Back in the summer transfer window, when Chelsea were linked with possible replacements for want-away striker Diego Costa, who, allegedly had been informed over a text message by Antonio Conte that he was a persona non grata at Stamford Bridge; I ran an analysis and came up with an order of Belotti > Morata > Lukaku > others; as to whom Chelsea should prioritise the most.
My analysis was subjective to one reason: the team. Football is a team game. The man coming should consummate the team, the need to blend swiftly and effectual was important.
Chelsea got Alvaro Morata in a club record £60m deal from La Liga giants Real Madrid having been outflanked by Man United in getting Romelu Lukaku. There was no concrete source that Belotti – who could have cost Chelsea around £80m -was a primary target for the Blues.
The capturing of Morata was a wise one. I described him as “the ideal one”, largely because of the team. Lukaku is a proven goalscorer, a true number 9, at age 24, he is an experienced striker in English football, he is used to the modus operandi of the English Premier League but Lukaku is not what Chelsea need. His playing style parallels that of erstwhile Chelsea striker Didier Drogba, the man whose place these days can only be found in Chelsea’s history. Lukaku like Drogba goes to the pitch with singular goal: score; by any means.
When you put the team into the equation, things may not work out. Fabregas, Hazard, Pedro, and Willian, have knack for quick passing and artistic brand of football, Lukaku would be the odd one out. Manager Antonio Conte too does often deploy a counter-attack tactic, one I suppose Lukaku would not suitably put well into admirable effect.
Max Allegri described Morata as “one of the few players in the world who can play with any kind of forward”. He offers more than putting the ball in the back of the net, he is a creator. His track record is amazing; despite playing a large chunk of his career as back-up striker at Juventus and Real Madrid. He has pace, he is smart and can leave defenders for dead with his dribbling ability, in air he is solid. His link-up play is almost perfect, his ability to quickly interchange passes will excite the likes of Fabregas, Pedro, Willian, Hazard.
Mark Hughes on Álvaro Morata: "I think he had about four shots and scored three goals – that is the quality you're up against." pic.twitter.com/BtQQROnfAh
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) September 24, 2017
Whilst the predicted Morata-Hazard/Pedro/Fabregas/Willian combo has not be vindicated, Azpilicueta-Morata have created a striking imagery, the most common assist-to-scorer combination in Europe’s top 5 leagues at the moment, the chemistry and understanding between the two is simply amazing; four of the six goals Morata have scored are assisted by the former.
The start to his Chelsea career attracted derision of majority of onlookers. Struggled against Inter in Singapore, missed a penalty in FA Community Shield as Chelsea lost to Arsenal. “He is so bad he can’t even hit the target from the penalty spot” an Arsenal fan mocked him.
From missing a penalty in somewhat a phony affair to banging a hattrick at an intimidating ground.
So far so good for Alvaro Morata, he has put to bed some narratives that accompanied his move to Stamford Bridge.
What a ball from Azpilicueta, phenomenal movement from Morata, Goal. pic.twitter.com/SMtTuOBqtV
— AC (@TacticalAC) September 23, 2017
What happens first always appears better and more original than what comes after. It is always going to be massive pressure to succeed a great man
Diego Costa found the net 58 times in 120 games in west London. The “Guv’Nor” led Chelsea’s attack to great effect, winning them two premier league titles and the league cup through bellicosity. Costa was an aggressive live-wire, a striker no defender fancy coming against.
Alvaro Morata in stark contrast is cool and benevolent; his concern is doing the job, no time to goad or wind up defenders.
In the week when news of Diego Costa move to his beloved Madrid city emerged, when talk of “Costa is a great loss” would have made headlines had result gone bad for Chelsea at bet365 stadium, Morata banished Costa’s legacy to history. A stoking hat trick, took him just 86 seconds to get the first. The second, from my vantage point as a connoisseur of beautiful goals, was out of this world – quite noble. A kind of technique one can be tempted to say he is the best at his role in the world.
Retrieved possession. Set on an advancing run towards the Stoke penalty area. Having got there, the Madrid born forward produced an exquisite finish- cool, calm and collected .
The third a reward for his tenacity. He has by the way equaled Costa’s number of hat trick for Chelsea. Six goals Two assists in six matches is remarkable, the signs are as spectacular as they are convincing. Morata is capable!
Another: the premier league is rough and tough, Morata can’t cope with its physicality.
Alvaro Morata has scored his first ever Hat Trick for Chelsea Football Club and that was on a wet, cold and windy day at Stoke. What a man. pic.twitter.com/hTDr7LBqN8
— ClassicMorata (@ClassicMorata) September 23, 2017
Morata’s hat trick came against Stoke City the team people use to back up claim that Premier League is rough and tough. It now appears a complete farce, at least to Morata. As I was made to remember: Stoke are no longer “rough or tough”, that ceased to be the case since Tony Pulis departed. And as I also know: the ground is not as cold, wet, windy as it used to be. The redevelopment of the stadium has seen filling in of the corner between the DPD and Marston’s Pedigree Stands, creating 1,800 new seats which have covered space.
Regardless of the changes, Stoke are Stoke. Same Stoke, Arsenal could not take a point from, in fact they could not breach their defense. Same Stoke, Man United fought hard to take a point from!
I am also, not unaware of the fact that Mark Hughes was without four recognised centre backs. Ryan Shawcross, Geoff Cameron and Kevin Wimmer were all ruled out due to respective injuries whilst Kurt Zouma was ineligible against his parent club.
Point is Morata is a tough man, he has what it takes to survive on English shores, he has played and scored against big guy Wes Morgan and will play against Vincent Kompany next week.
Cesar Azpilicueta has recorded more assists (4) than any other defender in the Premier League this season.
All of them for Alvaro Morata. 👀 pic.twitter.com/8MG1U8gSYM
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 23, 2017
No player has scored more than him in the premier league this season, his six are matched only by Aguero and Lukaku. It took the latter 540 minutes to score his, the former 467, Morata needed 457 minutes!
Another reason why some think he would fail is the Chelsea number he chose to wear.
Chelsea’s number 9 jersey was believed to be cursed, atleast before the arrival of Morata; players who donned the number in recent past were endured by the fans due to disappointing performances.
Fernando Torres who cost Chelsea £50 million from Liverpool, was a shadow of his former self despite contributing to the club’s 2012 Champions League success, and the Europa League the following season.
After a hugely disappointing loan spell at Manchester United, Radamel Falcao was brought to Stamford Bridge by José Mourinho who vowed to show the world the real Falcao. He played just 12 times, scoring once. It is now in Monaco Falcao rediscover his mojo.
Others in the long list are Mateja Kezman, Khalid Boulahrouz, Steve Sidwell, Franco Di Santo can be found, even Herman Crespo is opened to debate. Morata, so far, has bucked the trend; the number 9 has become admirable at the Bridge.
Alvaro Morata has so far succeeded on every front where he was expected to fail. He has answered questions hurled at him: why score with only his head? He scored 3 with his right foot! Suffice to say he is a top striker. He has within him the requirements to be the doyen of Chelsea’s attack.
Written by Innocent Okpako