Álvaro Morata

West Brom 0-4 Chelsea: Clinical Blues punish Pulis

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  • Hazard bags brace
  • Fabregas with two assists
  • Morata, Alonso score
  • WBA winless since August

Alvaro Morata and Eden Hazard assisted each other on a pair of first half goals as Chelsea battered hapless West Bromwich Albion 4-0 at the Hawthorns on Saturday.

Hazard added a second, and Marcos Alonso also scored as Chelsea moved second on 25 points.

West Brom sinks 17th with 10 points, and will hit the drop zone if West Ham beats Watford on Sunday.

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Salomon Rondon headed home within 10 minutes of kickoff, but was offside.

Tiemoue Bakayaoko turned Gareth McAuley off a Cesc Fabegas feed in the 14th minute, and pulled up lame before the corner kick.

Chelsea went ahead through Morata, who was well away from McAuley when he pushed an Hazard rebound past Ben Foster.

Hazard made it 2-0 in the 23rd, taking a deft flick from Morata and dancing around Foster to score into an open goal.

The boo birds were out at the Hawthorns come the 38th minute, as Alonso was unmarked at the back post for a clever finish of Fabregas’ too easy free kick.

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Hazard looked to make it 4-0 in the 50th minute with a terrific dribble, but Foster denied him. Fabregas saw yellow for embellishment in a bid to finish the move.

Hazard did supply the fourth after another string-pulling pass from Fabregas and a deft touch allowed him some time to belt a ball past Foster.

Spain 5-0 Costa Rica: Silva, Morata star in thrashing of Ticos

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After disastrous showings at back-to-back major tournaments — group-stage elimination at the 2014 World Cup, followed by a round-of-16 exit at EURO 2016 (disastrous by their lofty standards) — Spain appear in perfect position to make a deep run at the 2018 World Cup.

[ MORE: Shaqiri promises “nice party” in Switzerland “when we qualify” ]

Having qualified directly into next summer’s tournament in Russia on the back of nine wins (and a draw) during their 10-game qualifying campaign, Saturday saw La Furia Roja take on another already-qualified side, rising CONCACAF power Costa Rica, and reiterate to everyone the gulf in class between Europe’s giants and hopefuls from elsewhere.

The final score — 5-0 to the home side — extended Spain’s current unbeaten run to 15 games (their last defeat came at EURO 2016), and was still perhaps flattering for Los Ticos, as it could have easily been 7-0, or 8-0, or worse.

[ MORE: WCQ — Ireland, Denmark all square ahead of decisive second leg ]

1. Jordi Alba smashes a left-footed shot past backup goalkeeper Dany Carvajal (Real Madrid’s Keylor Navas wasn’t called into this camp), the 7th international goal of his career.

2. Alvaro Morata pounces after Carvajal spills the ball inside his own six-yard box — his 13th goal for Spain.

3. David Silva slams home his first of two goals after one Costa Rican defender clears the ball off another.

4. Silva goes it alone this time — he wins the ball back, races into the penalty area and fires past Carvajal.

5. Andres Iniesta carries the ball, unimpeded, 40 yards through the heart of midfield. He fires from nearly 25 yards out and makes it 5-0.

The following is anything but solely based upon Saturday’s result: It’s officially safe to put Spain into the conversation of favorites — alongside the likes of Germany, Brazil and France — ahead of next summer.

Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United: Blues superb in win

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  • Chelsea out-attempts Utd 18-10
  • Morata heads home winner
  • Jones o.g. called back for foul

Alvaro Morata led Chelsea to a controlling 1-0 win over Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

It was Morata’s eighth Chelsea goal, and the fifth to come courtesy of a Cesar Azpiliecueta assist.

Chelsea stays fourth with 22 points, one behind Spurs and United and nine behind Man City.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Chelsea believed it had a 1-0 lead, but only for a moment, when Alvaro Morata shoved Phil Jones into a cross for what would’ve been an own goal. Jones went down rather easily, but focus is magnified inside the box.

At the other end, Marcus Rashford mistimed his leap to meet a fine cross from Ashley Young, popping the ball over the frame.

Blue-haired Tiemoue Bakayoko missed a solid chance when Davide Zappacosta‘s cross eluded three players to find him at the back post. He took another chance moments later, deflected out for a corner kick.

Then…

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A testy first half continued into the second half, as Ander Herrera stamped on Eden Hazard‘s foot after the Belgian cut past him.

De Gea caught a Hazard rip that had vicious pace but improper aim.

That’s when Morata put Chelsea ahead running between Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling to head a beautiful Azpilicueta cross past a helpless De Gea.

Morata took a superfluous touch after Cesc Fabregas dispossessed sub Marouane Fellaini, missing a chance to try for a brace in the 65th.

Bakayoko stripped Fellaini and hit a right footed effort wide of the goal in the 75th minute. De Gea stopped Hazard moments later.

Thibaut Courtois made a fantastic save on Fellaini in the 90th minute, getting horizontal to slap away his header.

Alvaro Morata’s comments concerning for Chelsea?

