MORATA CAN BECOME A CHELSEA GREAT ONCE HE IMPROVES HIS FINISHING

His goal record is good but stats show that it could be even better as he lags behind his rivals and even his own record in previous seasons

Chelsea and Alvaro Morata have been in good form this season but the 17-point gap to Manchester City can be partly attributed to their inferior finishing. 

Morata is Chelsea’s go-to goalscorer and he has an impressive 12 goals in his 25 appearances, 20 of which were starts, for the club. However, his conversion rate is both not as good as some of his big rivals in the Premier League or his own record back at Real Madrid. 

The 25-year-old has scored with 17.9% of his shots, including blocks, in the league since joining Chelsea in a £58 million deal last summer. This is almost identical to the record of his Chelsea predecessor Diego Costa, who has scored with 18% of his shots in the league since 2016.

In filling the Costa void, Morata has had to adapt to being in a new league and becoming his side’s main front man after operating as more of an impact player at Juventus and Real Madrid. 

The Spain international has notably struck up a stunning partnership with his compatriot Cesar Azpilicueta, who has matched a Premier League record for a Chelsea player, with his six assists Morata this season. 

These have mostly been via crosses from deep areas that have been headed home by Morata. His first three goals and two assists were with his head, and his conversion rate with his head in the league is at an incredible 37.5%. However, with his feet, he has scored just four goals from 40 shots.

His aerial ability was always going to be exceptional for Chelsea and it will continue to be a great weapon. In the past two seasons, 48% of his league goals have been with his head, while only 11% of Harry Kane’s goals in that time have been headers, and Romelu Lukaku is at 26%. 

Morata’s ability to score goals this season has been impacted by two injuries as he adapts to an increased workload and he went five games without netting after suffering a hamstring injury against Manchester City in September before coming up with a headed winner against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge in early November. 

However, before that crucial contribution, he endured bad days against Roma, Watford and Bournemouth, missing big chances in all three games. He later failed to score in 11 shots over the games against Atletico Madrid and West Ham United as December started badly but ended well for both Morata and Chelsea.

He is capable of better having racked up a 5.5% better conversion rate at Real Madrid last season and he scored every 92 minutes in La Liga but his role as the main man in blue makes that hard to replicate immediately. 

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is generally happy with Morata’s contribution this season, but is still demanding improvements from the striker after he misfired in the 5-0 win over Stoke City in their last match when he missed two one-on-ones and had three shots overall with his feet.

“It was a pity because, for a striker, it is always very important to score,” said Conte, who will be patient with Morata after being an admirer since his time as Juventus coach. “But I am more worried when our striker doesn’t have opportunities. In this case Alvaro was very good to stay in the right place.

“He didn’t score but in the game away at Stoke he scored a hat-trick so he drew the matches against them.” 

Positioning isn’t a problem for Morata, neither is his build-up play which has seen him slot seamlessly into the side since his arrival last summer. He simply just needs to improve his finishing on the ground and, if he does, then the sky really is the limit for Chelsea’s No.9. 

Morata can get better and that should excite everyone around Chelsea Football Club. 

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