Lampard out 'a few weeks'

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard is out for 'a few weeks' after suffering a torn thigh muscle.

Lampard picked up the injury during the 4-4 draw with Aston Villa on Boxing Day and was replaced by Michael Ballack after 26 minutes.

Walcott is the only doubt for North London derby

“The injury news is quite good compared to last week,” Arsène Wenger told Arsenal TV Online on Thursday afternoon. “The only one who is problematic is Theo Walcott. He is not fit to practice. He has had flu and has not recovered completely. Everybody else is available.”

Therefore Emmanuel Eboue is fit despite being stretchered off against Avram Grant’s side.

Castillo hopes for City bow

The City boss added: "He's a very good player, he's quick, has good technique and can play wide midfielder or can play second striker, so I think he will fit in very, very well with our style of playing and how we're trying to play.

Larsson open to offer

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson could again turn to Henrik Larsson when the transfer window opens in January.

...Ferguson is now weighing up his options and will consider a second call to Larsson.

The former Celtic and Barcelona star's contract has expired at Helsingborgs and he is keen to bring the curtain down on his much-decorated career with one last hurrah in either England or Scotland.

Eriksson: Hart is my number one

Sven-Goran Eriksson admits he would not be surprised if Andreas Isaksson asks to leave Manchester City after being told Joe Hart is number one.

After switching the two men around over the past month, Eriksson vowed to make a final decision on his first-choice in the aftermath of Tuesday's Carling Cup defeat by Tottenham.

Although Hart was beaten twice by Spurs at Eastlands, Eriksson saw enough ability in the England Under-21 star both this week and in his eight previous first-team appearances for the Blues this term to place his trust in the former Shrewsbury man.


It was planned for Castillo to make his debut in the January 2 meeting with Newcastle at St James' Park.

Instead, red tape could delay his official signing by 24 hours, meaning he would not be able to play until the following weekend's FA Cup tie at West Ham.

Meanwhile, Eriksson has confirmed young midfielder Michael Johnson is unlikely to figure against Aston Villa on Saturday.

The England Under-21 international has reported some discomfort from the abdominal surgery he had last month and while Eriksson is confident Johnson will not require another operation, the player has been advised to rest for a couple of days.

Spurs linked with Dutch ace

Ajax defender Urby Emanuelson is a target for Tottenham, according to the player's agent.

Spurs boss Juande Ramos is weighing up his options as he ponders bolstering his squad when the transfer window reopens next month.

Ramos could be in the market for a new left-back with Gareth Bale facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines through injury.

Emanuelson is regarded as one of the best young players in Europe having come through the famed Ajax youth ranks.

City complete loan deal for striker Castillo

Manchester City have confirmed the capture of Nery Castillo from Shakhtar Donetsk on a year-long loan deal.

The Mexico forward only signed for the Ukrainian outfit in the summer in a lucrative £15million deal from Olympiacos, but after failing to impress he will now join Sven-Goran Eriksson's squad in January.

Preview: City v Bolton

Rolando Bianchi, who, after his confidence-boosting goal at White Hart Lane, is set to start a league game for the first time in three months.

Bet the Under

Wenger unsure over trio

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admits he is unsure if any of Cesc Fabregas, Mathieu Flamini and Alexander Hleb will be fit to face Chelsea in Grand Slam Sunday.

Star midfielder Fabregas has been out of action since picking up a hamstring injury against Sevilla last month, while Flamini and Hleb have missed the last three games after suffering knocks at Aston Villa.

The midfield trio are back in light training, but Wenger insists they are all still doubtful for Sunday's tussle with title rivals Chelsea.

Robin van Persie could start against Chelsea after making a successful return to action against Steaua Bucharest on Wednesday.

The Dutchman has recovered from the knee injury which sidelined him for two months and he is keen to feature against Chelsea.

However, Wenger will wait on the advice of his medical staff before making a decision on Van Persie's involvement.

"At the moment, he does not have the green light medically," added Wenger.

"Once he gets that, we have to test him on the pitch with the other players and then we can make a decision."

