Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata was forced off early on in the 1-0 defeat to Manchester City before the international break. The Spaniard suffered a hamstring injury just 34 minutes into the game and Conte decided to replace the striker with winger Willian, despite having another striker in Michy Batshuayi waiting on the bench.
Conte has been criticised for not utilising Batshuayi in that game as the Blues attack lost its focal point after Morata’s exit.
Doctors diagnosed Morata has a grade two hamstring tear, which looks set to keep him out of action for a month to six weeks. Conte will be left with no choice but to use Batshuayi from the game against Crystal Palace on the 14th of September and subsequent games.
Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson thinks Batshuayi can do the job for Chelsea within that period but doesn’t think he can give Chelsea the Premier League title.
“Chelsea will be hoping Alvaro Morata’s injury is not serious because losing him is a big blow,” Merson wrote in his column for the Daily Star.
“I’ve always said Michy Batshuayi will do a job for four or five games but any longer than that and they’re in trouble.
“He won’t win you the league but he’ll do a job, so hopefully they will get through however long Morata is out for. It doesn’t sound like a long-term one.”
Merson also hailed Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Atletico Madrid in the Champions League and thinks Chelsea will also be targeting the Champions League and not put all eggs in the Premier League.
He added: “When you look at what Manchester City did to them, and the fact they’re already six points behind now, you wonder about Chelsea.
“I don’t think they will put all their eggs in one basket this season and try to win the league. I think they will focus on the Champions League.
“Look what they did to Atletico Madrid. That was the best away performance in Europe by and English team in the Premier League era for me.
“They could not have taken it more seriously. But might it show in the league this season. I don’t think they will take too many risks before a big European game.
“That could affect them – and I wouldn’t be surprised if they just come up short because they want to win the Champions League.”