But what it does show is that Frank Lampard’s side are far from the finished product and that somewhat strengthens the need for Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech if they want to challenge for trophies next season.
So far this season we have seen Chelsea praised for their development with a young and relatively inexperienced squad. Yet that will only get a club so far with the desire to return to their glory days.
In order to win trophies again, relying on Tammy Abraham as the club’s main centre-forward may not be the long-term answer when you consider that this has been his first full season in the Premier League. Indeed, he has impressed with 13 league goals yet a lack of consistency to produce when needed most means that Werner’s arrival next season could be all the more important.
Against a struggling team like West Ham, Abraham should be expecting to threaten more than he did on Wednesday night and such a lack of good performances on a consistent basis partly justifies why Chelsea have been bold in the transfer market.
While Lampard deserves credit for what he has achieved with this group of players, being able to take them to the next level requires something less tangible than someone who is going to guarantee you a certain amount of goals a season. That being star quality.
Let’s not forget that Eden Hazard only left the club last summer. A player that had produced some iconic moments in a Chelsea shirt. One that single-handedly contributed to multiple major honours.
In Werner, Chelsea are signing a player that will help alleviate some of the goal-scoring pressure Abraham has been shouldering this season. The nature of the Blues’ defensive mistakes has, like on Wednesday night, cost them dearly this season and so out-scoring teams has been the primary method of picking up points.
Therefore, signing a player who can produce vital moments at crucial parts of matches will be a welcome addition, not only for this current squad but also with a view to the future when they aim to mount a title challenge.
As well as scoring at an extraordinary rate this season, eight of Werner’s 34 goals in all competitions have directly influenced the result of a match whether that be salvaging a draw, or scoring a match-winning goal. In contrast, only four of Abraham’s 15 goals have carried the same weight, which shows the decisive quality that Werner’s arrival will undeniably bring to Stamford Bridge.
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Ziyech, too, stands as a player who has performed at the very top of European football. His role in helping Ajax to the semi-finals of the Champions League last season outlined his quality and, while it remains to be seen where Lampard will play him, the 27-year-old brings something different to Chelsea’s current options going forward.
Kai Havertz’s suitability to Chelsea could well strengthen in the coming weeks if they fall to similarly disappointing defeats, with 50 percent of the goals the Bayer Leverkusen man has scored this season having directly changed the course of a game which may be something for Lampard to consider.
Of course, finding a place for all of the attacking options Lampard has at his disposal will be a task in itself. But preventing disappointing defeats like on Wednesday can only be done with proven quality on the pitch.
Such a train of thought doesn’t throw Abraham’s development into question. He has been a revelation this season and performed far better than a lot of people had expected. Yet adding the proven quality of Werner and Ziyech will most likely address some of the issues shown at the London Stadium on Wednesday night, and add that star quality Chelsea have been missing since Hazard departed for Real Madrid.