The good news for Álvaro Morata is that unlike Chelsea—a side that’s gone from early-season title contenders to just hoping they make the top-four—the Spanish striker has been rather consistent this season in his performances. The bad news is that that consistency has yielded a year of mediocrity for the £60 million man.
Prior to Saturday’s game, Morata had just five goals in 25 appearances for his club. An FA Cup start against Championship side Nottingham Forest was supposed to be a remedy to get some confidence, and effectiveness, back into his game. The plan seemed to work at first. A great cross from Callum Hudson-Odoi saw Morata score the opening goal at the 49-minute mark with ease. Unfortunately, he wasn’t so lucky with his next simple opportunity to score. The Spanish striker hit the ball to the goddamn moon with no defenders around him in the 57th minute.
Sure, Morata was in an offside position, but the miss was emblematic of the bad season that has relegated the forward to supplementary roles on the team sheet at best. It showed that the image of seeing that easy goal fly into stratosphere clearly affected him for the rest of the game. When Morata doubled his goal tally for the evening, the Spaniard displayed the body language not of someone who felt like they had a weight off their shoulders, but like someone who felt the increasing burden of expectations suddenly return.
Morata had such a stellar start to his career with the Blues, and now it looks like any positive feelings from that moment in time have been lost. When a striker starts to look as dejected as he does, even when actually scoring, it probably means it’s time for a change of scenery.