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Frank Lampard is again absent for Chelsea in today’s match against Arsenal. According to Sportingpreview.com , the midfielder has recovered from his hernia operation but he has since suffered a slight groin problem. Didier Drogba is back from suspension for the game at Stamford Bridge and will replace Gael Kakuta in the first XI. Salomon Kalou, Jose Bosingwa and Yossi Benayoun miss out because of injury. The Gunners are without captain Cesc Fabregas who has a hamstring injury and Kieran Gibbs has a calf problem. The BBC reports that Thomas Vermaelen is set to miss the game with an Achilles problem, midfielder Abou Diaby is doubtful and Lukasz Fabianski will continue in goal in place of the injured Manuel Almunia.
Arsenal-mania.com reports that Arsene Wenger believes his side will need to stop Didier Drogba scoring if they are to stand a chance of winning against Chelsea. The Blues have won all four of the clubs’ last meetings and Wenger, who celebrated 14 years in charge of the Gunners last Friday, is desperate to stop Carlo Ancelotti’s side inflicting a fifth straight defeat: “He is a complete striker. We have to stop him, to be efficient against him and I am convinced we will do that on Sunday. He has talent. He is a guy who can turn up at individual actions, like free kicks or set pieces and also crosses for headers. This is why he has scored goals against many teams. We can [stop him]. Nothing is forever, so we can stop it,” before admitting: “I feel we should not make an obsession of one player of Chelsea because they have a few players who can score goals against us.”
“Family spirit at Blues”.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Florent Malouda has revealed the ‘happy family spirit’ at Chelsea. The French winger praised manager Carlo Ancelotti, describing how: When we lost against Man City and Inter Milan last season, he gave us confidence again. He keeps calm, in control and lets us know ‘everything will be OK’. He’s really close to the players. We can speak about anything with him.” Malouda also defended some of his more controversial team-mates, revealing how: “John Terry is part of the tradition of Chelsea. When it’s tough and we are shaking, John is the leader who keeps us on the right path. Didier is a leader, a big character. In the big games, I feel this is what he is waiting for. He can get too emotional but that’s the way Didier is. He loves to feel loved. He’s a showman. Nicolas keeps everything inside. People say he’s not showing any emotion but I see it. I see Nicolas smile. He’s really happy here. He doesn’t give his trust easily. He needs to know you, know he can trust you, before he opens up.”
Drogba on penalty duty.
Nicolas Anelka has revealed he is handing penalty taking duty back to Didier Drogba. The French striker scored from the spot against Marseille in the Champions League and also in the Carling Cup loss to Newcastle United. Both first choice taker Frank Lampard and Drogba were absent from these games but Anelka is happy to return the duty to his Ivorian teammate in today’s clash with Arsenal. He stated: “ When Didier is not there and Frank is not there then maybe it is going to be me again. But if Didier is there then he is going to take it – but I did my job when I took them.”
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