The Runner Sports

A Flux Of Fixtures After International Break For Chelsea

The second international break of this young Premier League season comes at an opportune time for Chelsea. Alvaro Morata, who has been in blazing form to start his stint at Chelsea, left the Manchester City match early with an injury. His timetable to return has been all over the place. Two weeks. Four weeks. Eight weeks. We will just have to see when he actually returns.

For Chelsea’s sake, though, let’s hope it is sooner rather than later. Chelsea picks up play after the international break on October 14 at Selhurst Park when they take on Crystal Palace. That match begins a stretch of seven matches in 23 days and Morata’s presence up front would be sorely missed. Maybe not against Palace, who have remarkably not yet scored a goal this season, but against other foes like Roma, Everton, and Manchester United.

Of these seven matches, Chelsea sees fixtures in the Premier League (PL), the Champions League (CL), and the Carabao Cup (CC). Let’s take a quick glance at that list:

10/14: at Crystal Palace (PL)
10/18: vs Roma (CL)
10/21: vs Watford (PL)
10/25: vs Everton (CC)
10/28: at Bournemouth (PL)
10/31: at Roma (CL)
11/5: vs Manchester United (PL)

If the Morata injury is indeed more on the light side of the prognosis, then he may be fit enough to put in some minutes in that first fixture against Crystal Palace. If the more severe reports are true and he is out eight weeks, then that would mean he would miss every single one of these matches. That would be a huge blow.

Though if I were Chelsea and Conte, I would be extra cautious bringing Morata back into action. In all honesty, they should not need his services until that gigantic fixture against Manchester United. With that win against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League, Chelsea has put themselves in the driver’s seat to win their group. So their matches against Roma are not going to be must-win affairs. And for their three Premier League matches before the United tilt, well, they are not against top opponents and Chelsea has enough talent without Morata to get positive results. Michy Batshuayi has looked pretty competent thus far and deserves a chance to fill in for now. And Eden Hazard has shown the ability to play that false-nine position and spearhead the attack.

Which brings us back to that huge match against Manchester United. Chelsea has been lackluster at home all season, further demonstrated by their 1-0 loss to Manchester City last weekend. Another bad result to another club from Manchester would spell doom for Chelsea’s title hopes.

With or without Morata, Chelsea can’t afford to slip up during this bunched fixture list. Their title chances depend on it.

Matthew Golda

Dedicated New York sports fan. Chelsea FC writer at The Runner Sports.