Chelsea have been dealt a major injury blow with striker Alvaro Morata facing an extended period on the sidelines after being diagnosed with a grade two hamstring injury.
The Spanish forward pulled up with a suspected hamstring injury ten minutes before half-time during the Blues' clash against Manchester City on Saturday (30 September), but Antonio Conte suggested his withdrawal was precautionary as they were keen to avoid the striker suffering a more serious injury.
Morata was expected to pull out of international duty with Spain for their upcoming World Cup qualifier games against Albania and Israel. The striker traveled to his homeland and underwent a scan and was diagnosed with a grade-two hamstring strain, but did not provide a timeline with regards to a potential return date.
Initial reports suggested that the striker could return for Chelsea's game against Crystal Palace after the current international break, but according to the Guardian, the striker is facing at least six weeks on the sidelines, which will come as a massive blow for Conte, who has relied on the striker for the goals thus far.
The 24-year-old has taken to the Premier League like the proverbial duck to water and scored six goals in seven league games thus far. Morata will miss at least six games if he is sidelined for over a month and it includes their Champions League double-header against Roma, Premier League clashes against Palace, Watford, Bournemouth and most significantly their clash against Manchester United on 5 November.
The Spain international's absence will leave the manager with Michy Batshuayi as the only available centre-forward following Diego Costa's departure to Ateltico Madrid. The Belgium international has scored five goals across all competitions thus far, but is not preferred by Conte, as the manager showed when he chose to bring on Willian instead of Batshuayi when Morata got injured 35 minutes into the City game.