It took an absolute age to arrive, but Alvaro Morata’s goal against Vidi in Chelsea’s midweek Europa League game will be welcomed by player and club alike.
The pressure that had been on the Spaniard’s shoulders was evident as the tears flowed, the monkey finally off of his back.
Maurizio Sarri was more than happy with such emotion, suggesting he’d like to see more of it if it meant the centre-forward was amongst the goals more often.
Morata missed out on the World Cup after a similar barren spell in the lead up to the tournament, and with the player he replaced at Stamford Bridge, Diego Costa, taking his seat on the plane, it only rubbed salt into a gaping wound.
As any striker will tell you, goals are not only their currency, but are the confidence boost that every forward needs.
A couple of games without one isn’t an issue but get to half a dozen without finding the back of the net and then the doubts begin to creep in.
Any more than that, particularly at the elite level, and you then have a mini-crisis to deal with.
At present, Chelsea are doing ok primarily because Eden Hazard is weighing in with his fair share – nine in all competitions in total in 2018/19.
Olivier Giroud has only scored one himself in the league but it’s hard to argue against the assumption that he was only ever brought in as a back-up initially anyway. As such, there is less expectation on the Frenchman to deliver.
If Chelsea do have genuine title aspirations, however, they’re going to need to make some tough decisions.
Most championship-winning teams are built on the foundation of a solid defence it’s true, and with only five conceded so far, the Blues are the second best in the Premier League.
Clearly their problems don’t stretch as far as their back four or goalkeeper.
Fifteen goals in total is also the second best in the English top flight but take away Hazard’s contribution and there’s an issue.
With the January transfer window just around the corner, Sarri genuinely needs to be asking himself whether it’s worth cutting his losses and ending the Spaniard’s time in the Premier League.
The west Londoners should still be able to recoup most of what they paid Real Madrid for his services, and despite his time at the Bridge hardly being a success, there’ll be plenty of takers for Morata’s services.
Spanish or Italian football clearly suits him better, and the player himself should also perhaps be considering pastures new in order to get his mojo back.
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