Prior to Saturday’s game, Álvaro Morata gave an interview to Sky Sports in which he touched on the issue of scoring a tremendous amount of goals with his head (Chelsea in fact lead the league in headed goals) but not quite matching that success rate on attempts with his feet.
“It's a good thing in England, and important for a striker to be good in the air. But I think I can do better with the head and the feet. In Spain or Italy the game is not like this, but here there are many crosses and it's better for this.”
"But I can score more goals. I had many chances in the Premier League and Champions League and I need to improve. It's my first year here but I think I can do better and I need to do that. Always I can improve something. I'm not perfect, if there's one thing that I can improve then I try to look for that and work every day to do so."
-Álvaro Morata; source: Sky
If Morata was looking to the Stoke game to show improvement, things didn’t quite go to plan. No fewer than three glorious 1-v-1 opportunities went begging — the first saved very well by Butland, the second defended well after perhaps an unnecessary move slowed down things, and the last one just played very poorly by Morata, who was undoubtedly overthinking things by then.
That the team’s center forward failed to find the back of the net — the usual service from Azpilicueta was off just a bit, too — when Stoke were handing out goals like free candy may be of concern to head coach Antonio Conte, but he, as usual, struck a supportive note instead.
“It was a pity because for strikers it’s always very important to score, but I’m more worried when our striker doesn’t have opportunities or chances. In this case Alvaro did well to stay in the right place. In the away game against Stoke he scored a hat-trick, but it’s very important for me to see my players having the chance to score.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC
Concentrating on the process is all well and good — getting into good positions is always important — but given Chelsea’s recent finishing woes, Morata’s foibles yesterday don’t exactly engender great confidence. And that’s despite the five-spot Chelsea put up (against the worst defense, by far, in the league, who have now conceded 8 goals more than any other team).
Fortunately, Morata will have plenty of opportunities to make up for his misses in the coming month, especially as Chelsea face Arsenal three times, including on Wednesday in the league and then twice in the League Cup’s two-legged semifinal.
Also, this was a very nice gesture before the match, giving the training top to a young fan in the stands.
Chin up, Álvaro! I mean, ¡Vamos, Álvaro!