Frank Lampard hasn't played in more than a month after having surgery on a hernia during that last international break. The midfielder was supposed to have been back for the West Ham game, then the Blackpool game, and finally the 1-0 loss to City, but he's now been ruled out ahead of time for the Champions League game against Marseilles, the key home game against Arsenal, and England's next qualifying match. Lampard has resumed training with the team but the area around the surgery is apparently still causing him pain during practice, and he's not going to be playing until he's 100% pain free.
With Yossi Benayoun out after picking up an injury in the Carling Cup loss to Newcastle, viable alternatives to the vice-captain in Chelsea's midfield included Ramires and Yuri Zhirkov. After the rather sad performance by Ramires against City, I'd be inclined to go with the Russian.
I don't know about you guys but this is starting to get really annoying. Carlo Ancelotti is now claiming that Lampard will be ready to go after the international break, but, well... we've heard that one before.