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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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Cole out of Shakhtar clash

Ashley Cole has been ruled out of Chelsea's Champions League clash with Shakhtar Donetsk due to a hamstring injury.

Having been beaten by Shakhtar a fortnight ago, Chelsea need a win to remain on track to defend their title. But they will have to do it without Cole, though he is not in danger of being out long term.

"Ashley Cole won't be available tomorrow, he has a problem with his hamstring," Blues manager Roberto Di Matteo said. "He shouldn't be out for long but the game tomorrow is too soon for him.

"It's a real shame because he's got all the experience you need in games like this so it is a real blow for us."

Ryan Bertrand is likely to be asked to deputise for Cole and Di Matteo has backed the youngster to excel. He added: "Ryan Bertrand has always performed well for us when he's played and I have full confidence he will play a great game."

David Luiz and Juan Mata, who was named player of the month for October, could boost Di Matteo's options if they come through a training session on Tuesday evening, but Frank Lampard remains sidelined.

"We need to wait for the last session tonight to check the availability for tomorrow and see how they come through tonight in the training session," Di Matteo said.

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