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Apr 20, 2012

Drogba injury blow

Roberto Di Matteo has revealed Didier Drogba has no chance of facing Arsenal this weekend and could miss Tuesday's Champions League second leg against Barcelona.

Off The Ball: Drogba in distress

• Arsenal v Chelsea preview
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• Terry: Drogba scared Barcelona
• Luiz to miss Barca games
• Celebrate 20 seasons of the Premier League

Drogba has been in exceptional form, scoring in the FA Cup semi-final victory over Tottenham as well as netting the only goal in the first leg against Barca, but he has now sustained a knee injury that could keep him out of action for several days.

David Luiz, as previously indicated, will also miss the Arsenal game with a hamstring injury.

"Both David Luiz and Drogba will miss the game against Arsenal," Di Matteo said. "Drogba picked up a knee injury against Barcelona and we will need to assess him over the next couple of days. He got pushed and kicked around quite a lot in the game on Wednesday."

Drogba received plenty of praise for his performance against Barcelona at Stamford Bridge, yet that was balanced by criticism of his apparent theatrics.

Di Matteo, though, feels it is not entirely warranted.

"Everybody is entitled to an opinion, but he was marked by two men for most of the game and came under a physical battering, so we have to be objective in our reaction," he said. "Our players are fair.

"Everybody has their own style but we are a fair team. He was very helpful to the team [against Barcelona], gave us an outlet and scored a vital goal so we were pleased."

Di Matteo also said he would have no input on Drogba's talks over a contract extension. "That's a conversation that will happen with the club. That has nothing really to do with myself."

While the focus has been on the Champions League, Chelsea cannot afford to become distracted ahead of the trip to Emirates Stadium.

The Blues currently lie sixth in the table but, after third-placed Arsenal's recent defeats to QPR and Wigan, they are only seven points behind their opponents and still have a game in hand.

"It's a big London derby but it will be a different type of game," Di Matteo said. "You should never write them off - they have a stable situation as a club and with the manager.

"You always know that even if they have a bad period, they have enough quality to challenge the top four all the time. They have a good squad with quality. We'll be missing some players and we'll have to see. It will be interesting."

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