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On Monday Alvaro Morata backtracked quicker than a man moon-walking.

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The Spanish international was quoted by an Italian newspaper saying that London fascinated him but that “I do not see myself living here for very long. Too much, too much stress, too many metropolises.”

Add to that his glowing praise of the lifestyle in Italy from his time spent at Juventus in the past — “for a Spaniard is the best country to live. You have everything: beauty, history, art, cooking, fashion. I would never have left Italy and Juve” — and Chelsea’s fans were correctly concerned.

Morata, 25, addressed the media ahead of Chelsea’s UEFA Champions League group stage game with AS Roma and wanted to put the record straight as he blamed a “connection problem” for the less than complementary quotes attributed to him.

“I’m really happy here and enjoying London with my wife,” Morata said. “When I finish my career, I prefer to come back to my country. I prefer the place where I was born, that’s normal. When I say London is a stressful city, I’m talking about the traffic and a lot of people. It’s an incredible city. If Chelsea proposed 10 years, I’d probably sign it. I’m happy with everything. If I make good and improve, I can stay here more than five years.”

So, we may not see Morata sipping on tea along the River Thames or raving about the transport system in England’s capital city anytime soon, but should we really be concerned about that?

No.

Morata is a human being with opinions and if he and his wife (who is Italian, by the way) prefer living in Italy to England, that’s fine. I’m sure most English people would probably prefer to hang out in the Italian Alps or on the Amalfi Coast given the chance.

That’s what makes this the most perplexing. Morata’s comments suggested he wouldn’t be at Chelsea for long, but he signed a five-year contract in the summer and nowhere did he say he wouldn’t at least honor that. His overzealous denial was a little cringe-worthy but at least he tried to rectify the situation with Chelsea’s fans having their noses put a little out of joint.

Morata’s ability is undoubted and Chelsea’s fans shouldn’t be too concerned about his comments. I’m sure if you asked most Premier League players about their long-term plans of where they will live, not many will say where they currently reside. That’s the way it is. Let’s move on.

The added issue when it comes to Morata’s comments is that his manager at Chelsea, Antonio Conte, continues to be linked with a move back to Italy and has also been quoted as saying similar things in the Italian media. Chelsea’s fans, understandably, don’t want to lose their manager and star striker in one fell swoop.

Plus, coming after Diego Costa left for Atletico Madrid after he admitted to not settling in England (to go along with his spat with Conte), Morata’s comments were perhaps a little too close to home for Chelsea’s fan to handle.

Was it ill-advised for Morata to talk negatively about the city and area where he plays? Yes. Of course. Should he be lambasted for being honest? No.

Chelsea’s fans should only be worried once he stops scoring goals.

Morata: London is stressful; “I would never have left Juve”

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If you see Alvaro Morata in a pub in London anytime soon, give him a hug.

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Morata, 25, has been talking about life in England’s capital city after his summer transfer from Real Madrid and it’s safe to say he is still adjusting.

Speaking to Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, Morata revealed he finds life in London a little too stressful and also waxed lyrical about Italy (where his wife is from) as Chelsea prepare to play AS Roma in a UEFA Champions League clash on Tuesday.

“I’m fine. I live in downtown Chelsea. London fascinates me with its multi-ethnicity, the coexistence of cultures and religions, but I do not see myself living here for very long. Too much, too much stress, too many metropolises,” Morata said. “Italy for a Spaniard is the best country to live. You have everything: beauty, history, art, cooking, fashion. I would never have left Italy and Juve. The disappointment [of leaving Juventus] was enormous, I found myself back to the starting point. They [Real Madrid] treated me like the guy I was before the two Italian seasons.”

Very interesting.

On Monday, Morata spoke to the media in Rome alongside his manager Antonio Conte ahead of Chelsea’s game at the Stadio Olimpico.

The Spanish international striker wanted to clarify his comments and said he would signed a “10 year” contract if Chelsea offered it to him.

“Maybe there was a connection problem. I’m really happy here and enjoying London with my wife,” Morata said. “When I finish my career, I prefer to come back to my country. I prefer the place where I was born, that’s normal. When I say London is a stressful city, I’m talking about the traffic and a lot of people. It’s an incredible city.”

“If Chelsea proposed 10 years, I’d probably sign it. I’m happy with everything. If I make good and improve, I can stay here more than five years.”

Conte then said he knows Morata is happy in London and that he’s a good person.

Hmm. Okay then. I guess that’s the end of it…

Morata has settled in the Premier League as if he’s played there his entire career with six goals in eight PL appearances so far. It did take him a little while to get settled but he is producing top displays under Conte and is doing a mighty fine job of replacing Diego Costa after his departure to Atletico Madrid.

The Spanish striker admitted the main reason he signed for Chelsea was to work with Conte, his former manager at Juve during a two-year spell from 2014-16, but with Conte’s future questioned on multiple occasions already this season, it seems like Morata would be quite happy to follow his manager out of the door and return to Italy.

Inter Milan? Juve? AC Milan?