Chelsea lose Benayoun to Achilles injury

Premier League leaders Chelsea could be without Yossi Benayoun for several months after the Israeli Football Association revealed the midfielder has suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon.

The 30-year-old has not played since he tore a calf muscle in the Carling Cup defeat to Newcastle United on 22 September. He had joined up with the Israel squad for Euro 2012 qualifiers against Croatia and Greece, but underwent a scan on Tuesday which revealed the Achilles injury.

Chelsea were yesterday waiting for Benayoun, who joined in the summer for £5.5m from Liverpool, to return to London before announcing how long they expected him to be missing.

The Israel captain yesterday told his Football Association's website: "I arrived with hope of helping the national team but, unfortunately, this is not a simple injury. An additional test will reveal what needs to be done."

Benayoun made his Chelsea debut in the 3-1 Community Shield defeat to Manchester United, but has yet to start a Premier League game for the Double winners.

News of Benayoun's injury came a day after the defender Alex was ruled out for three weeks with a thigh injury

Lampard, however, is due back in action next week, when the champions travel to Aston Villa. The England midfielder has not played since he aggravated a hernia problem in Chelsea's 2-0 win over Stoke City in August. He underwent surgery last month and resumed training, only to suffer a groin strain. Lampard has missed Chelsea's last seven games.