That Carling Cup defeat against Newcastle turned out to be pretty costly. When Yossi Benayoun went off with a calf strain in the second half, it was generally assumed that he would be out of action for just a few weeks; indeed, he was so close to recovery from that injury that he was released for international duty with Israel earlier this week. However, things have turned out to be worse than feared - according to the Israeli Football Association scans are showing that the midfielder actually has an Achilles tendon tear and will subsequently be out for several months.
My initial feeling is that this is either a new injury sustained in training or an extremely minor tear high up the tendon, especially as Benayoun was fit enough to be included in Israel's qualifying squad this week. Nevertheless, cartilaginous material damage needs to be taken seriously and we shouldn't be expecting him back anytime soon. Fortunately, Frank Lampard looks like he's on the road to recovery (knock on wood, take with a pinch of salt, pray to the football gods), and both Ramires and Yuri Zhirkov can fill in as left midfield depth as required.
Still bad news for Benayoun, who had looked impressive coming off the bench and in spot starts early in the season, scoring his first goal against Wigan in the second game of the season and spearheading an attacking masterclass in the Champions League match against Zilina. Let's hope he has a quick recovery.