After reports yesterday that Chelsea’s uncontrollable striker, Diego Costa, has relocated his family to Madrid as he still searches for an escape from London, will at this moment in time bring little concern to those following the 16/17 Premier League champions. The name Costa is gradually beginning to be forgotten at ‘The Bridge’ as Diego’s fellow countryman, Alvaro Morata, has begun life in London at a blistering pace.
Morata left life in Spain this summer after struggling to gain any satisfactory game-time for Real Madrid. Although scoring 15 goals from 26 appearances last season, most notably as a substitute, he didn’t fit into Zidane’s plans for this campaign. The £58m fee, which has potential to increase to £70m, was enough to send the 24-year-old packing.
With the World Cup quickly approaching, it’s critical for internationals to be gaining adequate game time at their respective clubs and arguably, Morata will be the first name on the team sheet for Chelsea and will gain many admirers if his early form, gaining him 3 goals and 2 assists in 4 appearances, continues.
What’s most impressive with the Spaniard is his range of movement and his ability to peel off centre halves and find himself through on goal. Pundit Chris Sutton claimed Morata has the ‘cleverest movement’ off all the strikers in the Premier League and after analysing Morata’s performances at the King Power for myself the past weekend, Sutton has certainly got a solid argument here. The intelligent movement of Morata was evident on many occasions against Leicester, where Chelsea ran off 2-1 victors. Half way through the first half, Morata picked up a slick pass from Fabregas and shadowed through Morgan and Maguire to find himself in on goal. Unfortunately for Morata, he struggled to make any real connection with the ball but his patience and movement abilities were displayed early on in Leicester and he proved a nightmare for the centre halves all game.
Towards the end of the first half, Azpilicueta picked up the ball 20 yards out and played a delightful looping cross into the box, a cross which left Kasper Schmeichel puzzled as to whether he should come or not. He decided the later and Morata made him pay. The striker ghosted around Morgan and headed the ball into the net. This was the same partnership that linked up in Chelsea’s 2-0 victory vs Everton a couple weekends back.
Morata’s first Premier League goal came against Burnley, and this unsurprisingly was also a header. This puts Morata 2nd in headed goals in Europe’s elite leagues since the beginning of last season with a total of nine. Morata’s heading ability is another key attribute to his game and will be the source of many of Morata’s goals this season.
Also, fundamental to Conte and Chelsea is Morata’s work rate. There were many occasions against the Foxes where he tracked back and picked up the ball beginning vital attacks for the champions. He is clearly a team player and will put in a shift every time he is on the field and it is this work-rate alongside his movement and heading ability that will make Morata a joy to watch this season and I’m sure he will be fighting for the golden boot come the end of the campaign.
Written by Eamon Kitching.