LONDON – Just a month ago, Chelsea's attacker, Alvaro Morata, used a downed expression and seemed uncomfortable.
Not unreliable with his return to the goal and the ball on his feet, it seemed that the Chelsea, Eden Hazard, Willian and Pedro players preferred to work with Olivier Giroud's most stable and least fueled figure as a frontman.
There was speculation with the means that Chelsea, uncertain if he could keep his title of the English Premier League title with a non-scoring center, would be to unload Morata in the January transfer window.
The transformation has been extraordinary in the last four weeks.
Morata appeared sharply, busy and hungry on Sunday, when he took his account to four goals in four league games, one more than in his 23 previous games in the competition, with two goals in the Chelsea win by 3-1 on Crystal Palace.
"I am very happy about Alvaro," said Chelsea journalist Maurizio Sarri. "Improved last month in trust and personality. It also improved from the tactical and technical point of view."
Sarri believes that finally Morata shows the way he persuaded Chelsea to pay a club registration fee of about 60 million pounds (78 million dollars) to try the Spanish striker far from Real Madrid for 18 months.
"Potentially it can be (a top striker)," said Sarri. "It has a great physical and technical potential. It can improve more. Sometimes it's a little fragile."
Danger also seems delighted with the newly revived Morata. Belgium striker played a great smile when he embraced his teammate after producing the free kick that led to the second goal of Morata against the Palace.
Morata almost finished with three goals but failed to lift the ball to goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey when he cleared the closing stages.
"It could have scored a hat trick, so it was not the perfect day," said Morata. "I'm improving and I want to continue helping my team win. It's very difficult because Premier League is the most competitive league in the world. When I have a bad period, there's a lot to be recovered. But now I'm fine.
Former Manchester City manager Mark Hughes knew his Southampton team was in a serious problem at Etihad Stadium when two of the opposition's smallest players came out on top of the aerial duels in the attack areas.
"When David Silva and Raheem Sterling have won headgear in their own box, that can not happen," said Hughes after Southampton was crushed 6-1 by Leader City leader.
"I see what I thought:" Come on, we need to be more aggressive and more determined in our defensive game. "This was a frustration for me because we talked a lot before the game about what we were going to do, but very soon our game plan came out window.
"The city asks different questions for you, they still touch your door and choose. You can come here and put everyone behind the ball and try to see 90 minutes, but I did it before and still beat me."
It was the 12th time that City scored five or more goals in a league game since Pep Guardiola took office as a manager 2 1/2 years ago. No other team did the feat on more than six occasions at the same time.
Sergio Aguero became the ninth player in scoring 150 goals from the Premier League when he scored against Southampton. It came in its 217th appearance and only Alan Shearer, in 212 games, reached the mark in fewer games.
The other eight that marked the 150 goals of the Premier League are: 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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