Previous
Kairat Almaty
Sigma Olomouc
1
2
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 4
Game Details
Progres Niederkorn
FC Ufa
2
2
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 4
Game Details
AEK Larnaca
SK Sturm Graz
5
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 7 - 0
Game Details
HJK Helsinki
Olimpija Ljubljana
1
4
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 7
Game Details
FC Copenhagen
CSKA Sofia
2
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 4 - 2
Game Details
Universitatea Craiova
RB Leipzig
1
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 4
Game Details
CFR Cluj-Napoca
Alashkert FC
5
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 7 - 0
Game Details
FK Suduva
FK Spartaks Jurmala
0
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
FC Midtjylland
T.N.S.
3
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 5 - 1
Game Details
Apoel Nicosia
Hapoel Be'er
3
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 5 - 3
Game Details
FK Kukesi
Torpedo Kutaisi
2
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 4 - 5
Game Details
Zenit St Petersburg
Dinamo Minsk
8
1
AET
Leg 2Aggregate: 8 - 5
Game Details
Molde
Hibernian
3
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 0
Game Details
Zalgiris Vilnius
Sevilla FC
0
5
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 6
Game Details
Maccabi Tel-Aviv
Pyunik
2
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Lucerne
Olympiakos
1
3
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 7
Game Details
LASK Linz
Besiktas
2
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 2
Game Details
Dinamo Brest
Apollon Limassol
1
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 4
Game Details
Zrinjski Mostar
Ludogorets Razgrad
1
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
F91 Dudelange
Legia Warsaw
2
2
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 4 - 3
Game Details
Atalanta
Hapoel Haifa
2
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 6 - 1
Game Details
FC Basel
Vitesse Arnhem
1
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 0
Game Details
Brøndby
Spartak Zlatibor Voda
2
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 4 - 1
Game Details
Lech Poznan
Racing Genk
1
2
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 4
Game Details
NK Maribor
Rangers FC
0
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 3
Game Details
Partizan Belgrade
FC Nordsjaelland
3
2
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 5 - 3
Game Details
FCSB
Hajduk Split
2
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Rapid Vienna
Slovan Bratislava
4
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 5 - 2
Game Details
Feyenoord Rotterdam
AS Trencin
1
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 5
Game Details
KAA Gent
Jagiellonia Bialystok
3
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 4 - 1
Game Details
Rosenborg
Cork
3
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 5 - 0
Game Details
Rijeka
Sarpsborg FK
0
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
Burnley
Istanbul Basaksehir
1
0
AET
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
Bordeaux
FC Mariupol
2
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 5 - 2
Game Details
Valur Reykjavik
Sheriff Tiraspol
2
1
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 2Sheriff Tiraspol wins on Away Goals
Game Details
Braga
FC Zorya Luhansk
2
2
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 3FC Zorya Luhansk wins on Away Goals
Game Details
Next

Transfer Rater: Chelsea in for Oblak, Fekir

Football Whispers
Read

Chelsea vs. City: 50-50 Challenge

50-50 Challenge
Read
 By Phil Lythell

Chelsea need to show patience, give Alvaro Morata another shot to prove his worth

Shaka Hislop and Alexis Nunes debate whether Chelsea's FA Cup triumph makes it a successful season and what it means for Eden Hazard's future.

It's debatable which position is the most important in a football team, though there is no doubt where the spotlight is most sharply focussed. Being a striker can bring plenty of glory, but the glare can also summon unwanted and sometimes unwarranted attention. Being a new striker at Chelsea is particularly tough due to the stature of your predecessors with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Hernan Crespo, Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka and Diego Costa all setting the bar extremely high since the dawn of the millennium.

It is fair to say that the latest incumbent, Alvaro Morata, has not quite matched the achievements of those that have come before. Signed for an initial £58 million from Real Madrid last summer, a fast start petered out amid niggling injuries, loss of form and confidence and an increasingly rancorous dressing room. As a consequence, the rumour mill has inevitably started whirring with a return to Juventus mooted in some quarters.

But Chelsea should not be too quick to offload their misfiring hitman. Sure, the modus operandi of the Roman Abramovich era has demanded immediate success from both players and coach, though in this instance it might just pay to look beyond Morata's statistical output. Just a cursory glance at last season's Premier League would suggest that the Blues were more than a little hasty in jettisoning the league's top goalscorer, Mohamed Salah, and probably the best midfield playmaker in Europe, Kevin De Bruyne.

Whether Morata will ever attain such heights is unknown, though perhaps it is time to show patience in a clearly gifted player. During the first -- positive -- half of the season he showed that he can be the complete centre-forward: strong in the air, quick on the ground, sharp in link-up play, possessing excellent touch, decent finishing ability as well as being able to help out defensively from set pieces.

Just because his season faded away, Morata should not be instantly written off. Admittedly, he has seemed perturbed by the physical nature of English football and the reluctance of referees to rule in his favour, but he wouldn't be the first Chelsea striker to suffer like that.

It should not be forgotten that Didier Drogba was far from a resounding success in his first year at the club. He ended 2004-05 with 10 league goals -- one fewer than Morata scored this season -- and only netted 12 the following campaign. He too suffered criticism at the hands of his own fans for going to ground too easily. Chelsea winning the title in both those seasons helped him to escape too much scrutiny and the club's patience was rewarded with Drogba evolving into one of the greatest players to have ever worn the shirt. That is not to say Morata will emulate the legendary Ivorian, though it does suggest that he should be given time and the benefit of the doubt.

Chelsea's Alvaro Morata struggled in his first season at Stamford Bridge. Will he get another one?
Alvaro Morata is already being rumoured with a move away from Chelsea after a poor debut season.

Drogba was 26 when he joined Chelsea, Morata is currently 25. Perhaps it is too late to say he is still developing but having only just enjoyed his first full season of regular football, it is not an outrageous assertion. Either way, the raw talent is certainly there as seen by the different types of goals that he is able to score and some of his bewildering link-up play with Eden Hazard, notably in the 2-1 win at Atletico Madrid.

Olivier Giroud, 31, might have bagged some crucial goals towards the end of the season, but nobody really sees him as the man to lead Chelsea back to the promised land. Morata, on the other hand, possesses the exact skill set to do so as long as he is handled correctly.

The Spaniard is clearly reliant on confidence to perform at his best and he is the type of player that could thrive under the right manager. With Chelsea almost certainly about to dispense of Antonio Conte, they could do worse than appoint somebody with the ability to coax the best out of their most expensive ever signing. Under the right tutelage and with a summer off to recuperate and get ready for next season -- having been omitted from Spain's World Cup squad -- Morata could yet be the revelation that Chelsea fans were hoping he would be.

Of course, there is no guarantee that Morata will fare any better next time around, though the alternative is even less palatable. With no Champions League football to tempt top-tier players to Stamford Bridge -- despite fanciful reports linking Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski with a move to West London -- should Morata be sold then Chelsea would be left with Giroud and Michy Batshuayi as their centre forwards, Both are decent players yet neither are of the caliber needed to fire the Blues back to their rightful position in the table.

With a £58m striker on their books, one who has scored in Champions League finals and semifinals, Chelsea might already have such a player. It is time the club showed a little faith. It might just pay off.

Phil is one of ESPN's Chelsea bloggers. You can follow him on Twitter @PhilLythell.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.