For the first time under Maurizio Sarri, and the fourth time since joining Chelsea for a then club-record fee 18 months ago, Álvaro Morata was left out of a Premier League matchday squad entirely.
He had missed a few other games with injury last season, but this one was apparently purely a tactical decision stemming from Eden Hazard starting at center forward and Olivier Giroud getting the nod on the bench.
“I think it is normal, it was a choice for this kind of match. I don’t know if in Brighton we will play in the same way or not, maybe not. I don’t know. I think Alvaro is able to understand that it is only a tactical decision, it is not the final choice.
”We thought yesterday that for the first time in the season that there was a possibility to have more spaces - so we wanted to try with Eden - because for the first time there was a possibility to play on the counter-attack. Willian, Hazard and Pedro are really very suitable for this kind of play, so it is a normal choice. I think that it is really a very good option and maybe we will try it again in the future. Especially for certain matches.”
-Maurizio Sarri; source: Goal
How often Sarri does end up going with such a setup will surely play a part in Morata’s future. However, the 26-year-old has once again dropped below Giroud in the pecking order and recent reports from Spain claim that Chelsea are already exploring the possibility of sending him out on loan. That may yet be the best option for all involved.