Wasteful Alvaro Morata Cost Chelsea to Draw with Arsenal
It looked like Chelsea had come from behind to triumph when Marcos Alonso struck six minutes from time, after Jack Wilshere’s first league goal since May 2015 had been cancelled out by an Eden Hazard penalty.
But the Gunners would not be beaten and Bellerin punished Alonso’s poor clearing header with a fine finish for a share of the points – though there was still time for Chelsea’s Davide Zappacosta to hit the crossbar.
Simon Johnson assesses the key talking points for the champions…
Morata’s form is cause for concern
Chelsea are so reliant on the Spain international, they can’t afford him to go off the boil in front of goal.
And yet at Emirates Stadium, there was yet another indication that their top scorer is bereft of confidence.
After having two one-on-one situations saved against Stoke on Saturday, he failed to even find the target when put clean through early on tonight.
It brought back memories of Fernando Torres at his worst in a blue shirt and his wastefulness meant Chelsea had to settle for a share of the spoils.
After the break, he had two more clear-cut chances to redeem himself but again was found wanting.
Elsewhere, Diego Costa (as well as Torres) was scoring on his second debut for Atletico Madrid. He wouldn’t have been so wasteful in front of the goal here.
Courtois can ask for an, even more, money now
Chelsea has been in talks with the Belgium international over an extension to his contract for a while now and this display showed why it’s vital they reach an agreement.
Courtois made one of the saves of the season to deny Alexis Sanchez in the first half, but also denied Alexandre Lacazette on two other occasions.
Chelsea is confident that negotiations will conclude in their favour before the end of the season.
But Real Madrid is still lurking in the background and might renew their interest in this evidence.
Courtois wants around £200,000-a-week to stay on, double what he’s currently earning, but his asking price might go up after this.
Moses has another game to forget vs Arsenal
Moses is not a popular figure in this part of north London. Arsenal fans still remember how he was shown a second yellow card for diving in the area during the FA Cup Final last May.
On this occasion, he left proceedings early because coach Antonio Conte wanted to end his suffering at the hands of Arsenal’s left flank.
Youngster Ainsley Maitland-Niles was particularly giving him trouble and so Conte replaced Moses with Davide Zappacosta.
That didn’t improve matters and the latter was sleeping as Jack Wilshere danced through to open the scoring.
At least Zappacosta was more effective going forward than Moses, supplying a fine cross to Alonso for the Chelsea’s second – his first assist of the season.
Hazard is the great entertainer
Admirers of the Premier League, not just Chelsea, will surely hope the Belgian ignores the overtures of Real Madrid to stay on these shores.
Hazard is the kind of player that gets people off their seats, with his dribbling and fancy skills.
One silky touch brought gasps of admiration from all corners of the ground in the second half.
Understandably the Arsenal contingent saw him as the villain of the piece for the way he won a penalty, which he then dispatched to level the scores. He was booed off when substituted late on.
But it could be argued he wasn’t at his highest level, otherwise he might have punished their struggles at the back more severely.
Alonso should be in everyone’s fantasy team
If you’re one of the many that play this game throughout the season, then Alonso should be one of the first names on the team-sheet.
No-one would have said that 17 months ago when he moved to Stamford Bridge, but then no-one could have expected him to be so lethal in front of goal.
Remarkably this was his 12th League goal for the club and once again it was a finish worthy of any top striker.
While Morata was fluffing his lines, Alonso ghosted into the penalty area to convert Zappacosta’s cross