Striker Alvaro Morata could miss seven matches for Chelsea over the coming weeks after the Spanish Football Federation revealed he has sustained a myofascial injury to his hamstring muscles.
The summer signing from Real Madrid came off holding his thigh in Saturday’s Premier League defeat to Manchester City, though manager Antonio Conte initially suggested he had been withdrawn only as a precaution. But the injury is more serious than first realised, and typically requires four to six weeks to recover from, potentially ruling Morata out of an incredibly busy period of fixtures for Chelsea.
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.
There is a slim chance he could make the matchday squad if recovers at the quickest possible rate, potentially providing an awkward encounter with United after the club ditched their summer-long pursuit to sign Romelu Lukaku instead. 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.
The seven games Alvaro Morata could 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