Following Olivier Giroud’s arrival at Chelsea on deadline day, Blues fans and football lover alike have been asking the question, how reasonable is this piece of business?
The most certain thing is that Chelsea know what they want in a striker and what they are expecting from their striker after Alvaro Morata failed to live up to the bill in his first season in England so far.
When Morata arrived in the summer following a transfer that worth around seventy million euros, hopes were raised and expectations were higher as many believed the club has gotten the perfect replacement for Diego Costa who left in the summer after a row with Antonio Conte in early January of 2017. The club hierarchy believed they’ve done a great business bringing in Morata from Madrid and keeping Mitchy Batshuayi as a backup striker.
Morata started well in London, scoring Chelsea’s first league goal of the season against Burnley, a match they lost 3-2 after conceding three first-half goals. The highlight of his Chelsea career so far came away against Stoke City where he scored a hat-trick. Everybody at Chelsea believed their new man is an improved player over the departed Costa but his next few games will prove otherwise.
After the Stoke game in September 2017, Morata scored just six league goals in more than sixteen league appearances, taking his total goal for the season so far to twelve in all competition in thirty appearances after scoring one goal each in UEFA Champions League and in the League Cup following his ten goals in the EPL.
We can blame adaptation, change in style of play and maybe the very busy schedule of the English competitions for Morata's sharp decline in form, but what is more than certain is that Chelsea's new man is not living up to the bill and the club will need to salvage their season by looking elsewhere for a goal scoring machine.
Why not Batshuayi, many will say, he was given his chances to prove his ability to lead the line at Chelsea but the club’s lack of confidence in the young Belgian is evident as his role was reduce to FA Cup, League Cup appearances and thirteen league appearances in which he was a substitute in nine of those thirteen games. In the absence of Morata, Conte prefer Eden Hazard to lead the line rather than giving Batshuayi the chance to prove his worth
In spite of his reduced role at Chelsea, Batshuayi went ahead to score two goals in UEFA Champions League including the winner against Athletico Madrid in a substitute role, two goals in the League, and there goals each in both FA Cup and League Cup, taking his total goals to ten in eight starts and sixteen substitute appearances.
With Morata lacking form, the lack of confidence in Batshuayi and the fact that clubs now defend very well against Chelsea, Antonio Conte has decided to approach games in different ways by asking his wing backs to start making high crosses in to the opposition box in other to create more scoring chances and giving opposition defenders more to deal with but his striker has not been finishing that well. Morata scored six league goals with his head, five of which came from Azipilicueta’s diagonal crosses but failed to score from any of the wing backs' crosses.
For this to materialize, a proven striker with a wealth of experience in English football, tall and deadly with his head is needed. This explain reasons why the club was linked with a move for the likes of Andy Carroll, Peter Crouch, Edin Dzeko and later Giroud.
Chelsea later sign Giroud on deadline day, in an eighteen million deal at the age of 31 for just eighteen month. The club statement on their website after they capture the former Arsenal man says it all. Giroud will be content with substitute role at his age, but if the chance to be a starter comes his way he’ll grab it quickly.
No need for adaptation having establish himself in London and he seems suitable for the short term plan the club have for him. He’s good with both his feet and his head and may have the chance to win the EPL that has eluded him in his stay in England so far if he and the club decide to extend his contract beyond the 18 months he has at hand.
Chelsea Football Club will hope Batshuayi regains his confidence back with his loan to Dortmund and Morata can get himself back on scoring form and quickly adapt to the English football and climate for next season to be brighter for the club and players alike.