Does Sarri’s decision to start Giroud suggest Morata may have to settle for the bench?
Maurizio Sarri’s patience with Alvaro Morata’s ineffectiveness in front of goal clearly has reached its tether.
Having scored just once in the Premier League so far, Morata was benched in favour of Olivier Giroud for Chelsea’s game against Cardiff City.
And the Frenchman definitely took his opportunity.
Against two physical defenders, Giroud’s hold-up play was excellent and he linked with Pedro and Eden Hazard beautifully.
He picked up two assists as a reward, setting up two goals for Hazard.
Since joining from Arsenal, he has played second-fiddle behind Morata, after Morata joined for a then club-record fee of £57m.
But the Spaniard has looked a forlorn figure at times.
His lack of goals is worrying and his inability to link the play doesn’t fit with Sarri’s plan.
And Hazard’s comments to the Evening Standard suggest he prefers playing with Giroud, and as the most important player at the club, his opinion holds significant weight.
He said: “Olivier’s a target man, maybe the best in the world; I think so. When he gets the ball he can hold the ball and we can go in deep with him, so for us it’s a pleasure to play with him.”
Although not critical of Morata, Giroud’s success in England and favour amongst the fans will make him difficult to drop.
But Morata still has a chance to catch Sarri’s eye.
Sarri has already said the Spaniard will start against PAOK on Thursday in the Europa League.
And although not the biggest stage, it does offer the opportunity for him to score some goals and regain favour with his manager.