England midfielder has been suffering from a groin complaint.
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Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti is pinning his hopes on the fitness of Frank Lampard following Michael Essien’s red card in last night’s 1-0 Premier League victory over Fulham at Stamford Bridge.
Essien, who scored the decisive goal with a close-range header on the half-hour, is facing a three-match ban unless Chelsea can successfully appeal against the dismissal.
England midfielder Lampard, out of action with hernia and tendon problems since the end of August, has begun training with the squad once more and Ancelotti is confident he will be fit enough to play against Sunderland on Sunday.
“I think he’ll be okay for Sunday,” said Ancelotti. “He started to train two days ago with the team.
“He doesn’t have a problem, is showing confidence. I hope he will be ready, not necessarily to play for 90 minutes but just to be involved in the squad.
“If he’s okay, he can start. I don’t think he will be able to play 90 minutes, but he can play part of the game – he can do that.”
Ancelotti will also have Brazilian defender Alex and striker Nicolas Anelka fit again for the Sunderland game. (Daily Telegraph)
Chelsea have certainly missed Frank Lampard. Without his goal threat and physical play in the middle of the park, they have sometimes found themselves overrun.
This was most certainly the case against Liverpool, when a midfield of John Obi Mikel, Yuri Zhirkov and Ramires was outfought by some margin – particularly in the first half.
Michael Essien gave a typical all-action display against Fulham, with his increased goal threat this season securing maximum points for Carlo Ancelotti’s side. However, his tackle at the end of the game tarnished matters somewhat, and unless Chelsea decide to appeal, they could lose him for matches against Sunderland, Birmingham and Newcastle.
Lampard’s return would make up for Essien’s loss, and Chelsea fans will be looking forward to seeing he and Essien together.