Lampard Out For Two More Weeks
Carlo Ancelotti may be cooking Chelsea’s central midfielders an extra plate of his beloved tortellini today in the hope that it toughens them up and prevents any further injury to a position in which Chelsea are startlingly lacking in depth. The news that Frank Lampard is out until after the international break means he joins Yossi Benayoun on the list of unavailable central midfielders for the games against Marseilles and Arsenal. Typically, having just two players from this position injured would not cause too much duress for a top side, yet Chelsea are down to their bare bones.
John Obi Mikel, Michael Essien and Ramires, who are all likely to start tonight against Marseilles, are Chelsea’s only remaining senior central midfielders. Injury to one of the three tonight would require playing either Yuri Zhirkov or Florent Malouda out of position or, perhaps, calling on the talented but inexperienced Josh McEachran to start against Arsenal. The thought of the latter receiving increased playing time is the silver lining to this predicament but it would probably be more beneficial for the youngster if he were introduced slowly into matches rather than thrust into the starting line up for such an important game.
Either way, the precarious nature of Chelsea’s squad after just two injuries casts doubt over the logic of letting Deco, Michael Ballack and Juliano Belletti go in the same summer. Of the three, the German was the most reluctant to leave Chelsea and has expressed that it was his first wish to sign a new contract with the Premier League club. Perhaps one more experienced central midfield player would not have done Chelsea any harm this term and Ballack may have been a better choice against Man City than the youthful and energetic Ramires, who is still coming to terms with English football.
On Lampard himself, Chelsea will sorely hope that he is fit and ready to play after the international break. The club icon has been an instrumental figure in all of Chelsea’s successes over the years and had he played against Man City last Saturday, he may have made all the difference. It is for the twenty goals a season midfielder that Ancelotti will be reserving his biggest plate of tortellini.
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