Former Liverpool star believes Chelsea’s Morata gamble has paid off

Jamie Redknapp believes Chelsea’s decision to replace striker Diego Costa with Alvaro Morata has paid off.

The 24-year-old has hit the ground running in the Premier League, scoring three goals in four games to fire Chelsea up to third in the table.

Costa scored 20 league goals as Chelsea claimed last season’s title, but Redknapp thinks manager Antonio Conte’s decision to ditch the former Atletico Madrid star was correct.

“I said at the start of the year that one of the biggest gambles was doing what they have done with Costa and then playing Morata, but at the moment it seems to be working,” he told Sky Sports.

“Morata is one of the best headers of the ball I have seen in a long time. He has an incredible technique. He heads everything into the floor so it’s almost impossible for the keeper to save.

“He is not as good as Costa outside the box, and not as clever with the ball, but he looks a good player and he is a goalscorer. When the ball is in the box he will score.”

Costa’s ability to link-up with Eden Hazard was one of the key factors in Chelsea’s title success last term, but Redknapp insists Morata will soon get onto the same wavelength as the Belgian.

“One thing about Costa and Hazard is they played great intricate one-twos outside the box to link up,” added Redknapp.

“I don’t foresee that as much with Morata, but once Hazard comes inside with the ball you will see Morata making darting runs behind the defence and I think they will link up well, albeit in a different way to how Hazard and Costa played together.”

Chelsea are back in action on Sunday as they welcome Arsenal to Stamford Bridge.

Morata is 10/3 to score the first goal, with Hazard priced at 5/1. The Blues won the corresponding fixture 3-1 last season and can be backed at 12/1 for a repeat performance this weekend.