Paul Merson states his prediction for Stoke v Chelsea

Annette Crawford
September 26, 2017

For his second, Morata exploited an error by Glen Johnson near the halfway line to outpace his pursuers and dink the ball clinically over Butland from a tight angle on 77 minutes before completing his hat-trick five minutes later on the stretch after good work from Cesar Azpilicueta.

'Alvaro performed very well, ' praised Conte. The hat trick goal was a typical centre-forward's effort, with a predatory tap-in from 6 yards.

Xherdan Shaqiri and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting have combined to create nine goalscoring chances for one another this season.

"I am pleased for his performance and pleased for the performance of the team".

Stoke, which was fielding a makeshift defense with Kurt Zouma ineligible and Ryan Shawcross and Kevin Wimmer out injured, is 15th in the table having recorded just win in its opening six games.

"We've been good at home".

Having scored six goals in as many games, Morata has hit the ground running and days after the departure of Diego Costa, fans won't be missing the wantaway striker anytime soon.

It promises to be a hard game for the champions, and Conte may hope they gain an extra edge by getting ready at Stamford Bridge, rather than their regular Cobham base.

Conte made a crucial intervention early in the second half to save Marcos Alonso from what appeared to be an inevitable sending off at the bet365 Stadium.

'I spoke with our doctor about Thibaut, above all about whether I could make a different substitution and he said Thibaut was okay and you can make another substitution.

Costa has stayed away from the club, spending much of his time in Brazil, while securing a return to his former club Atletico Madrid. Mark Hughes, meanwhile, added Peter Crouch to the mix and the veteran striker made an instant impression, setting up a stretching Diouf to fire over.

The France global will not be available to play against his parent club this Saturday as Mark Hughes faces a defensive crisis ahead of the Premier League champions' visit to the Britannia Stadium.

But the Paris Saint-Germain old boy was frequently caught out of position, and was sent off with 20 minutes remaining after being shown a second yellow card for needlessly scything down Andy Carroll.

On Saturday Conte's words were more prosaic but equally heartfelt.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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