Crystal Palace fans have been pretty short of good news in recent weeks but yesterday, Alvaro Morata’s Instagram activity gave everyone of a red and blue persuasion a reason to be cheerful. (Yes, I know what you’re thinking, modern football, eh?)
Having played a starring role in the Blues’ dramatic last-gasp victory over Atletico Madrid last Wednesday, Morata started against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City on Saturday evening, only to be withdrawn from the game early with a hamstring injury.
Despite not falling to the ground and leaving the field under his own steam, the Spaniard knew something had gone wrong and made no attempt to continue playing. Initially, there had been plenty of hope over him making a swift recovery but the medical experts consulted have concluded that his particular tear is of the “Grade 2” variety, putting his participation against Crystal Palace into serious doubt.
Yesterday, Alvaro himself uploaded the above image from a sofa, suggesting that he remained in high spirits despite being sidelined, with the champions’ trip to SE25 being his target for a return. So far, so obvious for Palace fans who have come to expect the worse in recent weeks and months but shortly after it had been uploaded, Alvaro deleted the post, provoking images of a furious member of Antonio Conte’s medical staff lambasting the striker for giving thousands of excitable Chelsea supporters false hope via the screens of their smartphones.
The fact that we’re set to be without the services of Benteke, Loftus-Cheek and Zaha should allow the Premier League holders to saunter away from Selhurst Park carrying all three points neatly under their arm like a sixth-former who’s just stolen a defenceless child’s lunchbox for a laugh but we live in hope.
It’s been a painfully difficult start to the campaign for Palace but Morata’s apparent absence does at least offer a glint of light at the end of 38 mile long tunnel.
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