Misfiring Morata the only concern for Sarri as Hudson-Odoi again turns it on for Chelsea

Comments()
Getty Images
The Blues striker continues to be a worry for his club despite a change of manager, system and general style of play

Change of tactics or not, it is clear from Chelsea's travails in pre-season thus far that Alvaro Morata is still struggling to fully adapt to life at Chelsea.

The Blues' record signing spent last week celebrating the birth of his newborn twins, but on the pitch he has been unable to find anything to write home about in front of goal.

Against Arsenal in the International Champions Cup the Spain international missed yet another hatful of chances, including a penalty as Petr Cech made a rare save from 12 yards.

Many felt the ex-Real Madrid forward would leave Stamford Bridge this summer should new manager Maurizio Sarri find a suitable replacement, with Gonzalo Higuain top of his list.

But with Higuain having agreed a loan move to AC Milan, Morata looks set to stay put, particularly with Marseille now showing an interest in Olivier Giroud. It would be tempting to find a new forward in the week left before the transfer window shuts, but both time and a lack of Champions League football are acting against them.

Morata has scored just twice since the turn of the year, and is showing no signs of turning that shocking form around. Sarri prides himself on being able to bring the best out of any player, but as it stands he looks set to face the same issues as Antonio Conte.

The disappointment of Morata's failures in front of goal proved to be the only black mark on what was another encouraging display from the 2016-17 Premier League champions in Dublin.

Antonio Rudiger's fifth-minute header may have been the only goal, but it was once again youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi who showcased just why Europe's biggest clubs showed an interest in signing him last season.

Chelsea are looking to tie the 17-year-old down to a new five-year contract, and his thrilling performance at the Aviva Stadium was yet another example of why Sarri is keen to use him within his first-team squad during his maiden season in charge.

Alvaro Morata Petr Cech Chelsea Arsenal 2018-19

Hudson-Odoi has rarely come up against a full-back of Hector Bellerin's calibre in his short career but he ran the Spaniard ragged down the Chelsea left, creating umpteen opportunities as well as winning the penalty that Morata ultimately spurned the chance to score.

Elsewhere Jorginho was again at the heart of Chelsea's quick passing moves as 'Sarriball' continues to take over the Blues squad, and it must be thrilling for the former Napoli boss to see his methods paying dividends so soon after his arrival.

Article continues below

Arsenal, meanwhile, struggled for long periods in the first half to deal with the way Chelsea were able to move the ball. Such was the confidence they came into the game with following their 5-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain last time out, this was something of a reality check, but eventually they were able to gain a foothold.

Chances came and went for Unai Emery's side before Alexandre Lacazette continued his fine pre-season form with a goal in the final minute of stoppage time to take the match to a shootout that Arsenal eventually won 6-5 in sudden death.

How Chelsea would love to have a striker showing the same eye for goal as Lacazette. As it stands Morata will remain their lead man, but Sarri's patience is unlikely to last too long.

Close