Blues are no longer hundred per cent heroes
Chelsea underwent what was for them something of an on-field crisis with two defeats in the space of three days last week, losing their 100% EPL record in the process.
They restored confidence with a 2-0 win over French side Olympique Marseille this week, thanks to an early John Terry goal and Nicolas Anelka’s nonchalantly-taken penalty on 27 minutes.
But injury doubts remain over talismanic midfielder Frank Lampard, who is taking longer than expected to recover from a recent hernia operation.
And Chelsea also suffered a double injury blow in a matter of minutes during the second half of their surprise 4-3 loss to Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge in the Carling Cup.
Chelsea were beaten 1-0 last weekend at EPL title rivals, big-spending Manchester City, with Carlos Tevez’s goal enough to overcome a misfiring Chelsea side in a game which saw the rare side of star striker Didier Drogba being substituted even though Chelsea were chasing an equaliser.
Meanwhile manager Carlo Ancelotti took the opportunity to field fringe squad players and youngsters in the Carling Cup tie.
And although the experiment had an early success with Dutch defender Patrick Van Aanholt’s sixth-minute strike, the evening turned sour with both Salomon Kalou and Yossi Benayoun pulling up with injuries in the third quarter of the match.
Kalou’s thigh injury and Benayoun’s calf strain will leave both players out of action for up to three weeks.
Despite going down to ten men, having made all three substitutions when Benayoun went off, Chelsea came back from 3-1 down to equalise with two Nicolas Anelka goals before conceding a full-time winner.
England star Lampard is expected to miss Chelsea’s vital EPL fixture with title rivals Arsenal at the Bridge this Sunday at 4pm, as well as England’s fixture against Montenegro.
Lampard underwent hernia surgery last month and was expected to be in contention for the Marseille match. But he is not now expected back for another two weeks after suffering a setback in training.
Ancelotti said: “We need to have more time than we expected for his rest. He will be ready for the next game after the international break.” Chelsea visit fifth-placed Aston Villa on 16th October.
Midfield colleague Jon Obi-Mikel said: “There are other players who can do a similar job to Frank but it is a massive loss to the team and we can’t wait to have him back.”
Chelsea were involved in Champions League controversy when Marseille’s security chief Guy Cazadamont claimed he had been thrown out of Stamford Bridge, as stewards and fans of the French club suffered a series of problems.
Chelsea said there are investigating “a number of incidents involving the away support” after Cazadamont said he was “grabbed around the waist and eventually thrown out of the stadium.”
He added that numerous Marseille fans with match tickets were refused admission, while French stewards were prevented from stewarding those fans that did get in.
Chelsea said they will inform UEFA of the outcome of their investigation.
Tags: Chelsea, EPL, John Terry, Nicolas Anelka, Frank Lampard, Carlos Tevez, Didier Drogba, Carlo Ancelotti, Champions League