Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that Tammy Abraham’s absence from the match day squad in Saturday’s 5-2 defeat to West Brom was a tactical decision and not injury-related.
We already knew that Timo Werner was likely to start up front against West Brom after Tuchel confirmed it in his pre-match press conference.
But the decision to exclude Abraham from the matchday squad certainly surprised some people.
The 23-year-old recently returned to training after battling with an ankle injury for quite some time.
And despite the lack of minutes, he still leads Chelsea’s goalscoring charts in the Premier League (six goals) alongside Mason Mount and Jorginho.
Some suspected that the England international suffered another setback, but Tuchel has confirmed that it was not the case.
“He [Abraham] was not in the squad [because] I [had] to nominate 18 players,” the Chelsea manager explained to talkSPORT.
“There are tough choices to make. We take the choices of what the game demands, of what we predict, of the substitutions that we have.
“In the end, we have to select 18 players for more or less 20 positions. So we have to leave three players out and Tammy was one of the three players.
“It’s nothing personal or nothing big.
“He has the same chance to play every three days like everybody else.”
While the ankle problem clearly did not help, things have not looked promising for Abraham recently.
He has only made two starts in the Premier League since Tuchel took over (v Burnley and Southampton) and was hooked at half-time on both occasions.
Given Kai Havertz’s recent emergence as a central forward option for Tuchel, Abraham might have fallen further behind in the pecking order.
This is not the end of the road for Abraham’s season, though.
Unlike several other positions, Tuchel does not seem to have a clear preference for the No.9 role as shown by his tendency to tweak his attacking line.
And at the moment, the Chelsea manager only has two natural striker options in Abraham and Olivier Giroud if he needs one.