On Thursday night, Alvaro Morata’s Chelsea career hit a new low.
Given the nod by Blues boss Maurizio Sarri to start in their Europa League opener against PAOK, the Spaniard had seven shots in the match – none of which found the back of the net.
What’s worse is that none were even on target, and he was eventually hauled off by his manager after 80 desperate minutes to be replaced by Olivier Giroud.
Drudging off the pitch and towards the dugout, it was clear to see that the 25-year-old has completely lost all of his confidence.
It’s likely that Sarri started Morata in this match to give him a chance to score, believing the opponents would be a side he could easily rediscover his goal-scoring prowess against.
But instead, things are worse than ever now.
The fact is, Morata has not scored since the opening weekend of the Premier League season and has lost his starting-place to Giroud in recent weeks.
This is easily the biggest concern for the new manager; with Michy Batshuayi shipped out on-loan to Valencia, the two are pretty much the only out-and-out strikers he has left.
While the club have started the season well, they surely can’t harbour title-winning ambitions unless they have a striker capable of scoring goals in their ranks, right?
Sadly, this is not a new problem for Chelsea.
You see, the similarities between Morata’s Chelsea career so far bares a worrying resemblance to that of a certain Fernando Torres.
After all, Morata is struggling for goals and confidence just like his compatriot did all those years ago.
Torres experienced a torrid start to life at Stamford Bridge following his big-money move from Liverpool, often going missing in games and infamously wasting a catalogue of chances – including the well-remembered open-goal miss against Man United.
In fact, just thinking about Torres’ time at Chelsea leaves us feeling a little melancholic.
After all, we all remember the desperately dejected look on Torres’ face every time he endured another goal-less game.
It’s the same look we’ve seen on Morata’ look in recent weeks.
The thing is, Morata started out at Chelsea in decent enough form, netting against the likes of Leicester, Everton, Atletico Madrid and Man United. He even hit a hat-trick against Stoke.
But his goal-scoring form dipped at the turn of the year, meaning he’s stuck on just 16 goals in 53 appearances for Chelsea – with only four coming in the whole of 2018.
However, he can perhaps take some respite knowing he’ll remain a big figure in Chelsea’s squad in their European run-out.
With Giroud starting up-front in their bigger games this season – having formed a decent partnership with Eden Hazard – it’s likely that Morata will be given game-time throughout Chelsea’s Europa League games, much like he did last night.
That’s precisely what happened with Torres, who managed to find his best Chelsea form in the competition, becoming a key figure in their Europa League campaign of 2012-2013
In fact, El Nino scored six times that season as Chelsea lifted the trophy, including the opener against Benfica in the final.
If Morata really is starting to mirror Torres, then perhaps the goals will start to flow again as they reach the latter stages of the competition
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