Fulham's McBride suffers injury setback

Fulham captain Brian McBride has suffered a minor setback in his recovery from a knee injury and is unlikely to return until the New Year.

Cottagers boss Lawrie Sanchez had provisionally pencilled in the American striker to make his comeback against Wigan Athletic before Christmas.

But the 35-year-old will not play until January after having a cortisone injection following a visit to the specialist.

Lehmann to risk Euro 2008 place

Jens Lehmann looks all set to remain at Arsenal until next summer despite not playing regular first-team football.

The German goalkeeper has stated his desire to remain in London until the summer of 2008 so as not to disrupt the lives of his young family.


Arsenal keeper Jens Lehmann is being linked with a loan move to Manchester City.

The Evening Standard says that City are looking for an experienced custodian and will look to bring in the German.

Lehmann has been told he has no future at Arsenal but he needs first-team football to keep his place as Germany's number one at Euro 2008.

Wenger admitted: "I can't guarantee he will be here for the second half of the season but I can't make that guarantee about anybody.

Out of favour Lehmann to return for Arsenal

Veteran German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann is set to return to the Arsenal team for Wednesday night's final Champions League Group H clash against whipping boys Steaua Bucharest at Emirates Stadium.

Striker Robin van Persie will also be in the squad, having recovered from a knee problem which sidelined him since October, while midfielder Abou Diaby is fit again following a back problem.

Elano back to boost City

Sven Goran Eriksson will be able to call on the services of Elano again when Manchester City face Bolton on Saturday.

The influential Brazilian has missed the last two games with a hamstring problem and without his creative influence City have only picked up one point from a possible six...

"Elano is almost sure to be fit for the Bolton game," the Swedish boss told the Manchester Evening News.

"The plan is that he will return to full training today (Tuesday)."

Hobbs set for first start

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez is set to give Jack Hobbs his first Premiership start against Reading if Jamie Carragher fails to make it.

Centre-half Carragher appears to be losing his race to be fit enough for the trip to the Madejski Stadium on Saturday following his clash with Pepe Reina during the 4-0 win over Bolton which left him with bruised ribs.

If there are any doubts over the defender's fitness then Benitez will not risk him, with massive games coming up against Marseilles in the Champions League and Manchester United in the Premiership.

Hobbs looks set to start although Benitez may opt to push Alvaro Arbeloa to centre-back should Steve Finnan recover from a calf injury in time to face Steve Coppell's men.


"No Fabregas, no Hleb, no Van Persie, no Flamini will be back for the weekend," admitted Wenger in his post-match press conference at St James' Park.

Cech eyes Black Cats return

Petr Cech has set his sights on a return to action against Sunderland this weekend.

The Czech Republic international has missed the last four games with a calf injury.

However, Cech is back in training and he is hopeful of being available for the clash with Roy Keane's Sunderland...

"I couldn't make it against West Ham last weekend but hope to play on Saturday."

Chelsea rocked as scan shows Drogba needs knee operation

Didier Drogba requires surgery on a knee problem which could keep him out for several weeks although the club have yet to decide when the operation will go ahead. The Ivory Coast striker had a scan yesterday, which showed that the injury to his left knee, first picked up while on international duty last month, has not healed. Chelsea's medical team will now examine the scan and talk to the player before making a decision on what action to take.

Due to return this week

Mario Stanić -- the biggest tease in fantasy football history. Scored this AMAZING goal against West Ham on the opening week of the season. Promptly got injured, but each week his return was teased in the team news. I don't think he ever did make it back.

Everton v Zenit St Petersburg

Everton have fitness doubts over defender Joseph Yobo and goalkeeper Tim Howard ahead of their crucial UEFA Cup group A clash with newly crowned Russian champions Zenit St Petersburg.

Yobo has an ankle injury while Howard has been suffering from sickness this week, leaving boss David Moyes with concerns as he plans for a match that sees Everton needing just one point to qualify for the next stage.

Chelsea Striker Drogba Admitted To Hospital

Chelsea striker Didier Drogba is suffering from severe swelling of the knee so bad that he was admitted to hospital on both Monday and Tuesday.

The Ivorian has experienced troubles with his knee since the early part of this season, although it is not yet known what exactly has caused the inflamation.

