Football

Chelsea without injured stars

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Chelsea will be without Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Michael Ballack and Deco against Wolves.

Drogba is back in training after the rib injury he received against Manchester United but will be out for another week while Ballack (knee) should be back for the Champions League match against Porto on Wednesday.

Lampard (thigh) is expected to be out for three weeks. Youngsters Fabio Borini, Nemanja Matic and Gael Kakuta are all expected to feature from the bench against Wolves.

Carlo Ancelotti insists Chelsea possess the best defence in the world and that will be key to winning the Premier League title.

Ashley Cole is set to return from injury and John Terry will be back after missing England's friendly against Brazil.

Ancelotti also intends to pack his substitutes' bench with young players such as Fabio Borini, Nemanja Matic and Gael Kakuta.

The manager, however, believes Chelsea's back line is better than his celebrated defence at AC Milan which contained Paolo Maldini and Alessandro Nesta.

Ancelotti said: "If you want to win a cup or a championship it is important not to concede a goal. We have fantastic defenders in Terry, Carvalho and Alex. Chelsea have the best central defenders in the world at the moment.

"Defence is the key. If you don't concede a goal the worst it can be is 0-0. We have four central defenders and nobody has this quality."

Wolves are boosted by the return of right-back Kevin Foley.

Foley has only made three appearances this season after twice suffering knee ligament problems and his return could not be better timed as defender Ronald Zubar is a major doubt after picking up a thigh strain in training this week.

Wolves are definitely without on-loan Chelsea central defender Michael Mancienne who cannot face his parent club.

Manager Mick McCarthy could also opt to rest striker Kevin Doyle after his two games for the Republic of Ireland against France and start him on the bench.

McCarthy takes his side to Stamford Bridge bidding to halt Chelsea's title charge, in the short team at least.

But in the long run he has no doubts that Chelsea have got what it takes to win the title.

McCarthy, whose side have slipped into the relegation zone after collecting just three points from their last six games, said: "I think they are the strongest team.

"If they end up being the best team in the Premier League they will not be far away from being one of the winners in Europe."

McCarthy is full of praise for the impact made by Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti and added: "I have been impressed, but he wasn't a rookie manager was he?

"He has won the Champions League twice so I am not surprised with what he has done.

"He has got a good group of players and they look to me like they were under Jose Mourinho when he first arrived.

"They look a really happy bunch together and there is no tittle tattle coming out of there anymore."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Topics:
Deco
Kevin Foley
Didier Drogba
European News
Ashley Cole
Football
John Terry
Chelsea
Premier League
Kevin Doyle
Alex
Nemanja Matic
UEFA Champions League
Manchester United
Michael Mancienne
Michael Ballack
Wolverhampton Wanderers
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