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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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By ESPN Staff

Anxious Chelsea wait on Terry scan results

Chelsea were anxiously waiting for the results of scans on captain John Terry's injured right ankle today as they continued their preparations for Sunday's Carling Cup final with Arsenal.

Terry is out of the showpiece event at Cardiff's Millennium stadium after damaging ankle ligaments in their 1-1 draw with Porto in the first leg of their last 16 knockout tie.

Chelsea are hoping the damage will not keep him out longer than a few weeks but he also faces a battle to be fit for England's Euro 2008 qualifiers against Israel and Andorra at the end of next month.

Terry's Chelsea and England team-mate Lampard fears the injury could be worse than anticipated though after insisting that the influential skipper would not have come off the field for a minor injury.

Terry signalled to the bench immediately that he could not continue as he limped to the touchline to await treatment.

To make matters worse for Chelsea Porto took the lead in the 11th minute, while Terry was off the field, before Andriy Shevchenko levelled five minutes later.

Lampard said: 'I asked him at half-time and he wasn't sure how bad it was, it felt bad at the time. I don't think John comes off unless it's pretty painful.'

The only hope for Chelsea is that the damage is not as bad as feared and even Terry appeared relaxed after the game - leaving the ground on crutches with his foot encased in a special protective boot.

Terry indicated to Shevchenko that the injury was connected with the right-hand side of his ankle and that suggests he may have got away with any serious damage to the ligaments.

Shevchenko's goal, his 58th in European competitions, leaves him just four behind all-time record holder Gerd Muller.

It gives Chelsea a slight edge for the return leg against Porto in a fortnight as well as setting up Mourinho's side for their clash with Arsenal.

Lampard added: 'We're confident anyway, we're playing well as a team and it's a good result for us.

'It's a massive game, Arsenal are a big team, but we want to get our first trophy. It was a good result for us to draw 1-1 in Porto but you cannot be over-confident at this level.

'We must make sure we finish the job at home. The Chelsea fans were magnificent for us against Porto and on Sunday we will go out and give it our all. To win the trophy is very special for us.'

Chelsea's injury problems in defence could be boosted by the return of Ashley Cole although Mourinho still only has one recognised central defender in Ricardo Carvalho.

Midfielder Michael Essien will return to partner him in the centre of defence on Sunday with Cole likely to be drafted into the squad after coming through an hour of Chelsea's reserve win over Reading on Wednesday night.

Cole expects to be fit for selection for the Carling Cup final on Sunday and the club's reserve team coach Brendan Rodgers was full of praise for Cole.

Rodgers said: ' He came through with no ill effects. He was with us for two days and his attitude was top class. He showed what a great professional he is and that reflected in his performance.

'His play was fantastic. It was a pleasure having such a person around.

'I took him off after an hour to protect him, but he looked as though he could comfortably have played for longer.'

Cole had been sidelined with a twisted knee since the end of January and with Chelsea already without the services of central defender Khalid Boulahrouz, who is out for three weeks with a dislocated shoulder, his return is a timely boost for Mourinho.