Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at home defeat against title favourites Manchester City was highly damaging for Chelsea. The result is not a fatal one for the Blues title hopes so early in the campaign.
However, a hamstring injury sustained by star striker Alvaro Morata during the game could have a big effect on their season.
The former Real Madrid striker has pulled out of the Spain squad. The striker now reportedly faces up to six weeks out of action with the hamstring injury. The injury is terrible news for Chelsea.
Morata started life at Chelsea in a bright fashion
Morata has certainly started life at Stamford Bridge in good fashion. Brought in as Diego Costa’s replacement, he has filled his international teammate’s shoes in impressive fashion so far this season.
The Spanish international has scored seven times in his nine appearances for the Blues since his big-money move from Real Madrid in the summer. The 24-year-old has also quickly gained an understanding with his new teammates.
Morata’s reputation as a nice guy had led to worries that he is not tough enough mentally to cope with the demands of the English game. Those worries have proven to be unfounded and he has thrived for the Blues.
A lack of out and out strikers at Chelsea
Chelsea now have a major problem in the fact that the Blues lack depth in the striking department. One striker arrived in the summer in the shape of Morata and he replaced Costa. That means that Chelsea’s only recognised central striker is Michy Batshuayi, who has proven to be a better impact player than a starter in his Blues career so far.
To be fair to the Belgian striker he has always been back up striker at Chelsea. Last season it was to Costa and this season to the in-form Morata. The 24-year-old has never really had a run in the team to prove himself.
Even when Morata went off injured against City, Antonio Conte decided to send on winger Willian from the bench instead of the striker. Surely, in Morata’s absence, the former Marseille star must now start games.
With so many players out on loan at other clubs, maybe the Blues management will be ruing some of those exits, especially maybe Tammy Abraham’s loan move to Swansea. The youngster is obviously going to play more minutes in Wales than he would have at Chelsea.
However, he would have been a useful player to have in the squad for this precise sort of situation. Unfortunately, for Conte, the England under-21 is not available to him, so the Italian must find an alternative solution.
Giving Batshuayi the chance seems like the logical choice. The fact that Conte has shown very little trust in the striker suggests that Eden Hazard could be starting as a false number nine or the focal point of the Blues attack next time out.
Chelsea cannot be written-off this season
While the injury to Alvaro Morata is a major blow, Chelsea showed last season that it is very dangerous to write them off, especially so early in the season. The Blues have fallen behind the two Manchester clubs in the race for the title.
In fact, the champions are now odds of 9/1 to win the Premier League title this season. For reigning champions at this stage of a season, those are relatively long odds. Those odds are more likely to do with the fact that Manchester City and Manchester United have made strong starts to their seasons, though.
Chelsea still have a squad full of very good players and a boss in Antonio Conte that is one of the best tacticians in the European game. The Blues do have a good squad. However, at this moment in time, replacing Morata for the next month and a half is a major headache for Conte and his staff.
How badly will Alvaro Morata’s absence affect Chelsea in the coming weeks?
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