Andre Villas-Boas Confirms Didier Drogba To Miss Manchester United Match

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 20: Didier Drogba of Chelsea reacts after a missed chance on goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge on August 20, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Don't get your hopes up that the Guardian were wrong about Didier Drogba missing Sunday's crunch match against Manchester United - Andre Villas-Boas has just confirmed that he'll be missing the services of the Ivorian ace at Old Trafford this weekend, leaving him with a selection dilemma between Nicolas Anelka and the scuffling Fernando Torres at centre forward. Probably. He might also do something strange, because he's like that.

Didier had some high intensity training today (Friday), but it is too soon for him to go out for the Manchester United game. Ross Turnbull is a doubt as he picked up a knock in a reserve team game, I would say he is 80 per cent likely to make the game. Hilario also picked up a big knock to his hip, but one of him or Ross will be on the bench.

-Andre Villas-Boas. Source: Fulham & Hammersmith Chronicle.

I really, really really REALLY hope that the goalkeeper news is irrelevant, because I would guarantee you it means we're having a very bad day indeed, but Villas-Boas has pretty much drawn the line under Drogba's potential participation in this match (although hey, a return to full intensity training is good). Chelsea will miss the Ivorian off the bench, especially with the potential of facing a United defence that looks fairly weak - the prospect of Drogba coming in as a with Johnny Evans tired in the second half is something that would have kept Sir Alex Ferguson on his toes - but it's better to keep him around for the long haul than risk him in one game, no matter how important.

With Torres scuffling and Anelka showing far better form as a wide forward than as a number nine (his indifferent performance was something control of the Sunderland game was achieved in spite of, rather than because of), the striker situation does not look fantastic for Sunday's game, which means that the key battle will probably end up being a) in the left wing zone, where Juan Mata gets to take on not-really-right-back Chris Smalling and b) in the centre, where Wayne Rooney, Anderson and one of Phil Jones and Michael Carrick will be up against Chelsea's presumed midfield triangle.

The former should be fairly straightforward, but the midfield is more tricky. Chelsea's best hope is probably that Ferguson makes a mistake and goes with Carrick over Jones - I notice that nobody is laughing over the price they paid for the 19-year-old now - but when you need the opposition manager to screw up in order to win a key battle, that's a pretty easy way to tell that you're in trouble.

It's going to be interesting to see how Villas-Boas addresses the various issues with the team, but he's better equipped to deal with this than anyone else, so we'll just have to wait and see. United are the better side on paper and are at home, so should be favourites to win, but Chelsea are certainly better than anyone else they've faced this season and if the Blues don't make any catastrophic defensive errors (cough David Luiz cough cough)... well, who knows?

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join We Ain't Got No History

You must be a member of We Ain't Got No History to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at We Ain't Got No History. You should read them.

Join We Ain't Got No History

You must be a member of We Ain't Got No History to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at We Ain't Got No History. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9353_tracker