A Brief Analysis of Alvaro Morata - A Shed End Dallas Perspective
He is a quality player, with a diverse effective skillset. He isn’t a track star but is fast and quick. Speed of thought and intelligent positioning help him beat equal athletes in getting to the ball. He gets into dangerous positions and can intelligently find space away from the play to become an option at the end of moves; moreover, is also able to find space to participate in possession and moving the ball around the pitch. Morata is pretty strong on the ball, not sure how strong holding the ball with players on his back, but good at putting players on his hip and running with the ball. Like Alonso he is technically gifted and comfortable on the ball. He is much quicker than Alonso but if you notice Marcus Alonso doesn’t lose the ball often when it is at his feet. You get the same type of composure and control on the ball from Morata but a lot more pace with the ball. He also has a few simple but effective turns which seem like a lost art these days.
While he looks like a pretty boy, he actually has a bit of a fiery side that has gotten him in a bit of trouble. It seems to have been harnessed but I’d imagine we will see it every once in a while this season. He is a good passer, seems to make the right pass which isn’t always the simple pass or obvious choice. When compared to Diego Costa I do not see us losing much other than experience but having played in Europe with two massive clubs, and winning every major championship possible I think he will be up for any challenge. Having scored crucial goals in Serie A and UCL and most recently the equalizer in the UCL match away to Atletico. He is better than Costa in the air, maybe won’t hold a defender off as well, but will find space and more movement to not get into this type of situation. What helped Costa get back to his best last season was having two players close to him and often 1 ahead of him. It was frustrating at times watching Costa not play passes or miss key forward passes. Morata will be much better with players ahead of him. He is far from having the ability of a number 10, but he can drop into space, turn, shift to a side and find a pass or thru-ball more often and accurate than Costa. I think Morata has the potential to match Costa’s goal return and add more assists.
Costa liked to start in the center and move to his left to setup shots on his right foot. With Hazard also liking to work in this area, sometimes it hampered our attack. Morata seems more comfortable moving into different areas and is good with both feet which will help keep defenders off balance when he faces them up around the box. Costa also often didn’t seem to find the right tempo and timing with his teammates other than Hazard and Fabregas. Hopefully Morata will be able to build a similar relationship with these 2, but also Pedro, Willian, Alonso, Moses, and Musonda (I can hope). Remember he has played in big teams and was never the star or focal point. He will understand finding key players, creating chances and spaces for them, while also looking for his own opportunities. Morata will land more 1st time passes which reflects a better understanding of his surroundings, and also generating more space for his teammates and himself as the defenders have less time to close down or track runs.
We will lose Costa’s ferocious closing down and tracking back, but if Morata can hold onto the ball in more situations where Costa would have lost it, this will not be as important. Not to say Morata is lazy in defense, Costa is just unique in this sense. Morata will do better maneuvering out of tight situations, where Costa would try to bully his way out which was not truly effective. You really never had to worry about Costa beating you to his left and shooting. It happened a few times but how often did you find him trying to force and bully the ball onto his right foot for a shot but getting tackled. Morata in his earlier days seemed to have a similar problem of wanting to put the ball on his right or being indecisive in front of goal but that looks like something he has gotten out of his game. Also he will score more goals in the 6 yard box, an area Costa didn’t get into as much as I’d like for a CF.
If you all remember us playing Willian/Hazard/Pedro while Costa was out, the team looked just as good for the most part. This was because of the increased movement up front. Morata should fit into the system in this sense while adding strength and finishing ability. That being said, he could have a slow start as we have a tough start to the season. Morata is coming in confident from his comments about Conte placing faith in him. If his confidence remains high, and he stays fit, he should score plenty of goals.