Fever rules Drogba out of Villa trip

There is also a mystery surrounding Yossi Benayoun’s Achilles

rupture. England midfielder Frank Lampard has failed to recover

from his groin problem and although captain John Terry is fit

again, the Blues are without Alex, Benayoun, Daniel Sturridge and

Salomon Kalou. Terry has recovered from the back injury that forced

his withdrawal from the England squad for their 2012 Euro

Championships qualifier against Montenegro and will play. But

Chelsea insist that MRI scans showed midfielder Benayoun had no

tear in his Achilles when he left the club for an international

call-up with Israel. Benayoun will travel to Finland this weekend

for an operation on Monday that will rule him out for up to six

months after the full extent of his injury was diagnosed by

Israel’s team doctor in Tel Aviv last week. Benayoun sustained the

injury in the Carling Cup defeat by Newcastle earlier this month

but Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti insisted scans showed no damage

to the player’s Achilles when he left England. “We are sure that,

when he left England, he did not have a tear in his tendon,” said

Ancelotti. “We are sure of this. He had a calf problem. “The MRI

showed this problem, but the tendon was clear. He had a problem at

the start of the season with inflammation on his tendon, had

treatment and came back to play for us and the national team. “I

don’t know what happened afterwards. Now he has to have surgery and

we’re disappointed because we’ve lost a very good player. He was

improving in the last game, but now this is the situation. “I don’t

know what happened after he left England. I haven’t asked him

because I haven’t seen him. I trust my doctor at this club, and we

are sure he didn’t have a tear on his tendon when he left England.

“When he left this club to go and play for Israel, his Achilles

tendon did not have a problem.” A spokesman for Chelsea added:

“When we released him for the national team, he wasn’t clear to

play. Our scans still showed that he had some healing to go,

still.” But Ancelotti laughed off suggestions he was facing a

crisis in the treatment room while confirming that Lampard and

Drogba would miss the trip to Villa Park. “Frank is not available,

Drogba is not available, Sturridge, Kalou, Alex, Benayoun are not

available. “Frank is getting better, but he needs maybe two weeks

to be 100% fit. He had a problem on his adductor and we have to pay

attention to that. “He is working individually but he needs to have

another two weeks. It’s getting better. It wasn’t an easy injury

but I’m not a doctor. We have to speak with the doctor, who can be

more precise. “Drogba had a fever this week, all week, and wasn’t

able to train. He started training on Friday, but he’s not fit. He

took antibiotics in the last few days, and will need to train next

week.” Ancelotti knows his weakened side face a difficult test as

they lost 2-1 at Villa Park last season through set-piece mistakes.

The Blues are four points clear at the top of the Premier League

and Ancelotti wants his side to maintain it. “The Villa match will

be a difficult game,” said Ancelotti. “We had a problem last year

when we played them. They were physical and we have to be ready.

“It’s an important moment. We want to maintain this gap at the top

and this will be a good step. It would be fantastic to win. “It’s a

good test because, without important players, we have to show our

qualities. I’m happy to have this squad but this will be a good

test to show our quality without these players. I’m not concerned

about this, our line-up will be good. “Every team has some

problems. We have injuries, but we have to move on.”