Chelsea fear that record signing Alvaro Morata will miss at least a month with a hamstring strain. The forward, who has scored seven goals in eight matches since joining the Blues from Real Madrid, limped out of Chelsea’s 1-0 home defeat by Manchester City on Saturday after only 10 minutes.
Manager Antonio Conte claimed after the game that withdrawing Morata had been precautionary, but after a scan in Madrid on Monday the Spanish FA revealed that the 24-year-old has a grade two hamstring tear.
The Premier League champions takes on bottom-of-the-table Crystal Palace after the international break, the start of a run of seven games in 23 days – culminating in a title clash at the start of November.
Although Morata would have been unlikely to face Everton in the Carabao Cup, he will miss decisive back-to-back Champions League ties against Roma. The Italian giants are Chelsea’s closest rivals in Group C, having picked up four points from their opening two matches, and have been in excellent form in Serie A, winning five of their first six matches.
The biggest blow will come on Bonfire Night, right at the end of Morata’s recovery timetable, when the Blues host Manchester United – a match they cannot afford to lose after dropping points to City already.
Fortunately for Chelsea, there will be another international break beginning just after they take on United, giving Morata another two weeks to get back to full fitness if he is still not 100% fit.
His injury leaves Chelsea with only Michy Batshuayi as a recognised striker, after Diego Costa’s return to Atletico Madrid last week and Conte’s failure to sign a back-up forward in the summer.
MATCHES MORATA SET TO MISS
- Crystal Palace v Chelsea (PREM) – Saturday October 14
- Chelsea v Roma (UCL) – Wednesday October 18
- Chelsea v Watford (PREM) – Saturday October 21
- Chelsea v Everton (EFL) – Wednesday October 25
- Bournemouth v Chelsea (PREM) – Saturday
- October 28 Roma v Chelsea (UCL) – Tuesday October 31
- Chelsea v Manchester United (PREM) – November 5