Get up to date on Arsenal transfer news, injury updates, fixtures, not restricting reports on Arsenal Ladies and share your opinions on Goonerhead
Antonio Conte has hinted Chelsea’s injury-hit squad could force him to play Alvaro Morata in an unfamiliar position during Sunday’s Community Shield against Arsenal.
Eden Hazard is still recovering from an ankle injury he picked up on international duty at the end of last season, while Pedro, wearing a protective mask, returned to training this week after sustaining a facial injury against the Gunners in a pre-season friendly in Beijing last month.
Morata was signed as a direct replacement for the exiled Diego Costa but could be deployed in a more withdrawn role against the FA Cup holders given Conte’s current lack of options.
‘In this moment this could be an option,’ he said about the possibility of pairing the club’s record purchase with Michy Batshuayi in attack.
‘When you have Hazard injured and Pedro injured I don’t see other options.
‘You have only Willian. I try to find these combinations to play with these two players. This could be an option for me.
‘I want Alvaro to play like a no.9 but with his characteristics he can play no.10 as well.’
Conte admitted Morata was still adjusting to life as a Chelsea player following a subdued performance against Inter last week but claimed he has made progress during training this week.
Alvaro is working very well,’ Conte added. ‘He is trying to reach best physical condition working towards our idea of football and he needs a bit of time.
‘He is working very well. He is a really good player and a really good person.’