Alvaro Morata or Michy Batshuayi? Why it changes Chelsea’s style

Alvaro Morata came on to replace Michy Batshuayi during Sunday's Community Shield

Alvaro Morata and Michy Batshuayi are both talented young strikers but Antonio Conte's selection decision has a dramatic effect on Chelsea's style of play, explains Sky Sports' tactics expert Danny Higginbotham.

Batshuayi got the nod for the 3-2 home defeat to Burnley but the Belgian is so different to Diego Costa that his presence has repercussions in terms of the roles of his team-mates.

"Batshuayi and Costa are very different types of centre-forwards," says Higginbotham "Batshuayi is always looking to run in behind and play on the shoulder continuously.

Danny Higginbotham analyses Chelsea's away fixture against Tottenham on Sunday
Image: Michy Batshuayi started for Chelsea in their home defeat to Burnley

"The problem that you have with that is that the players who are playing behind him, whether that is Willian, Pedro or whoever, they are going to struggle to get in behind themselves.

"The way that Batshuayi plays, the players that play behind him, their pace is wasted. Because Batshuayi likes to play on the shoulder, teams who play against them, they are going to drop and [the full-backs] are going to become narrow.

"So the problem then is that there is absolutely no space in behind for the runners - the likes of Eden Hazard and Willian. All they can do really is dictate from deep."

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In contrast, Costa's willingness to move towards the ball as well as run in behind presented the defence with a decision. "Last season we saw so many instances where Diego Costa dropped deep and then players would get in behind," adds Higginbotham.

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"The problem [for the opposition] then is that the centre-halves will squeeze up so the full-backs will have to squeeze up. What happens then is that the spaces become apparent.

"This is where you are going to look at Morata.

"Morata for me is much more of a Costa style centre-forward. Conte will be hoping he can have the same effect. It's the style that they are used to playing and it's the style that Conte wants to play as well.

Danny Higginbotham analyses Chelsea's choice of striker ahead of the game against Tottenham
Image: Alvaro Morata's ability to come deep opens up space for Chelsea's runners

"That's why when everyone was talking about Romelu Lukaku, I didn't believe at the time that he would have been the right signing for Chelsea because the dynamics would have to change completely."

So will it be Morata who gets his first Premier League start against Tottenham at Wembley on Sunday? "I'm interested to see how Morata does because for me he is the like-for-like replacement more than Batshuayi," says Higginbotham.

"The dynamics change just by changing the centre-forward."

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