Blues Are Hundred Per Cent Heroes
Chelsea proudly carried the EPL’s only remaining 100% record into the international break after completing their third straight win, at home to Stoke City at the weekend.
Although failing to match the six-goal sprees of their first two matches, Carlo Ancelotti’s men rarely looked like dropping their first EPL points in defence of their title.
There were, however, worrying injuries to England internationals Frank Lampard – who had a rare failure from the penalty spot against the Potters – and club captain John Terry.
Both players were omitted from England’s squad for their current Euro 2012 qualifiers as a result.
There were no late transfer deals at the Bridge on summer window deadline day this week. A reported £4.5m to Stoke City for their unsettled 23-year-old Bosnian goalkeeper Asmir Begovic was turned down by the midlands outfit.
And the Blues were also due to name their 25-man EPL squad this week, in accordance with the league’s new regulations governing the selection of “home-grown” players.
However, they have so far only named 19 players in the squad for the season up to the January transfer window, including four deemed to be “home-grown” – half what is required under the regulations.
They will be able to supplement their squad with any number of under-21 players. These are likely to include striker Dean Sturridge, who was on the fringe of the first-team throughout last season.
Also available will be the controversially-acquired French youngster Gael Kakuta and teenage Dutch defender Jeffrey Bruma, who this week signed a new contract which will keep him at the Bridge until 2014.
Chelsea met and overcame their first organised opposition of the season in a plucky, well-organised Stoke outfit.
It looked like another convincing victory might be on the cards when Florent Malouda was felled for an early penalty. But Lampard’s kick was saved by Potters’ keeper Thomas Sorensen.
Malouda did give Chelsea the lead later in the half, but only Didier Drogba’s late penalty added to the score.
Lampard was expected to be out for a fortnight, having limped out of the Stoke game before Chelsea’s second penalty award. And he is due to have a hernia operation shortly.
Blues boss Ancelotti said: “It is a very easy surgery but he has started to feel pain and he needs to have the operation.”
Terry aggravated a hamstring injury which he first claimed to have picked up during pre-season, but now admits he has been carrying since the World Cup.
He said: “I was hoping after the World Cup that I would have two weeks off and it would completely go away. But that wasn’t the case and, coming back working hard, it came back on.”
Although rest didn’t work in the close season, Terry thinks it might do now. He added: “Maybe I just need 10 days’ rest to fully get over it because it could impact on my season.”
Chelsea restart their EPL campaign with a visit to bitter East London rivals, struggling West Ham, on Saturday September 11th.
Tags: Chelsea, EPL, Carlo Ancelotti, John Terry, Dean Sturridge, Gael Kakuta