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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Portsmouth vs Chelsea Carling Cup 2009 Preview

Chelsea will travel to Fratton Park to take on home side Portsmouth in a tricky third draw of Carling Cup 2009 tomorrow (24 September 2008). Portsmouth is a very hard premier league opponent to break for any team. However, Chelsea can feel a bit of relief considering Portsmouth’s recent 6-0 humiliating defeat to Manchester City.

Ahead of the Carling Cup encounter, Chelsea is missing a number of players with injury. Reliable centre back Ricardo Carvalho has been out of action for a month after picking up a knee injury in Chelsea 1-1 draw against Manchester United. Ricardo Carvalho’s Portugal team mate, Deco, is also missing the Portsmouth match as he is yet to recover from thigh injury fully. Both the players are crucial for Chelsea in all competitions. However, Deco is expected to be back in action next week. Midfielder Michael Essien is injured out for a long time and is not likely to return before next January.

Midfielder Michael Ballack and striker Didier Drogba have returned from injury recently, but both of them lack match fitness. So, Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari will have to go though a tough time to contend with so many injury problems in the squad. Portsmouth, though, suffered a huge blow at Manchester City; the Pompeys are very strong and capable of taking any advantage given to them. So, Scolari might find it a bit hard to come out of Fratton Park with the fourth round berth of Carling Cup 2009.

Portsmouth is also missing a number of players with injury. Injury hit badly in Portsmouth midfield as three regular midfielders- Lassana Diarra, Sean Davis and Papa Bouba Diop- are ruled out of Chelsea match. However, Harry Redknapp, Portsmouth manager, would have rested some of his regular members for the Carling Cup match, but the injury of Lassana Diarra seems to be very dangerous. The ligament injury might keep the midfielder out of action for a long time. However, Davis is suffering from groin muscle and Diop is out with a hamstring injury, but neither of the injuries is as serious as it is for Diarra. John Utaka might come back in the starting line up after making a substitute appearance against Manchester City.

However, it is not yet sure if Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp will rest some of the key players like Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe and Sol Campbell against Chelsea to whom Portsmouth suffered a 4-0 defeat at premier league this season. So, Chelsea will look to continue their winning run over Portsmouth despite facing a number of injury woes. Portsmouth players, on the other hand, will try to inspire themselves to take revenge of the defeat, capitalizing on home advantage.

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