Football

Chelsea Vs West Ham United, Sat 13 Mar 2010

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Chelsea have been plunged into a goalkeeping crisis ahead of Tuesday night's Champions League return leg against Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan.

Chelsea lost first-choice goalkeeper Petr Cech with a calf strain in the 2-1 opening leg defeat at the San Siro and deputy Hilario collected an abductor injury during last Sunday's 2-0 FA Cup quarter-final victory over Stoke.

The injuries have left the Blues with just Ross Turnbull and Rhys Taylor available for the Barclays Premier League clash with West Ham.

The pair are likely to be on duty against Milan in their return last-16 tie as coach Carlo Ancelotti admits it is unlikely Hilario or Cech will have recovered in time to play.

The loss of Hilario is a real blow for Ancelotti as Turnbull has made just two appearances for the club this season.

Turnbull, who joined on a free transfer from Middlesbrough last summer, played in the 4-0 Carling Cup win over Bolton and Chelsea's 2-2 draw with APOEL in this season's Champions League group stage.

"We have a problem with the goalkeepers," admitted Ancelotti. "We don't know if Hilario or Petr are able to play on Tuesday.

"I want to put the best line-up out because it's an important game. We don't have to think about the Inter game.

"We need to win and go back to the top of the table, so I want to put the best players out. But we have problems. Michael Essien, Ashley Cole, and Jose Bosingwa are out. Also Ricardo Carvalho and Hilario is not able to play. So, in goal, Turnbull will play.

"Cech is doing physiotherapy. He did not train on the pitch, so it's very difficult for him to recover for Tuesday.

"Hilario had a problem against Stoke and has not been able to train this week. An Adductor muscle in his groin is the problem. On the bench will go Rhys Taylor, our young goalkeeper from the reserve team.

"I'm not worried. The performance of the team does not rely upon the goalkeeper. I don't want to say we can play without a goalkeeper, because that's an important player for the team, but I have confidence in Turnbull.

"He has not played a lot of games this season but, with the work with our goalkeeping coach, he has improved very well. I have no problem about playing Turnbull against Inter Milan."

Meanwhile, West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola believes his team need 10 more points to beat the drop - and is challenging his players to upset the form book and pick three of them up at his former club.

The Hammers' disappointing 2-1 home defeat to Bolton last weekend leaves them on 27 points, three above the Barclays Premier League relegation zone with 10 matches remaining.

With their next two games coming away at title challengers Chelsea and Arsenal, many believe it will be West Ham's final eight fixtures which will determine whether they reach the 37-point mark demanded by Zola.

But the Italian sees no reason why the recovery following the loss to Bolton cannot start at Stamford Bridge, a ground where he served Chelsea with distinction between 1996 and 2003.

"Personally, I think 37 should make it for us," Zola said, when asked how many points his team will need to secure their top-flight status.

"Some people are saying less, but I want to be sure that 37 will be a good target for us.

"It will be fantastic for me to win at Stamford Bridge. The situation is that we need those points. For me and my team, I think it will be a big boost forward.

"I think we have enough quality here to do it. But we have to improve our consistency."

Zola will make changes to his team, in terms of both preparation and personnel, for the Chelsea match.

Fit-again centre-back Danny Gabbidon is set to come into the line-up in place of James Tomkins, who was arguably at fault for both goals West Ham conceded against Bolton.

England striker Carlton Cole could start up front on his own, with Zola reverting to a 4-5-1 formation as he looks to improve his side's dreadful away record this season.

With Julien Faubert ruled out with a hamstring injury, Jonathan Spector could be switched from left-back to right-back, with Swiss youngster Fabio Daprela coming in as a replacement.

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

Topics:
Football
Chelsea
Premier League
West Ham United
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