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Has Alvaro Morata silenced his doubters or too early to judge?

Friday 6th October 2017
Diego Costa was told to find a new club, eventually returning to Atletico Madrid. His replacement at Chelsea, Spanish teammate Alvaro Morata, aimed to adapt quickly to life in the Premier League. Can he successfully fill the void left by his predecessor?

Chelsea's prime target in summer transfer window was Romelu Lukaku, but Manchester United stole a march on the Premier League champions and the Belgian, who has been in sensational form this season, arrived at Old Trafford. Antonio Conte was then left with his second choice - Alvaro Morata.

Widely regarded as the most physically demanding league in world football, questions were raised suggesting Morata would struggle to cope in the English top flight. Although Costa had his problems in England, the striker's work rate was exceptional. Chelsea's new frontman must show a willingness to replicate that this season.

Morata was never the main forward at Real Madrid. Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, and Gareth Bale were all ahead in the pecking order. The Spaniard was viewed as being cast from the same mold as former Man United forward, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer; with the assumption that he is more useful coming off the bench. So, the prospect of Morata becoming the main striker at Stamford Bridge provided another topic for debate.
The Spanish international arrived at Chelsea with a haul of trophies to his name, including the Serie A title (twice), La Liga (twice), Champions League (twice), Copa del Rey (twice), UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup. However, it can be argued that winning those trophies was down to the brilliance of his former teammates at Juventus and Madrid.

Whatever your opinion about Morata's role in the success of his former clubs, he now appears to be silencing his doubters. The striker has hit the ground running in the Premier League, earlier than expected.

He scored and provided an assist after coming off the bench during Chelsea's 3-2 defeat to Burnley on the opening day of the league season. He has since gone on to score six more times across all competitions, including a hat-trick against Stoke City. Morata also hit his first Champions League goal for the London club, away at Atletico.

Although it's still too early to ascertain if his impressive form will continue, Morata has carried Chelsea so far this season. His six Premier League goals have helped lift his side into third place in the table. The closest player in the Blues scoring chart is Michy Batshuayi, but three of the Belgians five strikes have come in the Carabao Cup. Up to now, Conte's faith in Morata is being repaid. Diego Costa, who?
In the top five European Leagues, Morata is only behind Barcelona playmaker Lionel Messi, Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski, and Tottenham's Harry Kane in terms of minutes-per-goal ratio this season. The Chelsea star has scored a goal every 82 minutes. Unfortunately, Morata recently suffered an injury, which could see him set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines: will his goalscoring touch remain intact when he returns?

Morata plays without Diego Costa's aggression, but Chelsea's new marksman boasts greater attacking nous. It could help the Blues to retain their Premier League crown. Alvaro Morata may also inspire Chelsea to win more trophies over the coming years.
Aje Omolayo

I like to think of myself as an easy going lover of all things football, however, I do class myself as a die-hard Arsenal fan but I'm not biased enough to view life at the Emirates through rose-tinted spectacles and can appreciate when we are beaten by the better team on the day.


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