Saturday may have been a day to forget for Chelsea, but for club-record signing Álvaro Morata, it turned out to be fairly memorable. Starting on the bench as Conte continue to reward Michy Batshuayi for excellent pre-season form, Morata took just ten minutes to open his Chelsea account — and thus immediately diverging from the Fernando Torres narrative — adding an assist and a disallowed goal not long after.
Morata’s introduction in the 58th minute sparked Chelsea’s near-comeback, even as the Blues played with 10, and then just 9 men. If Morata can be a similar difference-maker in future games, this loss will prove little else than a blip on the way to another successful season.
Antonio Conte singled out his prized acquisition after the 3-2 loss for showing exactly why the club spent £58 million on him to replace Diego Costa.
“I think Alvaro has good space to improve, he’s working very well and working very hard to quickly find good fitness and adapt himself to our style of football. For sure he played very well, he scored a goal and played a good game.”
— Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC
Questions about why Morata didn’t start only increased after this performance, though Batshuayi’s good form should not be so quickly discounted. Still, Morata’s debut should make us hope that his fitness and adaptation is deemed good enough for a start on Sunday against Spurs.