Frank Lampard has been confirmed as injured for the visit of Manchester United on Sunday. Terry also misses out as he serving the second match of his ban. Interestingly both players also missed Manchester United’s last visit to Stamford Bridge, when the Blues squandered a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3. Lampard will likely be out for around two weeks with his injury.
From United, Shinji Kagawa has been ruled out of the match with an injury likely to see him on the sidelines for a few weeks. Chris Smalling has returned to training but is unlikely to feature this weekend. Anders Lindergaard is out with a thumb injury.
Roberto Di Matteo has said he expects there to be minimal hostility towards Rio Ferdinand on Sunday. The Chelsea boss also believes that he and John Terry will shake hands before the match despite Terry not playing a part.
The Chelsea manager also played down the importance of Alex Ferguson’s famous mind-games and said he will only engage in those kind of activities if absolutely required. The Italian manager believes that his side can exploit United’s current defensive weaknesses; Ferguson’s side have gone behind in eight of their twelve games this year, though they have recovered to win six of those.
Di Matteo has also said that his club will back any rules that the FA put in place with regards to racism. The PFA has drawn up a six point plan to combat racism in the game, and DI Matteo has said if a majority of clubs back a change to the rules, Chelsea will adhere to it:
"It's a difficult one. If the majority believe that we need a law like that then, as I said, we will obey it and support it. If it will become a rule, we will play by the rules, as we have always done. As a club, we are against any kind of discrimination and, if it does go through then, we will support it."
Chelsea have been criticised for allowing John Terry to continue as captain despite his FA charge for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.
In transfer news, Chelsea have been put on alert by reports saying AC Milan will let several more high profile stars leave in January. Pato in particular is said to interest the European Champions.
Finally, in the midst of further Falcao stories, Chelsea are reportedly ready to welcome the Colombian to Stamford Bridge in January with Abramovich ready to activate the £48 million release clause in his contract.
image: © Tom Cuppens