Morata comeback crucial to Chelsea Premier League title tilt, says former Blues ace Nevin

Chelsea boos Antonio Conte must pray that Alvaro Morata can shake off his injury to help catapult the Blues back into the Premier League title race, says former Stamford Bridge favourite Pat Nevin.

Morata limped out of the 1-0 defeat to Manchester City and looked to have pulled, though possibly tweaked, his hamstring. And Nevin believes the loss against Pep Guardiola’s side could already have put paid to the current champions’ ambition of retaining the top flight title.

Ex-Scotland ace Nevin, who made 237 appearances for Chelsea scoring 45 goals, believes both City and United are strong candidates to lift the top flight silverware come the end of the campaign.

Speaking in his column on the club’s website, he said: “The two Manchester clubs have a bit of a gap in the league but it is very early days still and any expectation of the league being a cake walk was never seriously considered by anyone anyway.

“City in particular are the benchmark for quality right now and if they keep up their skill levels, speed and style from the start of this season then they will be very hard to catch but that does not mean to say it will be impossible.”

Nevin says that Chelsea can take heart from the teams they face in the next batch of fixtures, starting with a trip to Crystal Palace a week Saturday, but that having Morata leading the line would be crucial for the cause.

He added: “We have a very good-looking league run between now and the end of the calendar year, one in which we could really put some pressure on the current leaders.

“I reckon Chelsea are outright favourites to win every one of those games with the only arguments being Manchester United at home and Liverpool away, and even those are probably evens at the bookies. I am not saying we will win every one of those games but there is a great opportunity for a great run and I think the players know this.

“To do something special in that period we are going to need Morata back and hopefully that hamstring problem is only a tweak. He certainly seemed to stop immediately after he felt it; it didn’t look like a ‘ping!’ moment as we say in the game.

“The tell-tale signs are familiar to all players and most fans when a hamstring strain is a bad one, so I would be mildly concerned as opposed to genuinely worried, but we will see.”