Rory Smith

Rory Smith is a football writer for The Independent.

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Didier Drogba scores one of his two goals against Valencia on Tuesday

Drogba to leave unless Chelsea improve offer

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.

'Pivotal' King is doubt for Stoke

Tottenham captain Ledley King is a major doubt for Sunday's visit to Stoke as he continues to recover from the knee injury which ruled him out of last week's win against Bolton. Harry Redknapp, the club's manager, had described the defender's return as pivotal in Spurs' impressive start to the campaign and his potential absence for the second successive week would be a big blow. Redknapp does have three fully fit central defenders – Younes Kaboul, Sébastien Bassong and William Gallas – to choose from.

Luis Suarez has quickly adopted the role of pantomime villain during his time in England

FA decision on Suarez due today

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.

Andre Villas-Boas directs his players at the Bridge last night

Villas-Boas uses Mourinho template to ensure progress

At last, Andre Villas-Boas's tomorrow has come. The Chelsea manager did not wish to discuss what comes next before the visit of Valencia, the first truly pivotal moment in his nascent British career at the elite level. "We cannot speak about that," the 34-year-old said, when asked what might happen in the event of failure in Europe. The future was another country, alien, stark. Comfort lay in the past.

Luis Suarez has quickly adopted the role of pantomime villain during his time in England

FA decision on Luis Suarez's latest spat due today

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.

Didier Drogba celebrates giving Chelsea the lead on a night when he was back to his best

Villas-Boas uses victory to attack Chelsea 'critics'

Andre Villas-Boas last night offered a Sir Alex Ferguson-style rant against the "continuous persecution" of Chelsea by the media, seemingly singling out Gary Neville's criticism of his side as "over the top" and suggesting his team's progression to the last 16 of the Champions League provided their detractors with a "slap in the face".

Villas-Boas faces a night to determine his destiny

By Rory Smith

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas watches a training session at Cobham yesterday

Why isn't Villas-Boas's philosophy working yet?

Rory Smith assesses how the Portuguese's style has got lost in translation at Chelsea

Andre Villa-Boas: The Chelsea manager is unwilling to contemplate defeat tonight

Villas-Boas faces night to determine his destiny

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.

The Chelsea goalkeeper is not suited to be the 'sweeper-keeper' preferred by Villas-Boas

Cech on hit-list for Chelsea's summer exodus

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.

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