Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata targeting Crystal Palace return despite hamstring injury diagnosis

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Striker Alvaro Morata appears to be hopeful of being fit and available for Chelsea's next Premier League meeting with London rivals Crystal Palace despite fears that he could be sidelined for up to two months with a hamstring injury.

Left thigh pain forced Morata to request a substitution just 35 minutes into a 1-0 defeat to title rivals Manchester City on Saturday (30 September) and he subsequently travelled to Spain, where an MRI scan undertaken at the Sanitas University Hospital of La Moraleja revealed a grade two myofascial injury in the hamstring muscles.

The 24-year-old was ruled out of La Roja's final two 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Albania and Israel and it was generally thought that he could miss between four to eight weeks, with many estimating a layoff of approximately six weeks.

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But Morata is said to have told friends before the scan that he expected to be back in training within a matter of days and Chelsea are set to conduct their own assessment of his injury at Cobham this week.

A social media update posted by the player on Tuesday afternoon has boosted the seemingly far-fetched hopes that he will not miss any club matches whatsoever.

Writing on Twitter in a message that has since been deleted, Morata made it clear that he was still targeting being involved in that clash with rock-bottom Palace at Selhurst Park on 14 October. The post is still up on his official Facebook page, while a slightly different version appears on his Instagram feed.

"‪I have no time to lose. Working hard towards recovery," he said.

Morata, who recovered quickly from a similar injury during his second spell at Real Madrid last term, has made a fantastic start to life in west London, scoring eight goals in his first nine appearances across all competitions for the defending English champions.

Antonio Conte will be desperate to have the former Juventus forward available for a particularly busy slate of matches that will see Chelsea play seven times in three weeks before the next international break comes around in early November.

Facebook/@AlvaroMorata

Such a hectic stretch includes Premier League clashes with Palace, Watford, Bournemouth and Manchester United in addition to a Champions League double-header against AS Roma. The Blues are also scheduled to meet struggling Everton next month for a place in the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup.

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Asked if he felt Morata's injury could be linked to Chelsea's busy schedule, Conte said: "On this issue I have already spoken and to repeat the same opinion is not good. We don't want to use it as an excuse. To play another massive game two days later you must consider the fatigue in the legs of your players, and it's impossible to press box to box because after 30 minutes you have no energy.

"It's normal when you play three massive games in seven days you must consider this aspect but we needed to take the risk because Morata, for us, is a very important player."

With Diego Costa now gone and Chelsea failing to secure the services of priority summer target Fernando Llorente, Michy Batshuayi would become first-choice striker in the likely event that Morata is forced to spend time in the treatment room.

However, it is worth noting that Conte, who described the decision as being purely tactical, initially opted to send on Willian against City despite the Belgian sandwiching an impressive hat-trick against Nottingham Forest with goals against FK Qarabag and Atletico Madrid.

Alvaro Morata was forced off in the first half of Chelsea's disappointing defeat to Manchester CityClive Rose/Getty Images

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