LIVERPOOL ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 25: Liverpool fans display anti American banners before the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Sunderland at at Anfield on September 25 2010 in Liverpool England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
A few interesting things going on right now, not all of them strictly Chelsea related.
- We'll start with Yossi Benayoun, who has apparently been feeling a problem with his Achilles tendon since the start of the season. After no less than three MRIs and ultrasounds, he was reassured by Chelsea's medical staff that it wasn't a huge concern. The fact that it didn't actually hurt meant that the midfielder played on it. Whoopsies. Eventually the Israeli national team's medical staff took a look:
"I came to Israel ready to play and they told me it was a big tear. Chelsea were sure it was something small. They have compared all the images and they do not understand how they missed it. They said it is unusual to have such a big tear and not be in terrible pain. Even now I am not in pain but I cannot take one step by myself until I undergo surgery." (source: Guardian)
- Speaking of Chelsea injuries, John Terry is still a major doubt for the Villa game on Saturday. Rumour has it that Ancelotti may turn to Paulo Ferreira as a centre back, with Jose Bosingwa(!) starting on the right and Branislav Ivanovic also playing centrally. If this happens, we'll have three right backs on the field at once. Yikes.
- And moving on to other injuries... Wayne Rooney is claiming that he does not in fact have an ankle injury nor has he ever had one, despite Sir Alex Ferguson's insistence that Rooney has been recently troubled by an ankle complaint and is not fully fit. While it's tempting to assume that Rooney doesn't actually know what an ankle is, he's also said that he has been involved in every training session all season long, a direct contradiction to his managers assertions. It's easy to read into this as a player issuing a challenge to his manager, but with Rooney, who knows?
- Finally, we have the Liverpool court debacle. The High Court has ruled that the proposed sale of the club for £300 to New England Sports Ventures (NESV) will go through against the wishes of current owners/debtors George Gillett and Tom Hicks, apparently despite there being better offers from other interested purchasers. Hicks and Gillett decided to try to counter this ruling by having a US court (one with apparently very little knowledge of the case) issue an injunction until the 25th, but the High Court ruled today that that wasn't going to happen, ordering an anti-suit injunction in reply, which theoretically forces the original injunction to be lifted by some time tomorrow. It's a little interesting to see two Courts shouting past each other, because as far as I can tell neither one has formally established jurisdiction over the case. From my standpoint, it should rest with the English system, but I'm not a lawyer so what do I know. One thing I would like to point out is that if there are indeed superior bids on the table, it's at the very least immoral to force the owners to sell for cheaper elsewhere, so it's entirely possible that there's some element of wrongdoing being done to Hicks and Gillett here. I love stories with no good guys.
Anyway, the rather blatant attempt to bypass the UK's court system might seem pretty flimsy, but despite being a frankly evil move by the owners it's also a fairly cunning one. Hicks and Gillett's ownership is now (temporarily) protected by law, and although the High Court is requiring the owners to apply to withdraw the injunction, they don't actually have to - but they would be in contempt of court in the United Kingdom. Where they don't live. Furthermore, applying to withdraw and actually withdrawing are two totally different things, creating the possibility of more amusing legal havoc. Meanwhile, attempts to press the sale through would probably put the Royal Bank of Scotland and NESV in contempt of a US court, where they both have holdings. Hrmmmm. Oh, and the litigation twins are now trying to get the Dallas County Court to overrule the High Court's anti-suit injunction. This is sort of like a really ridiculous women's tennis match (the Liverpool fans are providing the requisite screams).
- And this totally slipped my mind earlier: Chelsea have signed an 11 year old out of Northhampton Town for the princely free of £10,000. Michael Gyasi is supposedly a pretty special talent for an 11 year old, but he's a long, long way off ever turning out for the club in either the youth ranks or the professional levels.
- Also in that article:
Chelsea are likely to be without Frank Lampard for the Premier League visit to Aston Villa on Saturday. The midfielder underwent successful hernia surgery at the end of August but he suffered a setback on his return to training, when he pulled another muscle in the area.
Raise your hand if you're surprised.I'd like to see Yuri Zhirkov get some time in against Villa, whose midfield should be so preoccupied with dealing with Michael Essien that they're likely to afford the Russian the sort of space in which he can excel.