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Key men out of Arsenal-Chelsea derby

London, Dec 14: League leaders Arsenal, who lost their unbeaten league record when they went down 2-1 at Middlesbrough on Sunday, could again be without the injured trio of Spaniard Cesc Fabregas (hamstring), Belorussian Alexander Hleb (hamstring) and Frenchman Mathieu Flamini (thigh) for the visit of Chelsea.

Dutch winger Robin Van Persie, who returned to the side for Wednesday's Champions League match against Steaua Bucharest for the first time in two months after recovering from a knee injury, could start.Chelsea, who are third, are also hit by injuries with Portuguese defender Ricardo Carvalho (back) and Ivorian striker Didier Drogba (knee), the main absentees. Ghanaian midfielder Michael Essien is suspended and misses the game. Portuguese full back Paulo Ferreira returned for the visit of Valencia on Tuesday and is fit again after a month out.

Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 16 matches and Israeli coach Avram Grant will be hoping to celebrate the signing of his new four-year deal by preserving that record.

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Read more about: chelsea fabregas michael essien
Story first published: Friday, December 14, 2007, 20:33 [IST]
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