Antonio Conte has good reason to be optimistic about striker Alvaro Morata returning before the end of the month despite different reports claiming that the Chelsea number nine could be on the sidelines between four to eight weeks.

Morata was replaced by Willian in the 35<sup>th minute of Chelsea's 1-0 defeat to Manchester City on Saturday (30 September) after the striker personally requested to come off.

Initial reports suggested that the Chelsea top scorer only suffered a minor hamstring injury to his left leg and could thus return in time to face Crystal Palace on 14 October, after the international break.

However, on Sunday evening (1 October) the Spain national team set alarms bells ringing at Stamford Bridge after revealing that Morata had pulled out from Julen Lopetegui's squad due to the injury, which was described as a grade two strain.

"Alvaro Morata (Chelsea FC) suffers a grade II myofascial injury in the hamstring muscles," Spain confirmed. "The Spanish squad's medical services carry out an MRI scan on Álvaro Morata at the Sanitas University Hospital of La Moraleja (Madrid), where the diagnosis was confirmed."

Spanish doctors didn't set a timeframe on his recovery but BBC and other publications claims that muscle injuries such as this can take four to eight weeks to recover from.

Chelsea doctors are expected to assess Morata to determine how long he will be finally out but a quick look at the medical history of the former Real Madrid star gives them reason to be optimistic – and believe that he could be back ahead of schedule.

Last season, Morata picked up a similar injury to his right leg during a friendly between Spain and England held at Wembley on 15 November.

A day later Los Blancos provided a very similar statement to the current one offered by the Spanish national team after Morata also underwent a test in the Sanitas University Hospital of La Moraleja.

"After tests carried out on our player Álvaro Morata at the Sanitas La Moraleja University Hospital prior to the training session held today, Wednesday, he has been diagnosed with a grade 2 muscle injury in his right hamstring. His recovery will continue to be assessed," Real Madrid confirmed on 16 November.

The news was at the time a big blow for Real with initial reports ruling him out for a crucial month which included fixtures with Atletico Madrid and Barcelona.

Morata did missed the clashes with Los Colchoneros and the Catalans but was eventually able to return to action for a Champions League encounter against Borussia Dortmund on 7 December – only 21 days after Real had confirmed the two grade hamstring injury.

He only played five minutes in the game against the Bundesliga side but three days later was able to complete the full 90 minutes and scored in a La Liga clash against Deportivo La Coruna.

Every injury is different but if Morata can repeat that rate of recovery his absence will only see him miss three game; Crystal Palace, AS Roma and Watford.

Should he takes only 21 days to recover, the Real star would return in time to face Everton in the Carabao Cup on 25 October. He would then be fully fit for the crucial Champions League trip to Roma on 31 October and the Premier League clash with Manchester United on 5 November.

The news would be a major boost for Conte with Morata having enjoyed an impressive start to the life at Stamford Bridge, scoring seven goals in his first 10 appearances for the Blues.

Chelsea 10 coming fixtures

Crystal Palace vs Chelsea (Premier League) 14 October

Chelsea vs Roma (Champions League) – 18 October

Chelsea v Watford (Premier League) – 21 October

Chelsea vs Everton (Carabao Cup) – 25 October

Bournemouth vs Chelsea (Premier League) – 28 October

Roma v Chelsea (Champions League) – 31 October

Chelsea vs Manchester United (Premier League) – 5 November

West Brom vs Chelsea (Premier League) – 18 November

Qarabag vs Chelsea (Champions League) – 22 November

Liverpool vs Chelsea (Premier League) – 25 November