Andre Villas-Boas' resources remain stretched for the weekend match against West Bromwich Albion, but he does have reinforcements coming in the figure of Romelu Lukaku. The big news is that goalkeeper Petr Cech has been ruled out 3-4 weeks with a knee injury, meaning that we'll see one of Hilario and Ross Turnbull (probably the former) take a turn in net for the next few games. Obviously, losing Cech is a blow, but this comes at a relatively good time of the season for Chelsea and from the sound of things there shouldn't be too many complications with his return.
There are other players missing too. Michael Essien's gone with a long-term knee injury, just in case this is the first Chelsea post you've read since June, but there are a pair of shorter-term absences as well. Daniel Sturridge's is less onerous - he'll be serving the second game of a three-match ban incurred for a red card in his last game of the season, which means rather more Salomon Kalou than anyone is comfortable with over the next couple of weeks. Also, David Luiz is out with a mysterious knee problem. Villas-Boas is claiming he'll be fit for Norwich next weekend, but since he was supposed to be returning to training ages ago, I'd be a little skeptical of that one.
There is some good news, however. Lukaku's officially signed up now (as #18) and the manager is confident that his paperwork will be pushed through in time for him to make the matchday squad on Saturday - we may well see a Chelsea debut for the Belgian. John Obi Mikel will also feature, despite his father being kidnapped. The guy's been ludicrously stoic in the face of all of this nonsense. Hopefully football can be a welcome distraction from the crazy stuff that's going on in his life right now.
I'm curious as to whether Oriol Romeu will be around for this one. He probably won't be, on account of having just gotten back from the under-20 World Cup this week, but he's another youngster who should be making his first-term debut before too long. Anyway, it'd have been nice to have everyone fit and ready to go at the beginning of the season, but nothing's ever that easy, eh?