For a brief moment after the final whistle at Stamford Bridge, it looked as though Alvaro Morata played himself into his second suspension of the season.
A late yellow card for Alvaro Morata in that game makes it 10 in domestic competitions: and a two-match ban, starting with Leicester. Quite some achievement, given how little he has played.— Dan Levene (@danlevene) March 10, 2018
As Chelsea later confirmed, in fact Morata is sitting on eight yellow cards. That’s because the two he got at Norwich became a red. So those are taken out of his total of ten. (He also has one in the Champions League.)
That’s the official record. But the fact remains that the ref has pulled a card on Morata ten times, and it’s not always been for fouls.
In his first full season as a starter, Morata has struggled with the physicality of the Premier League, with a twelve-game scoreless streak and, ultimately, with his own emotions.
In five of his last seven matches he’s drawn a card, often for complaining about a call.
It should have happened again against Palace. In fact, despite only coming on in the 72nd minute, he really should have been sent off.
Morata, on a yellow (which was earned in idiotic fashion), knocks the linesman's flag out of his hand. incredibly stupid move. lucky boy not to be off. pic.twitter.com/Bf9vT11iWQ— amadí (@amadoit__) March 10, 2018
Morata’s disciplinary record is dismal, to be honest.
The longest he’s gone without a card is five matches, and he’s only done that once, to start the season. Since then he’s picked them up with an alarming regularity.
It’s not uncommon for a player to take time to adjust to the Premier League. It’s the most physically demanding of Europe’s top divisions.
And it’s especially difficult for a man who hasn’t been a regular started at either of his last two clubs, Real Madrid and Juventus.
So it will take some patience before we see the best of a clearly-talented player.
Not just patience from supporters, coaches and his teammates. But also patience from Morata himself, as he learns to cope with “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” (William Shakespeare, noted Chelsea fan.)