EDEN HAZARD’s Chelsea team-mates Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud have been blasted for letting him down with their profligacy in front of goal.
And BBC pundit Martin Keown thinks the two are part of the reason Chelsea won’t win the league title over Manchester City or Liverpool because Maurizio Sarri’s team do not share goals around the team enough.
Giroud earned his second start of the season but could not get on the score-sheet while Morata, off the bench, saw an opportunity well saved as the Blues drew a blank at West Ham yesterday.
Chelsea’s 100 per-cent start to the season was ended by the Hammers at the London Stadium despite both sides having chances.
Sarri was without winger Pedro, who has three goals in the Premier League this season, after he sustained an injury in a Europa League win at PAOK in Greece earlier in the week.
Hazard and Pedro have supplied nearly 60 per-cent of their side’s top-flight goals this term and with Pedro absent and Belgian talisman Hazard subdued in east London, Chelsea were left frustrated in front of goal.
Morata has scored one goal this season, making it 2-0 in an eventual 3-2 win over Arsenal in August, while Giroud has three assists despite starting on the bench for the first four league games of the season.
But with Giroud having scored just three goals in 18 league games since January 31st, while Morata has returned only two in 16 appearances, Keown criticised the two strikers as “almost criminal” for failing to help out Hazard more often.
“Hazard’s the goalscorer and the other two [Morata and Giroud] haven’t joined the party yet, no goals [sic: Morata has one] so far. That’s almost criminal.
“You need a front pair who can score. Hazard, it wasn’t quite working for him, but Morata had a great opportunity.
“He comes off the bench, he’s got to be ready to take that chance and he didn’t. It’s not quite happening for that front two.
“This is why they won’t be champions but they’re not far away. The manager’s saying they’re a year away from being there but that’s that cutting edge.”
And Keown also suggested that Sarri needs to continue to learn the league, with Chelsea having looked jaded after six of the players who started in Europe days earlier having played at West Ham.
The ex-Arsenal defender added: “Maybe him [Sarri] understanding the work-load as well [will help them compete for the title].
“He played quite a strong team in midweek and then they’ve got Liverpool to come now twice, mid-week game and then next weekend.”
Yet Sarri was not quite as concerned in his post-match address to the media.
The Italian tactician said: “I don’t know where you take the statistics of the match but, in my statistics, we had seven opportunities against their three.
“So I don’t know. I knew that West Ham are a very good team. I don’t know why they lost their first four matches in the league, but they are really a very good team.
“Maybe now in confidence after they won away against Everton. And so, maybe we could have done better in the last 25 minutes of the first half.
“Then, I think that we have played very well – well in the second half, generally, but very well only in the last 25 minutes. So it’s impossible to win every match. It’s okay, one point.”