NORWICH, United Kingdom, Aug 24 – Tammy Abraham fired Chelsea to their first win of the Frank Lampard era as the young striker’s double clinched a 3-2 victory against Norwich on Saturday.
Lampard had gone three games without a win in all competitions since he took over as Chelsea manager, but the Blues legend finally got off the mark thanks to his faith in Abraham.
Abraham had failed to score in his three previous appearances this term, but the 21-year-old striker bagged his first goal for the club to put Chelsea ahead in the sunshine at Carrow Road.
A pulsating encounter saw Todd Cantwell equalise for Norwich before Mason Mount restored Chelsea’s advantage.
Teemu Pukki’s fifth goal in three games this season brought Norwich back on level terms before half-time, only for Abraham to give Chelsea the points with his predatory second half finish.
After a thrashing at Manchester United and a draw with Leicester in Chelsea’s first two Premier League matches, Lampard will have been encouraged by the displays of Abraham and Mount.
He has pinned his hopes on the youngsters to lead Chelsea through a potentially difficult season that sees the club under a transfer ban and without their best player following Eden Hazard’s move to Real Madrid.
While Chelsea have now conceded nine goals in four games in all competitions under Lampard, the former England midfielder will hope his team’s attacking potential keeps them afloat.
When Pedro suffered a hamstring injury in the warm-up and was replaced by Ross Barkley, it left Lampard to send out the youngest start league line-up for Chelsea in 25 years at an average age of 24 years and 208 days.
Abraham was one of the youngsters Lampard had backed to shine as he replaced Olivier Giroud after being benched against Leicester last weekend.
Subjected to racist abuse on social media after missing the penalty which saw Chelsea lose the European Super Cup penalty shoot-out against Liverpool recently, Abraham took just three minutes to reward Lampard for his decision.
Cesar Azpilicueta whipped over a precise cross and Abraham alertly drifted away from the Norwich defence to drill a fine first-time strike past Tim Krul from 10 yards.
– Touchline celebrations –
Abraham, who flourished on loan at second tier Aston Villa last season, celebrated by sprinting to the touchline to hug Lampard as the pair were mobbed by their team-mates.
Three minutes later, Chelsea’s creaky defence was exposed by Emiliano Buendia’s burst into the penalty area.
Buendia found Pukki, fresh from last weekend’s hat-trick against Newcastle, and this time the prolific Finland striker was the provider with a low cross that Cantwell turned in from close-range.
Lampard’s team responded in the 17th minute when Norwich were caught in possession outside their own area and Christian Pulisic fed Mount, the 20-year-old midfielder cutting inside and firing home for his second goal of the season.
Andreas Christensen’s point-blank header was superbly pushed over by Krul and Norwich were back on level terms in the 31st minute.
Buendia played a pass to Pukki and, with Chelsea’s defenders slow to react, the former Celtic forward demonstrated why he has taken the Premier League by storm with an angled shot that evaded Kepa Arrizabalaga’s limp attempt to save.
Mount and Pulisic were both narrowly off target, while Azpilicueta sliced over and Emerson shot straight at Krul as Chelsea pressed hard after the interval.
Azpilicueta appealed in vain for a penalty after a challenge from Marco Stiepermann, but Chelsea’s pressure was rewarded in the 68th minute.
Picked out by Mateo Kovacic, Abraham left Grant Hanley and Jamal Lewis in his wake as he jinked past the Norwich defenders before slamming a fierce strike past Krul’s mistimed dive.
Norwich’s Ben Godfrey headed against the bar moments later, while Chelsea were denied a fourth goal when Kurt Zouma’s effort was disallowed by VAR for Giroud’s foul on Krul.