Frank Lampard believes Chelsea can cope without Tammy Abraham after the talisman striker suffered an ankle injury scare in the 2-2 draw with 10-man Arsenal.
Abraham hobbled off the Stamford Bridge turf at full-time as Chelsea failed to capitalise on old boy David Luiz’s red card, thwarted by Hector Bellerin’s late equaliser.
Cesar Azpilicueta thought he had scrambled Chelsea to victory with a neat finish only to see Bellerin steal a share of the spoils, after Gabriel Martinelli’s breakaway goal had cancelled out Jorginho’s penalty.
Abraham boasts 13 Premier League goals for Chelsea in his breakthrough top-flight campaign with the Blues, but boss Lampard insists his side could cope even if the England star faces a spell on the sidelines.
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.
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.
“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.
“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.”