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Double Blow For Chelsea Ahead Of Europa League Final

John Terry and Eden Hazard both started the 2-1 away win to Aston Villa on Saturday, which guaranteed the Blues Champions League football next season. However, in a match which saw Frank Lampard become the club’s all-time leading goal scorer, both Hazard and Terry sustained hamstring and ankle injuries respectively, which puts them in major doubt to feature in the final against Benfica on May 15th.

Club captain Terry, who missed last year’s Champions League final due to suspension, was forced off midway through the second half after appearing to twist his ankle in an aerial challenge against Villa’s Nathan Baker.

Belgian Hazard also walked off in the dying minutes of the match to leave Chelsea playing with 9 men as the Blues had used all their substitutes, having seem Ramires dismissed in the first half. The 22-year-old, who assisted on both Lampard goals, seemed to pull his hamstring as he darted down the left and was subsequently forced off the field.

Rafael Benitez has already achieved one of his two objectives by qualifying for the Champions League next season, but his second objective of winning a trophy is hampered with injuries to key personnel.

According to Metro, Benitez said, “That’s the bad news, the two injuries. Both players are injured – Terry and Hazard. We don’t know [if they will be fit for the final], we will wait for the scans.”

Benitez has frequently rotated his side in order to cope with the demands of playing Europa League football on Thursday and the Premier League on Sundays. In fact, Chelsea have played a club record 69 games in all competitions this season.

The loss of Terry may not be as acutely felt as Hazard’s, since the former England captain has fallen behind in the pecking order under Benitez, who has preferred to deploy Cahill and Ivanovic in the centre of defence.

However, Hazard has been a key figure in Chelsea’s midfield, who have often relied on the Belgian’s creativeness to unlock opposition defences. Such has been the class of Hazard in the middle of the park that his loss could seriously hamper Chelsea’s chances of winning the cup.

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