Chelsea will be without Essien until 2009

Chelsea will have to do without midfielder Michael Essien until 2009 after the Ghanian ruptured a cruciate ligament playing against Libya on Friday. The 25-year-old missed Chelsea's opening game of the season due to a recurring knee injury but played the full 90 minutes against Wigan and Spurs.

The loss of Essien will be a huge blow for Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari who saw both Claude Makelele and Steve Sidwell leave in the summer. The versatile Essien can also cover in defence and the Blues have no real replacement for the Ghanian.

Luiz Felipe Scolari's team take on Manchester City on Saturday before playing their first Champions League game against Bordeaux next week. With John Obi-Mikel and Michael Ballack struggling with injury it looks as if Frank Lampard and Deco will be called on to anchor Chelsea's midfield.

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