Sarri’s conundrum



Alvaro Morata (left) and Eden Hazard celebrate. PICTURE: GETTY IMAGES

Tim Harrison

By Tim Harrison

The conundrum for Blues manager Morrie Sarri is whether to shuffle his midfield and risk alienating those left out, or stick with his tried and tested formula.

He experimented (a little) against Crystal Palace last weekend by including Ross Barkley from the start and moving the equally-in-form Mateo Kovacic to the bench.

But it was only after the double second-half substitutions of Barkley and Willian for Kovacic and Eden Hazard that Chelsea resumed their imperious form which sees them unbeaten into November.

Barkley may have slightly more grit than Kovacic, and be more ready to shoot on sight, but his steady improvement doesn’t mean he’s the perfect midfield partner to go with N’Golo Kante and Jorginho.

Sarri watched, chewed and thought. The next few league team selections – starting with Everton’s visit on Remembrance Sunday – will tell us a lot.

Hazard’s return after his back injury was greeted with a standing ovation, and he made an instant impact. Oh, how Alvaro Morata loves him, for creating openings and space in equal measure.

Morata scored two, and should have lobbed Wayne Hennessey for a morale-boosting third in stoppage time… but fell inches short of evading the Palace keeper’s fingertips in the 3-1 victory.

The hair-gelled Madrid-born striker has now scored four in four, beating his previous record of, er, three in 23. He’s as keen as anyone at the Bridge to see the midfield conundrum solved.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not necessarily those of Hammersmith & Fulham Council.

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