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Mounting injuries threaten to derail Blues' twin missions

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Mounting injuries threaten to derail Blues' twin missions

Postby Miss Dangerous » Sat Feb 10, 2007 1:18 am

Chelsea will be on a revenge mission as well as bidding to claw back Manchester United's six-point lead at the top of the Premiership when it faces Middlesbrough on Saturday.
Boro is one of three teams to have beaten Jose Mourinho's side this season and, with strikers Mark Viduka and Aiyegbeni Yakubu in a rich vein of form, manager Gareth Southgate will fancy his chances of doing further damage to the Blues' title defense at Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho has been hit by a spate of injuries to all areas of his squad, and his attempt to land a hat-trick of league titles was threatened further when German midfielder Michael Ballack was withdrawn with a thigh injury during his country's 3-1 win over Switzerland in midweek.

Mourinho had already lost Wayne Bridge to a similar injury earlier in the week and has Ashley Cole and Joe Cole out long-term. 8-[

But with John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho together again in central defense and Petr Cech back in goal, midfielder Claude Makelele believes that Chelsea has enough quality available to overturn United's lead.

"We all have our individual jobs - John Terry has his job, Frank Lampard has his job, everyone makes their contribution," said the former Real Madrid player.

"But it is all part of the overall team system. And when we play as part of the same system, it makes life much easier. And I think this is why Chelsea have won the Premiership for the last two seasons - because we have such good discipline to play as a team."

Boro inflicted a defeat on the Blues back in August, giving Southgate a memorable first victory as a manager.

The club was not overly active in the transfer window, though it tried in vain to lure Arsenal striker Jeremie Aliadiere to Teesside. :arrow:

Southgate did succeed in signing South Korean striker Lee Dong Gook, but believes it is too early to throw the player into competitive action.

"He needs a period of training to get up to full fitness. We will build him up slowly and see how he goes in training," Southgate said.

:idea: First-choice strikers Viduka and Yakubu have been in good form of late and, with Malcolm Christie also available, Southgate has no need to take any risks with Lee.

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Postby Miss Dangerous » Sat Feb 10, 2007 3:24 am

A week after spiking Arsenal's guns with a 1-1 draw at the Riverside, Boro could do Manchester United a bigger favour by holding a Chelsea side who could only manage a 1-0 win over relegation battlers Charlton Athletic last weekend.

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Middlesbrough's Yakubu Ayegbeni (left) scores against Arsenal.

Striker Wayne Rooney, ruled out of England's friendly against Spain by a back injury, should be fit, while winger Cristiano Ronaldo will have been lifted by Portugal's 2-0 friendly win over Brazil. :shock:

Playmaker Paul Scholes, long retired from international football, will have recharged his batteries.

Steven Gerrard, who led England out as captain in Terry's absence in Wednesday's 1-0 defeat by Spain, is bound to try and rouse the Reds for a winning start under the club's new owners. :mrgreen:
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