Chelsea hit by Didier Drogba injury concern

 

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The Independent Online

Chelsea were today hoping Didier Drogba would be fit for Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash at West Brom after the striker was forced to pull out of the Ivory Coast squad.

Drogba limped out of the Blues' 3-0 victory over Bolton on Saturday with an injury to his right knee and will be monitored in the build-up to this weekend's trip to the Hawthorns after withdrawing from his country's friendly against Guinea on Wednesday.

The Wanderers win was only the striker's third game since he returned from African Nations Cup duty, with Chelsea struggling for goals in his absence.

He was replaced by Fernando Torres for the final 14 minutes on Saturday, during which the £50million man extended his scoreless run to 21 club matches.

Torres joins Drogba as one of few Chelsea stars not on international duty this week after being axed by Spain.

Should Drogba fail to make it for the weekend, Torres will almost certainly be handed yet another chance to end his long drought and convince national team boss Vicente Del Bosque to recall him before this summer's European Championships.

Del Bosque has admitted he had no choice but to drop the 27-year-old, who was his country's hero at Euro 2008.

The Spain manager insisted there was still time for Torres to force his way back into the reckoning but he can only do so by playing matches.

With Drogba having scored on Saturday, Torres looks like needing injury or loss of form to strike his team-mate before he can earn a Chelsea recall.

Saturday saw Blues boss Andre Villas-Boas rule out sending Torres out on loan, even if it gave him a better chance of playing at Euro 2012.

Another player who has admitted finding it difficult to settle after moving to Stamford Bridge is January signing Gary Cahill.

The England defender has found himself thrown in at the deep end following an injury to captain John Terry and finally enjoyed his first Chelsea victory and clean sheet against his former club on Saturday.

He told Chelsea TV: "I'm not going to lie and say it's been fantastically easy.

"We have had some sticky results of late and I have been plonked straight in the middle of it all. It has been difficult.

"Moving mid-season to a new club would be hard anyway, what with having to move house and everything that comes with it, but you just have to get on with it and put in some consistent performances.

"There is an expectation level from the fans and rightly so. They expect us to win games and come and watch good football.

"There is nothing wrong with that and as players we have to try and produce that. They will be a lot happier with that performance against Bolton.

"My partnership with (David) Luiz and the whole back four is new. A change has been made and it's not something that is going to click into place straight away. It is different.

"But the more we work together on the training ground, the better the relationships will be."

He added: "We're obviously working together in training, getting to know each other, especially with different languages and things like that, it takes a bit of time to come together."

Cahill acknowledged one win was not enough, with Chelsea facing crucial league games as well as the Champions League return against Napoli and FA Cup replay at Birmingham in the coming days.

He said: "We need to turn the Champions League tie around, the FA Cup is still there for us to strive towards, and obviously we need to get into a league position where we can secure Champions League football.

"With the quality of players we've got here, hopefully we can go on to fulfil the goals we have for this season."

PA

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