All of a sudden Maurizio Sarri must be feeling a touch of heat as Chelsea boss.
A second Premier League defeat to Wolves last time out coupled with a visit from Manchester City this weekend, the Italian is facing his first tricky spell at Stamford Bridge.
Sarri’s men are now ten points of adrift of Pep Guardiola’s leaders, so a loss today would render their title hopes precariously grim as the season approaches halfway.
While there’s no question Chelsea are a strong side, their reliance on Eden Hazard as a creator and goalscorer is becoming a clear concern.
His importance to the Blues is emphasised by their lack of a regular goalscorer in Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata, who have together contributed only 11 goals this season.
Giroud has four to his name in all competitions, though the 32-year-old is cut some lack by most of the Chelsea faithful given his combative target man playing style.
Morata, on the other hand, cost the club £58 million and offers little else to his side when he’s not finding the net.
Amid the Spaniard’s latest dry spell, which has seen him score once in his last seven outings, Jamie Carragher’s latest assessment claims enough is enough.
“I think Drogba changed the perceptions about what a striker could do and the way in which a team could be shaped,” he wrote in his Telegraph column on Friday.
“It begs the question as to what his latest successor Alvaro Morata will be remembered for at the club and, as things stand, I find it hard to believe he has a future there.
“Assessing him as a centre-half I can see he has great ability but he also strikes me as an opponent whom a good defender can dominate.
“He is Chelsea’s most expensive outfield player of all time at £58 million and second in value only to Kepa Arrizabalaga, for their biggest fee paid. From that perspective I understand why Maurizio Sarri is persisting with him. The reality is I do not think that Morata will ever click at Chelsea, and I am sure the club think that too.”
As much as Roman Abramovich would probably like to, it’s difficult to see Chelsea bringing in an adequate replacement during January.
Even so, Carragher can’t stress enough the extent to which Morata is dragging the Londoners down.
“They have to be looking now for a new option next season. He is 26 and his career statistics tell you that he had not played many full seasons - 34 appearances in Serie A for Juventus in 2015-2016 is his highest league total.
“Chelsea cannot wait. With a first-rate striker this would be a team capable of challenging City. All Chelsea’s title-winning sides have had great strikers - Drogba or Diego Costa - and this team needs one desperately.”
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