Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka will miss the Christmas game against Fulham through injury.
Anelka missed Sunday’s draw with West Ham with a calf problem and the Frenchman faces a longer spell on the sidelines.
It was hoped the injury was not too serious, but the France international will now miss the trip to Birmingham on Boxing Day as well as the West London derby with Fulham on 28th December.
Chelsea are hoping Anelka will recover in time for the FA Cup clash with Watford on 3rd of January as they face up to the prospect of being without Didier Drogba for the whole of January because of his participation in the African Cup of Nations.
Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti has admitted Anelka’s injury may give Daniel Sturridge the chance to stake his claim for a place in the side.
“Nicolas has a little injury, it’s a muscle problem,” said Ancelotti.
“It is a small problem but he is not ready to play these games.”
Ancelotti admitted Sturridge could be handed his first Premier League start for the club against Birmingham on Boxing Day after impressing off the bench against West Ham.
“I think Sturridge is in very good condition,” added Ancelotti.
“He has a good opportunity to show his quality. He played against West Ham very well and maybe against Birmingham he can play from the beginning.”