Drogba and Lampard ruled out of Villa clash

London: Chelsea will be without star striker Didier Drogba and key midfielder Frank Lampard when the Premier League champions face Aston Villa on Saturday.

Ivory Coast international Drogba is out with a fever, while England star Lampard has not recovered from a groin strain in time for the clash at Villa Park.

Drogba has been taking antibiotics to cure his illness but is not certain to recover in time for Tuesday`s Champions League fixture against Spartak Moscow, which Lampard is certain to miss.

"Lampard is getting better but he needs to have maybe two weeks to be fit 100 percent, he had a problem on his adductor and we have to pay attention. He is working individually and needs two weeks," Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti said on Friday.

"Drogba had a fever this week and was not able to train, he started today (Friday) but is not fit.”

"He took antibiotics in the last days and needs to train next week and I`ll know if he is available for the game in the Champions League."

Ancelotti, whose team are four points clear at the top of the table, are also without Brazilian defender Alex with a thigh injury, while Israel midfielder Yossi Benayoun is a long-term absentee with a ruptured Achilles.

Chelsea are baffled by Benayoun`s injury as they insist scans showed he had no tear in his Achilles when he left the club for an international call-up two weeks ago.

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 League Cup defeat by Newcastle earlier this month but Ancelotti insisted scans showed no damage to the player`s Achilles.

"We are sure that, when he left England, he did not have a tear in his tendon," Ancelotti said. "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."

There was some good news on the fitness front for Ancelotti as captain John Terry is fit after recovering from the back injury that forced him to withdraw from the England duty this week.

There will also be a place on the bench for Portugal right-back Jose Bosingwa, who has been sidelined for a year with a knee injury.

Bureau Report

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