Drogba was many people's man-of-the-match in Chelsea's 1-0 win over West Ham on Saturday, but his knee troubles returned soon after the game...

Chelsea's medical staff fear that the swelling could be down to a tiny piece of floating bone or cartilage rubbing against the muscle - the same problem suffered previously by Blues captain John Terry.

Drogba is due to undergo a scan at the hospital on Wednesday, but if keyhole surgery is deemed necessary the Ivorian faces three weeks on the sidelines. In any case, he is rated highly doubtful for Saturday's game with Sunderland.

Injury blow for midfield duo

Alexander Hleb and Mathieu Flamini have been ruled out of Arsenal's trip to Newcastle on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports 1.

Arsene Wenger's side will now be without the services of four international midfielders. Cesc Fabregas and Abou Diaby both missed the 2-1 victory over Aston Villa on Saturday with hamstring and back injuries respectively and will not be fit in time for the journey to Tyneside.

The impressive victory at Villa Park may have maintained the Gunners' three point lead at the top of the Premier League, but it came at a price.

Hleb picked up an Achilles/hamstring problem while Flamini has suffered a recurrence of a thigh injury. Wenger is likely to bring young Brazilian Denilson back into the first team squad after injury, whilst Lassana Diarra and Gilberto Silva also provide experienced midfield options.

Hleb and Fabregas are also unlikely to be back in contention for Arsenal's game at Middlesbrough on Sunday, but there is optimism over Flamini's chances of making a swift return. Striker Robin Van Persie will not feature in either of the North East games as he is still a couple of weeks away from recovering from a knee injury.

Pompey fight early release of Nigerians

Pompey's current African Cup contingent [Nigeria's Kanu and John Utaka, Ghana's Sulley Muntari and Senegal's Papa Bouba Diop] are so far pencilled in to miss the Fratton Park clashes with Derby on January 19 and Chelsea on February 2.

They could also miss trips to Manchester United (January 30) and Bolton (February 9), as well as a potential FA Cup fourth-round tie on January 26.

But Benjani will be available after Zimbabwe failed to qualify for the finals.

Flamini set to miss out Newcastle game

Premier League leaders Arsenal have seen midfielder Mathieu Flamini added to their absentee list with a reoccurrence of his thigh problem ahead of Wednesday night's game at Newcastle

Winger Alexander Hleb (Achilles), Cesc Fabregas (hamstring) and Abou Diaby (back) are also out, so Brazilians Gilberto and Denilson are set to come into contention.

Keane suspension stands as appeal fails

Robbie Keane will miss the north London derby with Arsenal after Tottenham's appeal against his red card for serious foul play against Birmingham was rejected.

The striker, 27, will now serve a three-match domestic suspension as a result of the dismissal for a challenge on Birmingham's Fabrice Muamba... Keane will also miss games against Manchester City and Portsmouth.

Meanwhile, Spurs have been boosted by the return of Ledley King for the reserve team clash with Fulham.

Spurs vs Birmingham - The post-mortem

[I]t surprised me initially to see the aerial presence of Bent sacrificed for Jermain Defoe, though finding out later that Bent had suffered a thigh strain cleared things up. What it didn't clear up is our ever-increasing injury crisis, which was hit even harder when Bale limped off with fifteen minutes to go.

Lasagna-gate, redux?

Ferguson... confirmed both Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand had been forced off after a stomach virus hit the United camp this week.

Hleb doubt for Toon clash

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger reveals that midfielder Alexander Hleb is a major doubt for the match against Newcastle United on Wednesday. "Alex had a hamstring problem before the [Aston Villa] game but we decided to play him. He had a recurrence and I'm not sure he will be available for Newcastle."

Toon defensive crisis ahead of Gunners clash

Newcastle defenders Abdoulaye Faye and Steve Carr are doubts for the home clash with Arsenal after limping out of the Blackburn defeat... Boss Sam Allardyce is already without Claudio Cacapa and also sweating on the return of England Under-21 star Steven Taylor, who will not make his comeback until he receives clearance from a specialist after a back problem suffered on international duty.