Chelsea's Maurizio Sarri to rotate Alvaro Morata, Olivier Giroud over long season
Maurizio Sarri said he will need both Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata on form to keep Chelsea on track in all competitions after Giroud impressed against Cardiff City on his first Premier League start of the season.
Morata was an unused substitute as Eden Hazard's hat trick propelled Chelsea to a 4-1 victory at Stamford Bridge, with Giroud impressing despite failing to score.
Giroud assisted each of Hazard's first two goals with intelligent lay-offs and provided a polished focal point for Chelsea's fluid attack throughout, but after the match, Sarri -- who said Morata is in line to start against PAOK Salonika in the Europa League on Thursday -- said he will continue to alternate his two strikers depending on the nature and style of the opponent.
"In the last two weeks I have seen four matches of Cardiff and four matches of PAOK Salonika and for me, I thought [on Friday] Giroud was more suitable for this match and Morata more suitable for the other," Sarri said.
"I don't know now who will be the striker of the future. I think both, because we have to play 60 matches. For their characteristics, they are different. It depends on the kind of match. [Giroud] played very well without scoring, but very useful for his teammates, I think."
Chelsea's striker dilemma has been diminished in significance by the blistering scoring form of Hazard, whose man-of-the-match performance against Cardiff took his tally to five goals in five Premier League appearances this season despite completing 90 minutes only twice.
Sarri believes Hazard can score as many as 40 goals -- even though his best Premier League tally is 16, set in the 2016-17 season -- and that he should be gunning for the Premier League Golden Boot award.
"I think so," Sarri said when asked if he thinks Hazard can outscore Liverpool's Mohamed Salah, Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane and Manchester City's Sergio Aguero.
"I talked with Eden [on Friday] and I told him that for me, he can score 40 goals. He has to improve something, but he can do it. If you saw the game today, you have to say [he believed me]."
Marcos Alonso also believes his teammate can take home the award considering Salah's success in doing so last season.
"We saw last year Salah fight for it and they play more or less the same position, as a winger coming inside the pitch," Alonso said. "If he keeps playing this way, why not?
"He's one of the best in Europe for sure. He has started very well after a very good World Cup. He's playing awesome football and I hope he keeps this. We all have to help him to score goals and help him to continue like this."