LONDON – A month ago, Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata wore a sad expression and seemed to lose confidence.
Unreliable by returning to the goal and ball at his feet, it seems as though the Chelsea playmaker, Eden Hazard, Willian and Pedro prefer to work with the lighter and flammable Stevier Giroud as the target man in front.
There has been media speculation that Chelsea, unsure whether it can maintain the challenge of the English Premier League title with a non-scoring center forward, will dismantle Morata in the January transfer window.
Great transformation in the past four weeks.
Morata appeared sharp, busy and hungry on Sunday as he counted his goals to four goals in four league matches, one more than in the previous 23 matches in the competition, with two goals in Chelsea's 3-1 win over Crystal Palace.
"I am very happy for Alvaro," said Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri. "He has increased in the past month in self-confidence and personality. He has also increased from a tactic and technical perspective."
Sarri believes Morata finally showed the form that persuaded Chelsea to pay a club record fee of around 60 million pounds ($ 78 million) to tempt the Spanish striker from Real Madrid 18 months ago.
"He could potentially be (top striker)," Sarri said. "He has great potential physically and technically. He can improve more. Sometimes he is a little fragile."
Danger also seemed pleased with Morata's recent revival. The Belgian forward grinned wide when he embraced his team mate after producing a free kick which led to Morata's second goal against the Palace.
Morata almost ended with three goals but was unable to lift the ball over Palace keeper Wayne Hennessey when he went clean through in the closing stages.
"I can score a hat trick, so it's not a perfect day," Morata said. "I improved and I want to continue to help my team to win. This is very difficult because the Premier League is the most competitive league in the world. When you have a bad period, it takes a long time to recover. But now I'm good. "
Former Manchester City manager Mark Hughes knows his Southampton side are in big trouble at the Etihad Stadium when the two smallest opposition players come out above in an air duel in the attacking area.
"When you get David Silva's header and Raheem Sterling in your own box, that can't happen," Hughes said after Southampton were crushed 6-1 by leaders City.
"Seeing that I thought," Come on, we have to be more aggressive, more determined, in our defensive game. "It was a disappointment for me because we talked a lot before the match about what we were going to do, but very quickly Our game plan comes out of the window.
"Cities ask different questions from you, they keep knocking on your door and they pick you up. You can come here and put everyone behind the ball and try to look out 90 minutes, but I've done it before and still beaten."
It was the 12th time City have scored five or more goals in league matches since Pep Guardiola took over as manager 2 1/2 years ago. No other team achieves more than six times at the same time.
Sergio Aguero became the ninth player to score 150 Premier League goals when he scored against Southampton. It came in 217 appearances and only Alan Shearer, in 212 matches, had reached fewer landmarks in the game.
The other eight have netted 150 Premier League goals: Shearer (260 goals), Wayne Rooney (208), Andy Cole (187), Frank Lampard (177), Thierry Henry (175), Robbie Fowler (163), Jermain Defoe (162 ) and Michael Owen (150).
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