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Morata scores hat-trick as Chelsea thrash Stoke

Stoke boss Mark Hughes reveals defensive injury crisis ahead of Chelsea clash

FW Alvaro Morata, 10 - Full marks for Morata's first Chelsea hat trick.

There's been plenty of debate this week as to whether Morata can replace Diego Costa, and he's answered his doubters in some style.

"Pedro is fit for the game against Stoke on Saturday", said Conte.

Having been rested for the midweek Carabao Cup thrashing of Nottingham Forest, Morata is likely to be recalled to the XI for this afternoon's league clash away at Stoke City as the reigning champions look to extend their unbeaten run to six games.

The Blues continued their fine record against the Potters, and raced into an early lead as Alvaro Morata scored in the second minute of the game.

Romelu Lukaku scored his eighth goal in as many games for Manchester United to seal a 1-0 victory away to Southampton on Saturday.

Stoke soon exhausted their quota of escapes and ultimately fell victim to two pieces of Morata magic, the first of which came from fellow new arrival Tiemoue Bakayoko winning the ball in midfield. Costa is likely to be watching his replacement from the stands at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Stayed the course despite a heavy fall midway through the second half.

Chelsea sit now third in the table, just three points behind Manchester City and Manchester United.

Chelsea scored from their only two shots in the first half, Morata putting them in front after just 82 seconds before fellow Spain worldwide Pedro netted his second goal in his last three games.

He said: 'For sure it will be a really tough game. Against Stoke it was Marcos Alonso's turn to lose the plot previously lost this season by David Luiz and Gary Cahill.

The days of Stoke operating with Rory Delap's long throw-ins are gone, but there is still a time and a place for the kind of approach which unsettles even the best teams.

Crouch is ungainly, awkward and not very easy on the eye, but he is effective and Stoke probably need to use him more often.