Alvaro Morata was introduced at Wembley in the Community Shield against Arsenal to see out a winning result and help his side to win their first title of the season. Instead, he ended up costing them it with his penalty miss.
On Saturday, he was introduced with 31 minutes left on the clock in entirely different circumstances. Chelsea were heading for their first opening day defeat since 1998 and were being thrashed 3-0 by a side who spent much of last season fighting the drop. Morata’s job was to be their saviour.
He came close to doing so. It took ten minutes for the Spaniard to open the scoring for the Blues and spark hope of a comeback. Where Michy Batshuayi had harried the Burnley defence to no effect, Morata caused problems. His movement was too much for Sean Dyche’s defence, and the best run of all came in the 69th minute when Willian spotted him. Morata’s diving header, having found himself in yards of space after a perfectly timed run, left Tom Heaton with no chance.
The Spaniard was effective throughout. He came close to adding another as he re-directed Andreas Christensen’s shot, perhaps selfishly, into the back of the net only to be ruled out for offside.
Strong in the air, he may only have made five passes, many as headers and knock downs, but completed all five, giving him the much desired 100% pass accuracy.
The best and most pivotal came in the 88th minute, when his flick on found the smart run by David Luiz who found himself venturing forward in desperate hope of clawing the score back. Morata’s flick on from a long ball forward found Luiz perfectly and the defender finished neatly.
Given Antonio Conte’s decision to start with the likes of Batshuayi and Jeremie Boga in attack, Morata is clearly lacking fitness even at this stage. Conte will be hoping that he will be fit from the start to face Tottenham at Wembley next weekend. If he is, Spurs had better watch out.