Lampard: Chelsea can cope with possible Abraham absence

Frank Lampard insists Chelsea have the firepower to cope if England hitman Tammy Abraham’s ankle problem keeps him sidelined for several weeks.

Abraham was carried from the field with an ankle injury scare at full-time as Chelsea were held to a 2-2 Premier League draw by 10-man Arsenal at Stamford Bridge.

Hector Bellerin drilled Arsenal to a share of the spoils after Cesar Azpilicueta had thought his late strike had earned the Blues victory.

David Luiz was sent off against his former club with Jorginho slotting a penalty for Chelsea, but Gabriel Martinelli hit back for the Gunners in a turbulent west London clash.

Asked for the severity of Abraham’s injury, Lampard replied: “He has had ice on his ankle, but I haven’t spoken to him yet so I don’t know.”

When asked if Chelsea could cope without Abraham, who has 13 Premier League goals this term, Lampard said: “Yes, yes; and we have the players there to do that.

“I hope he’s not (out for several weeks), but then if he is then yes, we do have the players.”

Chelsea boss Lampard refused to dampen down links to want-away Paris St Germain striker Edinson Cavani on Monday, and injury to Abraham could increase the Blues’ need to recruit a striker in the January window.

Edinson Cavani
Edinson Cavani

Olivier Giroud wants to join Inter Milan to link back up with ex-Blues boss Antonio Conte, while Chelsea also have Michy Batshuayi as their other frontline striker.

Lampard reiterated Chelsea are more likely to look at loan deals than permanent transfers this month, as he plots his long-term strategy at the club.

“I know and I feel where we need strengthening,” said Lampard.

“It’s not going to be just January, this is more of a short-term window for us.

“This season has given us some answers on the pitch in where we need to improve. But that’s not so much for this window.”

Lamenting his side’s inability to seal victory against Arsenal’s 10 men, Lampard added: “At that point when you go 2-1 up, you’ve got to get the basics right.

Frank Lampard was frustrated to see his team pegged back
Frank Lampard was frustrated to see his team pegged back

“The second goal was soft, it’s soft for a right-back to cut inside and roll it into the far corner. We have to be honest about that.”

Arsenal boss Arteta revealed he almost substituted goalscorer Gabriel Martinelli when pondering a defensive rejig in the wake of Luiz’s red card.

The former Gunners midfielder admitted his relief at holding his nerve and allowing the 18-year-old Brazilian to stay on the field.

“I was thinking about taking Martinelli off, I was thinking about that – but I changed my mind,” said Arteta.

“I was thinking about that, and then I thought ‘I don’t want to send that message to the team’. I wanted to keep us as we were and give us a chance.

“I asked the players to be accountable for what they do. So it was a great response from them.

Gabriel Martinelli scores Arsenal's first equaliser
Gabriel Martinelli scores Arsenal's first equaliser

“To play in this stadium the way he has, and with 10 men for us, it’s fantastic, especially against Azpilicueta who I think is one of the best full-backs in the league.

“This shows the character, the fight and the leadership of the players. You have to really stand up in this kind of situation.

“I told them when someone makes a mistake, that can happen, but what cannot happen is that we do not stand up.

“But everyone did. Everyone believed at half-time we could stand up, and we did.

“I wasn’t expecting Hector to score with his left foot obviously! But I’m very happy.”