New manager Avram Grant insists Chelsea will have to now draw on their reserves in what has been a troubled season so far, at Stamford Bridge.
Avram Grant – still confident despite injuries to several star players
Striker Didier Drogba and England captain John Terry are already injured and the Blues have now lost suspended duo Ashley Cole and Ricardo Carvalho, for the game with Newcastle United tomorrow. The two defenders were sent off in Boxing Day’s tremendously exciting 4-4 draw with Aston Villa. Ricardo Carvalho was dismissed for a vicious two-footed lunge on Gabriel Agbonlahor and Ashley Cole was sent off for deliberately handling the ball on the line, although it looked like it may have been his chest.
Cole has made a claim for wrongful dismissal to the Football Association which will be heard today. Of course, Frank Lampard is also out with a thigh injury picked up in the Aston Villa battle.
Avram Grant had this to say today about the hardships confronting the London club:
“As long as we have a chance we will do everything we can to catch Manchester United and Arsenal,”
“We have character and will not give up. We will do anything to challenge them.â€ “This job has been a big challenge from the day I started it and I will accept this latest challenge.”
The prospect of having second-choice center-backs Tal Ben-Haim and Alex for the next three games may be worrying Grant, as he continued.
“To have these players unavailable is a test for us, but we have been here already this season by playing without big names,” “Football is always a big test when you have a bad time. It’s not easy but this is the situation and we’ll make the best of it.â€
“I’m waiting for the day when I can be like other managers and have all my players available. I think that time will come one day.”
Newcastle don’t have many injuries but still some disturbing absences from the squad. Not least of which is Joey Barton, who is in a Liverpool jail after being arrested for assault yesterday morning at 5:00 am. The arrest happened outside a McDonald’s restaurant in Liverpool. That arrest could have a negative effect on the squad. It mustn’t make manager Sam Allardyce feel too good either as Joey has let himself, Sam, the club and our fans down badly. We don’t think Joey should stay at the club since he was on a zero policy agreement for this kind of behavior, as we reported earlier today.
Couple that with our last two games, which were disgraceful performances, and things don’t look too good right now at our club. If we play like we have in the last two games, we’ll be taken apart at Stamford Bridge tomorrow.
But we expect a much improved performance from the players, and with things as they are right now, there’s only one way to go – and that has to be up. We hope the lads can play well tomorrow and get some kind of result in London.