Midfielder Frank Lampard is set to undergo surgery for a hernia in midweek. As a result he'll be out of action for both England qualifiers, but thanks to the international break should be available for Chelsea's next match at Upton Park. This news goes some way toward explaining his awful performance in the game against Stoke City today. Hopefully he comes back fully fit and ready to go. England manager Fabio Capello will have to go to his second choice option in midfield, so we may well see a major reshuffling of England's ranks with the squad due to be named tomorrow.
Lampard had started the season in fine form, picking up a goal in the opener against West Bromwich Albion and contributing to several more in the 6-0 thrashing away at Wigan. However, he had an extremely poor game against Stoke at Stamford Bridge, missing several easy chances including a penalty and failing to connect passes with anything approaching his usual accuracy. Considering his play today, it's no surprise that he's hurt, and it's a relief that the complaint appears to be (relatively) minor.