Deco set to miss Everton clash: Match Preview

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Chelsea will be without midfielder Deco for the Barclays Premier League home clash with Everton at Stamford Bridge.

Deco misses out because his father is ill and defender Alex (thigh) and Salomon Kalou (thigh) are also sidelined.

However, both Alex and Kalou are expected to be fit for the home game with Portsmouth next week. Jose Bosingwa is out with a long-term knee injury.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti will recall Petr Cech, Branislav Ivanovic, Ashley Cole, Michael Ballack, Frank Lampard and Nicolas Anelka after resting them for the midweek Champions League game against APOEL.

Meanwhile, coach Carlo Ancelotti has given four key players permission to leave for the African Nations Cup at the end of the month.

It means Ivory Coast strikers Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou plus Nigerian midfielder John Mikel Obi and Ghana's Michael Essien will miss five club games in January, including their FA Cup third-round tie against Watford at Stamford Bridge.

The African Nations Cup runs from January 10-31 but Ancelotti is happy for the quartet to leave early and join their respective pre-tournament training camps.

Essien is facing a battle to be fit in time after collecting a hamstring injury against APOEL in their final Champions League game in midweek.

Ancelotti is happy for Ghana to send over their doctor to examine Essien and the Italian coach insists the player should be fit in time to leave on December 28.

But it is unlikely that Essien will play for Chelsea before joining up with his country.

"The African players can all go on December 28," confirmed Ancelotti. "Michael had a scan and I think he will be out for between three and four weeks.

"The aim is to work to improve his injury but I think he will be ready to go on December 28, if he stays well.

"I have no problem with the Ghana doctor coming here. If they want to come here to see Essien, there is no problem."


Everton midfielder Tim Cahill is suspended for the match.

The Australia international accumulated his fifth booking of the season in last weekend's 2-2 draw with Tottenham and so must serve a one-match ban.

Manager David Moyes still has defensive problems with centre-half Joseph Yobo ruled out for four weeks with a hamstring problem.

That means full-back Tony Hibbert is likely to continue to deputise alongside Johnny Heitinga, who returns after suspension.

Moyes believes his side's only hope of escaping their current slump is to regress.

The Toffees have won just once in nine Barclays Premier League matches as they struggle to cope with a crippling injury list.

Shorn of some of their most creative and senior players Everton have fallen some way short of Moyes' expectations.

However, since going in 3-0 down at half-time against Hull just over a fortnight ago there has been a noticeable change in attitude - although not enough for the manager's liking.

"If you are not playing well you have to go back to good, old grinding endeavour and at this moment in time we are going to have to do that," said Moyes.

"I would say our typical performances would usually be the ones from last year and the year before.

"But the performances we are having to show now are the performances we had maybe three or four years before that when we were on a climb and trying to improve all the climb.

"But that is why you have got that and you use it as your building blocks.

"Maybe something changed from the second half at Hull. I think the players realise the effort they put in has to be greater if we are going to win games.

"There is a slight improvement, not as much as I'd like, but certainly with what I have available to me we are getting something out of the players."

That was evident last Sunday when Everton came from 2-0 down with 12 minutes remaining to draw 2-2 with high-flying Tottenham.

Moyes hopes that will signal a turning point in their faltering campaign.

"Sometimes you need something which moves your season on," he added.

"Last season we lost to Aston Villa (in December) and it looked like a devastating blow for us but we went on a great run and that propelled us up the table.

"Undoubtedly it is a tough game tomorrow but we'll go there and try to win.

"Sometimes when we are up against it we can come through - and we are certainly up against it this time."

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

Joseph Yobo
Salomon Kalou
Premier League
Johnny Heitinga
Tim Cahill
Tony Hibbert
Jose Bosingwa

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