Álvaro Morata will not get a chance to redeem himself against Arsenal thanks to a back injury he picked up recently. Chelsea’s leading scorer has been ruled out of tonight’s League Cup semifinal second leg at the Emirates, site of his infamous missed hat-trick of one-on-ones earlier this month.
But as concerning as those recent missed have been from Chelsea’s record signing, the thing that actually concerns Antonio Conte is the back injury, which, as it turns out, was already there for the Brighton game but Morata was suspended so he wasn’t going to play anyway.
“If you remember, in the past, he stopped himself for a problem in his back. A pain in the back. Now this pain has come back. I hope it’s not serious. But this is the second game that he stopped. He wasn’t available against Brighton because this problem was there the day before as well [...] now he’s with the medical department to try and solve this problem and give him the opportunity to have a training session without pain.
”But this is the real problem now - not that he’s not scoring or that his confidence is down. For every striker, you can pass this type of moment. But the real problem now is he has to overcome this problem in his back.
“I hope to solve this problem very quickly because we need Alvaro. We need Alvaro’s commitment.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Evening Standard
The previous incidence of the back injury was a little over a month ago, when Morata was ruled out of Chelsea’s 3-1 win over Huddersfield. While Conte played down the significance of the injury as far as Morata’s form is concerned, it’s perhaps not coincidence that he’s scored just twice in his nine appearances since and has missed a litany of great chances, mostly with his feet.
But Conte does sound genuinely concerned over the long-term impact of this injury (including how it’s affecting the player’s training), which could actually go some ways towards explaining why Chelsea are so insistent on overspending on Edin Dzeko.