Chelsea Beat Vidi 1-0 in Europa League; Alvaro Morata Scores Vital Goal

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistOctober 4, 2018

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 04:  Alvaro Morata of Chelsea scores his team's first goal during the UEFA Europa League Group L match between Chelsea and Vidi FC at Stamford Bridge on October 4, 2018 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Chelsea made hard work of Hungarian champions Vidi at Stamford Bridge, as the Blues won 1-0 in Group L of the UEFA Europa League on Thursday.

Alvaro Morata missed a number of first-half opportunities, as the hosts were dominant in possession, but the visitors clung to a goalless scoreline at the interval.

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri had seen enough after 54 minutes, and he sent Eden Hazard on from the substitutes' bench to fire the attack.

The winner came after 70 minutes, with Sarri on his feet as Morata buried a chance.

Willian's clever flick fell perfectly into the striker's path, and the Spaniard half-volleyed the ball home for a smart finish.

Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa saved his team's blushes late in the game, as Vidi almost grabbed an equaliser through Istvan Kovacs.


Chelsea Must Sell and Replace Morata

Chelsea's Spanish striker Alvaro Morata strikes the ball but missing the chance during the UEFA Europa League Group L football match between Chelsea and Vidi at Stamford Bridge in London on October 4, 2018. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP)        (Photo cred

When Morata returned to Real Madrid after two seasons at Juventus, his future as an elite striker was in serious doubt. Los Blancos had exercised their buy-back option, but it never seemed he would succeed as the club's No. 9.

Real sold him to Chelsea, and expectations were high as he rejoined former Juve coach Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge.

However, with Conte gone, the inadequacies and fragility in Morata's game are evident.

The Spain international missed first-half chances, and if he'd shown a ruthless edge, Chelsea would have pulled away with ease.

Instead, Vidi were still in the game at half-time, largely down to Morata's bad finishing.

The attacker appeared relieved when his shot hit the back of the net, but his lack of a celebration underlined his confidence levels.

OptaJoe highlighted Morata's plight:

The 25-year-old has always been a confidence player, and his final months at Juve saw him confined to the bench.

The Blues are in flux, with a shortage of goalscorers, and the west London giants must act quickly to maintain their trophy challenge.

In simple terms, Morata isn't good enough to lead the line for Chelsea. He has the tools to develop, but the club cannot stand still if Sarri wants immediate success.

The Spaniard would attract interest from the continent in January, and Chelsea need to target a top-class striker to carry the weight of expectation.

Olivier Giroud is a strong option from the bench, but Chelsea need a world-class entity. Sarri's Napoli team were prolific scorers, but the Blues won't replicate that with Morata as the focal point.


Ethan Ampadu Should Start Games Ahead of Gary Cahill

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 20: Gary Cahill of Chelsea shakes hands with Ethan Ampadu and Dujon Sterling of Chelsea during the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Chelsea and Nottingham Forest at Stamford Bridge on September 20, 2017 in London, England.
Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images

Cahill has been a magnificent servant for Chelsea, but his best days are behind him, and the Blues must look forward.

The England international is a better technical player than he's given credit for, but Sarri has a potential young star waiting in the wings.

Ampadu began the night on the bench, as Cahill was given the starting berth.

The former Bolton Wanderers centre-back was caught on his heels too many times, and his reading of the game appears to have diminished.

Cahill could still play well at a lower level, but Ampadu needs games to continue his development. The Wales international promises to be a phenomenal talent for his club, and his ability to play out from the back provides Chelsea with a wonderful asset.


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