Chelsea are “missing the nastiness of Diego Costa”, says Tony Cascarino, with Alvaro Morata two nice to bully opponents.
The Blues swept to the Premier League title in 2016-17, with 20 goals from burly frontman Costa helping them to restore domestic dominance.
The 25-year-old has made a positive impact at Stamford Bridge, netting seven times in 11 appearances, but Cascarino feels a lack of physicality is partly responsible for recent inconsistency.
The former Blues striker told The Times: “Alvaro Morata is a big talent but I wonder if Chelsea are missing the nastiness of Diego Costa up front.
“Morata is such an honest player: [against Roma] he literally picked up Federico Fazio when the Roma defender fell to the floor.
“I can just imagine Costa shoving Fazio aside if he had been in the same position.
“Morata scores plenty of goals and is a fine all-round player but Costa was always on the edge; bullying people, fouling or being fouled.
“Perhaps Chelsea as a whole have become nicer to play against.
“I remember I would pick up opponents in the early part of my career but, by the end, I certainly didn’t.
“I learned that no centre back would do the same for me.”
While questioning the mentality of Morata, Cascarino has also taken aim at Cesc Fabregas and the Spaniard’s ability to run a game in a midfield pairing.
He added of the 30-year-old after seeing the World Cup winner struggle in a 3-0 Champions League defeat in Italy on Tuesday: “Roma’s third goal provided a classic illustration of why Cesc Fabregas should only be part of a midfield pairing when Chelsea are playing against fairly weak opposition — otherwise he should be in a midfield trio.
“He gave the ball away to Aleksandar Kolarov and then it was as though he had a parachute on as he tracked back to try to make up for his mistake.
“He has never been the quickest but he seems to have lost half a yard of pace.”
Chelsea will need Morata and Fabregas to be on top of their game in their next outing, with the Blues set to welcome former boss Jose Mourinho and his Manchester United side to Stamford Bridge on Sunday.