Champions League goal is further evidence of Alvaro Morata magic
Juventus’ slender 2-1 Champions League last 16 lead over Borussia Dortmund is largely thanks to reported £15m summer signing Alvaro Morata.
Coral recently brought punters news of Liverpool being linked with the Spain striker and, now that he has proved he can perform on a major senior stage like Europe’s elite club competition, his stock should continue to rise.
Carlos Tevez profited from Borussia Dortmund stopper Roman Weidenfeller spilling Morata’s shot to grab the opener before scoring himself, after Marco Reus had quickly restored parity.
Impressive stats of two Champions League goals in four career starts indicate, no pun intended, Morata is the real deal. It’s a similar story when Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri has named the player in his XI domestically.
On six occasions when Morata has played the full 90 minutes in Serie A and the Coppa Italia, his return is four strikes. To put that in some perspective, Mario Balotelli cost Liverpool a similar amount of cash (£16m), but scored a sole goal from as many outings when the enigmatic Italian has got a full game under his belt.
Morata is thus making a huge case to no longer be benched behind Basque target man Fernando Llorente, who admittedly brings very different qualities to his fellow Spaniard.
Carlos Tevez, the Old Lady’s leading marksman with a hugely impressive 20 from 30 appearances across all competitions, is an automatic first-choice option for Allegri, leaving the only question being who partners him?
Under their current coach, Juventus have moved away from the 3-5-2 set-up used by predecessor Antonio Conte to a midfield diamond, but some similarities, namely width provided by the full backs, remain.
Former tactics certainly favoured Llorente more, as Stephan Lichtsteiner and Kwadwo Asamoah (since injured and replaced in Juve’s line-up by ex-Manchester United defender Patrice Evra) could play with more abandon out wide.
With Allegri expecting better discipline on the flanks of defence, crosses are not coming into Llorente as often when he plays. Morata, meanwhile, demonstrated how deadly he can be coming in from the wing when helping Spain’s youth side win the UEFA European Under-21 Championship in 2013.
As midfield is flooded by an extra body, Morata can take up these wide positions as he has either Tevez or Llorente as a partner to occupy opposition centre backs.
This clever movement in the channels or starting with chalk on his boots can help Juventus, 11/5 to win their Champions League last 16 second leg in Dortmund, continue to evolve.