As Chelsea prepare to face Juventus on Wednesday night in their second UEFA Champions League group game of the season, it’s hard not to make a comparison between a former Chelsea forward and a current one.
Monday 27e September marked four years to the day, the Blues clinched a memorable 2-1 victory over Atletico Madrid, the all-new Wanda Metropolitano. A last-minute winner from Michy Batshuayi took points for Antonio Conte in a tough squad also including Roma.
It was a glamorous tie away in Europe that marked a rare highlight of what was a disappointing campaign. The other goalscorer that night for Chelsea was Alvaro Morata who had recently signed for the club from across Madrid.
Morata had started his Blues career with a bang, which continued until Christmas when he managed to reach 12 goals in all competitions for the club.
Looking back, this looks like an outlier in Morata’s time in West London. That night the Spaniard confidently headed for Chelsea’s equalizer was a brief scoring form that unfortunately did not continue, ultimately having to move to Atletico for good after a summer 2019 loan.
It seems likely that Morata will miss the opportunity to face his former side at the Allianz Stadium after being forced to an injury in Juve’s Serie A win over Sampdoria on Sunday. Although the comparison to a struggling striker in Timo Werner seems pretty apt when you look at where it went so badly for Morata at Chelsea.
Werner, despite scoring against Aston Villa in the League Cup recently, has found some hard goals to achieve in 2021. He has only scored five so far in the calendar year, which has seen him miss out on top-notch opportunities and wonder if he will ever be able to replicate the scoring form he demonstrated at RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga.
Like Morata, Werner’s time at Stamford Bridge started well, scoring eight goals in his first 13 appearances before suffering a rough patch after the November international break and struggling to recover since. The arrival of Romelu Lukaku will hopefully lead to a return to form for Werner playing on a central point.
The concern for Werner is that his time at Chelsea will be defined by a similar inability to find the back of the net like Morata, and a string of top-level misses shaping his career narrative rather than his scoring quality.
Aside from the misfires and poor form, it was Morata’s behavior on the pitch that most frustrated fans who watched him hoping to see him rekindle the positive first months. Straying offside, irritating fouls and his head constantly staring at the turf, he felt that any sense of confidence was so weak among Morata’s supporters that it was difficult to stay by his side.
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This is the path that Werner will seek to avoid even through his struggles. You bring Morata to Chelsea fans now and you will find sympathy sorely lacking, mainly due to a perceived lack of effort and commitment during his toughest months.
The good thing for Werner is that, for what he lacks in execution, he makes up for it with his persistent pressing up front and relentless running which has already endeared him to Chelsea loyalists. The Bridge already has a song for the German to the tune of “Just Can’t Get Enough” by Depeche Mode.
He was already involved in a Champions League triumph and was involved in some of the Blues’ biggest goals last season, so there is reason to hope that Werner’s legacy at the club will be much brighter than that of Morata.
Can Werner avoid the same path as Morata at Chelsea? Follow our writer CareFreeChelsea Daniel Child on Twitter to join the discussion and give us your feedback in the comments section below.