By 90Min
September 16, 2019

First it was Mason Mount, grabbing Chelsea's first Premier League of the Frank Lampard era, and cementing his status with the third as well. Then it was Tammy Abraham, nabbing the second and fourth goals of the campaign, and setting up a miraculous three-game run of seven goals. 

The Academic force is strong with these ones, and has been properly acknowledged. Mount is now a fully-fledged England international. Abraham is top of the Premier League scoring pile, pounding down on Gareth Southgate's door, aided by a cacophony of good-willed media coverage.

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So where does that leave Fikayo Tomori? Fighting for scraps - even after a 35-yard wonder strike. Acutely aware of this - being the man-managing marvel that he is - Lampard immediately singled out the Canadian-born Englishman when he was confronted with Academy-specific questions after the 5-2 demolition of Wolves at Molineux.

"Delighted for them all but particularly for Fikayo Tomori," the gaffer affirmed in the post-match pleasantries, as quoted by the Metro.

"He has worked so hard from where he started to now it’s superb."

Relegated to an afterthought, he continued: "Also Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount – we are trying to give chances to the youngsters and they are scoring, taking their chances and showing us why we should keep putting them in the team.

"They deserve it, they have the quality but they also have a love for the club because they have come through the ranks."

And, while Abraham's intoxicating hat-trick and Mount's midfield burrowing and cute finishing are more than worthy of the widespread coverage received, they will be once again relegated to the fringes here. Because, not only are Lamps and I thick as thieves (something about great men and what happens when they think alike), Tomori is just as deserving of this acclaim. 

Derby's 2018/19 Player of the Year (yeah, have some of that Mason) has had a slightly slower entry into the deep end that is Chelsea FC in 2019 than his youth team counterparts. The emphasis being on 'slightly' there - if this was Jose Mourinho's Chelsea it would be considered a Randy Orton's wife-esque RKOing into the deep Blue sea. 

That is likely on account of their positions. For accountability reasons, it's just easier for precocious attacking talents to break through than it is for defensive ones. Frontline mistakes and hesitations are easily forgotten with one flash of skill, while frailties at the back remain ingrained in the mind long after six vital covering headers have been executed. 

And, to be fair, Tomori is not a defender you'd consider to be averse to disaster. Indeed, his seminal return to Stamford Bridge last season was clouded by an own goal inside just five minutes. 

But perhaps his most admirable quality as a 21-year-old centre back (and one that's been, as we'll come to shortly, dearly lacking in west London) is his ability to bounce back from a mistake. To maintain his composure. To stay in the moment, refuse to revel in the misfortune, and stick to the task at hand.

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In that regard, the 29 emblazoned on his back seems far more apt than the one on his birth certificate.

His age also becomes him when it comes to his knowledge of when to dive in and when to stay jockeying, when to pounce and when to play the waiting game - at least to an extent... this is Frank Lampard's Chelsea defence, after all. In any case, this is another skill that has, err, been dearly lacking in recent times. 

Of course, he can also really, properly, expertly tw*t one when he gets the chance. We had to get to it, didn't we. From William Gallas to Juliano Belletti to Alex, there is a long lineage of deadly long-range finishers from the back at Chelsea, and this was a pantheon-level entry from the youngster.

It was pure whip (Michael Essien-esque, you might say, save for its counter-clockwise spin), starting off in the right corner and ending up in the left, duly spiralling its way past a bamboozled Rui Patricio in goal.

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It was also utterly audacious. And, speaking of the utterly audacious, especially when it comes to long-range thunderbolts, that list would not be complete without the name of, yes, David Luiz. 

The man of all those aforementioned allusions to. The man whose game was compounded by mistakes, who only seemed to worsen when the worst happened. The man who dove in come what may. The man who dove in this very weekend, head-first into the deep end that is Arsenal's abyss of defensive inadequacies.

Yes, it would be remiss if we did not mention the sliding doors quality of this weekend's action. 

Just a day after Tomori was soaring in Wolverhampton, Luiz was crashing and burning in Watford, backing off when he should've been thwarting and diving in when he should've stayed stoic, offering the Hornets the penalty that earned them that fateful point.

Just as Tomori was entering into the defensive conversation for all the right reasons, Luiz was sliding back into the opposite one. The liability-labelling one, rather than the legend-crafting one.

This brings to mind the infamous final line from 'Casablanca'. You know, the one that goes: "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

While Blues fans can exchange 'Louis' for 'Lads', in respect to this academy triumvirate, or, if you want to make it personal for the lesser-acclaimed, 'Fikayo', Arsenal fans must dutifully put a Brazilian spin on the name, before swapping out 'beautiful' for 'fraught'. 

Exciting times ahead, then, for two reasons.

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