Chelsea came away with a slim Europa League win over Hungarian side Videoton at Stamford Bridge on Thursday night, following their weekend draw with Liverpool.
The Blues, unbeaten for the season, headed into the match fully confident after a week in which they both beat and drew with Jurgen Klopp's Reds. But Vidi weren't to be easily dismantled and that proved immensely frustrating for the home side.
Alvaro Morata began the night with another shocking miss, throwing away a chance to put Chelsea ahead midway through the first half despite having an empty net to shoot at. But he gave his side the lead late in the second half with an impressive half-volley off Willian's knock down.
Morata. Morata. Morata.— Alex Goldberg (@AlexGoldberg_) October 4, 2018
Folks, he’s single handedly the least confident person in the world right now.
Maurizio Sarri introduced Blues talisman Eden Hazard a little under 10 minutes into the second period, proving how big of a game it was for him.
And, in the end, the Londoners were able to nick a marginal win from a game which they were expected to absolutely thrash the opposition.
Below is our breakdown of the match.
Key Talking Point
Morata's miss was the gear grinder on a night which was rather polarising for the goal-shy Spaniard, who had only scored one goal prior to Thursday.
The former Real Madrid striker has missed some glaring opportunities this season and nearly everyone gave up on him after his shocking miss from point-blank range. However, Morata managed to score the only goal to clinch the win for Sarri.
Romelu Lukaku isn't perfect, but i'm so glad we signed him instead of Alvaro Morata. Think he's doing badly at Chelsea? Imagine if he was in our team.— Sibs 🐝🔰 (@SibsMUFC) October 4, 2018
Look at Morata's body language after the goal. He needs another one just to feel good. Hopefully, he's setting himself up to score more in the games to come.— Vinay Dhareshwar (@vfactor07) October 4, 2018
It was supposed to be a night off for the in-form Hazard yet the Belgian was forced to go on after Vidi proved more difficult to break down than first thought.
The Chelsea star did provide a bit of a spark after coming off the bench and nearly set Ross Barkley - another substitute - up with a goal near the end.
Chelsea Starting XI: Kepa (7.5), Zappacosta (7), Christensen (7), Cahill (7.5), Emerson (7.5), Loftus-Cheek (7.5), Fabregas (8), Kovacic (7), Pedro (7), Willian (7), Morata (7)
Substitutes: Caballero, Ampadu, Alonso, Moses (N/A), Kante, Barkley (6), Hazard (7)
Morata is the one who snatched all three points for Chelsea and, despite his horror show in the first half, deserves some praise for his persistence.
However, the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Cesc Fabregas gave good accounts of themselves as well and the former should have been awarded a penalty in the first half.
Callum Hudson-Odoi was expected to start this one too but didn't even make the bench. Loftus-Cheek, however, took full advantage of his opportunity and should have impressed his manager with his intelligent movement, crafty dribbling and incisive passing.
(Also) Alvaro Morata
The Spaniard's winner doesn't totally acquit him here; plus no other Chelsea player did as badly on the night, although Ross Barkley looked totally lost after coming on and also missed a great opportunity to score.
Chelsea fans will hope the goal does a lot for Morata's confidence after his frustrating string of misses this season. But it will be hard to convince Sarri to start him over Olivier Giroud in the Blues' next game.
Sarri's men look pretty healthy in Europe as they lead Group L with six points from their two games played and are also in a good position in the Premier League, considering prior expectations.
The Italian has shown that he really wants to go for the Europa League this season, having never won a trophy in his managerial career. So we should expect to see strong sides being fielded as the competition continues, as well as those cool cigarette butts.