Alvaro Morata has come under fire over the past 24 hours following his failure to score in his side’s thrilling London derby with Arsenal last night.
The Spaniard was put through on goal more than once against the Gunners but could not convert as the Blues lost the chance to clinch an important three points.
“It’s a pity”, was Chelsea boss Antonio Conte’s reaction when asked about Morata’s profligacy in front of goal during the 2-2 draw against the Gunners.
A highly entertaining encounter saw the London heavyweights bag a point each but the story could’ve been a lot different had the 25-year-old been more clinical in front of goal. Not once or twice but thrice did the former Madrid man race clear only to hit the ball straight at Arsenal keeper Petr Cech when many expected to see the net bulge.
No one felt the frustration more keenly than Conte, who faced similar questions after Morata missed more gilt-edged opportunities during Chelsea’s 5-0 trouncing of Stoke City last week.
“For a striker it is very important to score, it is a pity, he had many chances to score,” said the Italian in his post-match reaction. The former Azzurri boss nonetheless steered clear of criticizing the £60 million frontman, cautiously adding, “But I’m very happy with his commitment and effort for the team.”
Hazard echoes Conte
Fellow attacker Eden Hazard, who equalised for Chelsea from the spot to make it 1-1, expressed similar sentiments when discussing Morata’s fluffed chance right at the death in added time.
“Maybe we should score more goals, we missed a lot of chances,” the Belgian told Sky Sports. “Yeah, I think the last shot should be a goal. Just before that Alvaro missed the chance, Petr did a good performance today. I think Petr is a great goalkeeper, it’s always hard to score against him.”
Morata’s unwanted record
Morata has started well at Chelsea since his summer arrival, bagging an eye-catching ten goals midway through the season in a league that is billed as being the toughest in the world.
However, it is in games such as Wednesday’s where fans expect him to show his class.
That would explain why after the dramatic game Twitter abounded with tweets from frustrated supporters taunting the Spaniard for his wastefulness and lack of composure in front of goal.
“Morata was easily Arsenal’s best defender today, sweeping up Chelsea’s throughballs(sic) and harmlessly booting it out of danger,” one Tweet humorously explained.
Another said: “After watching Arsenal vs Chelsea, i(sic) can see why Real Madrid kept Benzema over Morata.”
But the tweet of the Day came from Premier League statisticians WhoScored.com, who noted that the striker had set a new record for the 2017/18 season, albeit an unwanted one. Morata’s three clear-cut chances missed are the most of any player in the English top flight for a single game this season. There was no humour in WhoScored.com’s tweet as they summarized the Spaniard’s forgettable night as follows:
Arsenal 2-2 Chelsea FT: Álvaro Morata missed 3 clear-cut goalscoring chances in the stalemate at the Emirates — no player has missed more in a Premier League match this season
Full match stats — https://t.co/s3B9BSy7Pm
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) January 3, 2018