Andre Santos, the Arsenal left-back, has been ruled out for up to three months after the club confirmed the Brazilian international requires surgery on ankle ligaments damaged in last week's 3-1 Champions League defeat to Olympiakos. His absence leaves Arsène Wenger facing five Premier League fixtures in the next three weeks without any fit senior full-backs.
Here, the crux of the issue facing Andre Villas-Boas, laid bare. As Chelsea drew deep into their well of resilience and determination and grit to staunch Manchester City's tide and then to turn it, ending a game with their title credentials enhanced, the futility of the Portuguese's position crystallised.
Nicolas Anelka will become the biggest signing in Chinese football history – and one of the highest-paid players in the world – when he completes his transfer to Shanghai Shenhua from Chelsea next month. The 32-year-old French international has agreed a two-year deal reportedly worth around £200,000-a-week after tax with the Super League club.
No sanction likely despite manager's claim that Foy was 'enjoying' giving decisions against Spurs
Chelsea manager goes on the attack again against 'ridiculous' pundit
Didier Drogba remains confident he can play at the highest level for at least two more years, though the reluctance of Chelsea's hierarchy to hand the Ivorian anything more than a 12-month extension to his contract is likely to mean the 33-year-old will be forced to leave the club this summer if he is to do so.
From Matchday One, the Champions League has given a glimpse of United's ugly underbelly
A few weeks after he arrived at Liverpool last January, Luis Suarez expressed his heartfelt wish that he would forge a reputation as something other than the cut-throat of Johannesburg and the cannibal of Ajax. He no longer wished to be the player remembered only for denying Ghana a place in the World Cup semi-finals or biting PSV Eindhoven's Otman Bakkal.
Rory Smith assesses how the Portuguese's style has got lost in translation at Chelsea
Andre Villas-Boas will not even contemplate the prospect of failure for Chelsea tonight. Failure to beat Valencia, failure to maintain his club's proud record of qualifying from the group stage of the Champions League each time they have entered the competition. The future, the Portuguese admits, extends no further than 9.35pm this evening.
Whether the defender's fragile knees hold up will determine the fate of Tottenham's challenge
Andre Villas-Boas has identified Chelsea's long-serving goalkeeper Petr Cech as one of a number of players who would be allowed to leave Stamford Bridge at the end of this season as part of the comprehensive overhaul of the club's ageing squad the Portuguese has planned should he remain in place as manager next summer.
Blues manager safe in job... at least until January
Portuguese's sudden decision to gamble on new formation and his perseverance with aging squad raises questions
Chelsea 0 Liverpool 2
Andre Villas-Boas believes that the mounting anxiety at Stamford Bridge is inhibiting his attempts to rectify his side's abject home form, with the Chelsea manager acutely aware of the need for his team's performances to improve sharply if their season is not to fall apart before Christmas.