London club.
For so long, Chelsea’s academy players struggled to find a pathway into the first team. They were often more likely to play for Vitesse Arnhem in the Netherlands.
But England Under-21 players have now played 960 minutes for Chelsea in the Premier League this season after five games, more than any the total across a season since 2004-05, according to a BBC tally.
Willian, the oldest player in the lineup against Wolves, is pleased to be surrounded by youth on the field.
“They are now back, they started well in the league and I’m happy for them,” the 31-year-old winger said. “They can improve a lot. They can become (among) the best players in the league in the future.”
After an opening-round 4-0 loss to Manchester United, Chelsea has collected eight points from the following four league matches. It will make its Champions League return after a season-long absence against Valencia on Tuesday.
Chelsea was only able to add one player to the team this season, because Christian Pulisic’s signature was secured in January. But the 20-year-old American has been squeezed out of the team by Willian on the right flank, while Mount is on the other wing.
Willian was denied a move to Barcelona in the offseason.
“It’s true they made an offer for me, but Chelsea said no,” Willian said. “That was a good thing for me. Of course Barcelona are a big club. But I was happy to stay at Chelsea because Chelsea are a big club as well. After that, I just made my decision to stay here at Chelsea because I was happy here. My family is adapted to the city, they love London, I love London as well. That’s why I stayed.”
WOMEN’S SUPER LEAGUE
The second weekend in the Women’s Super League produced a couple of shocks.
Top-flight newcomer Tottenham collected its first points after a penalty from Rachel Furness clinched a 1-0 victory over the more established Liverpool team, which won the league in 2013 and 2014.
Chelsea, another two-time champion, just avoided defeat to Brighton. Adelina Engman netted a late equalizer to secure a 1-1 draw.
It’s two wins out of two for Manchester City and Everton, and both enjoyed 2-0 wins thanks to players grabbing doubles.
Pauline Bremer was on target for City at Reading, and Chloe Kelly scored from stunning strikes for Everton against Bristol City.