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Touted as the successor to the throne that will eventually be vacated by veteran midfielder Frank Lampard, 20-year-old Dutchman Marco van Ginkel was cruelly withdrawn from action earlier in the week after just nine minutes of play in the third round of Chelsea's League Cup game versus Swindon Town.
The youngster underwent an operation earlier today, Thursday, and amid reports that van Ginkel will be sidelined for a lengthy period, the club issued an official response: 'Chelsea can confirm van Ginkel successfully underwent anterior cruciate ligament surgery today. [He] is expected to be out for approximately six months.'
The Blues were drawn against Arsenal in the fourth round of the competition and will travel to the Emirates Stadium later in the season to participate in the match.
Their most immediate game, however, is Saturday's fixture against fellow Londoners; Tottenham Hotspur and, while Chelsea are yet to collect maximum points on the road and Spurs have only conceded one goal in all competitions all season, Betfair via Opta believe that it is the Blues who will be the greater bet.
It is a match that pits mentor against protege but any personal and tactical battles that may ensue between Jose Mourinho and Andre Villas-Boas do not concern the latter: 'I would say that we should, in my opinion, be secondary figures to a spectacular game that means a lot to the fans and much more to the players.'
Elsewhere, Juan Mata's situation at Chelsea is alerting teams in the Spanish, French and Italian leagues. Valencia, Atletico Madrid and Paris St Germain are just three of the player's admirers as the playmaker may want to move on in order to fortify his position in the Spanish squad ahead of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
image: © Jason Bagley