Champions League – Team news: Cole doubt

Questions over Ashley Cole‘s fitness mean that Yuri Zhirkov could start for Chelsea on their Champions League trip to APOEL Nicosia.

Click the relevant links below to see predicted line-ups and match facts ahead of tonight’s matches.

Matches kick off at 19:45 UK time.


Manchester United v Wolfsburg

Manchester United will be without midfielder Park Ji-sung for the visit of Bundelsiga champions Wolfsburg.

The South Korea international has picked up a virus and so joins long-term absentees Rafael da Silva (shoulder), Gabriel Obertan (calf) and Edwin van der Sar (broken finger) on the sidelines.

Patrice Evra has recovered from a virus of his own while Michael Owen should be available despite also missing training with a minor groin strain.

Midfielder Owen Hargreaves has returned to United’s training complex after being out for over a year following surgery on both knees, and United boss Alex Ferguson hopes the England international can return to training within the next two weeks.

Wolfsburg manager Armin Veh has only one injury worry to deal with for the trip to Old Trafford.

Captain Josue is a doubt for the German champions. The Brazilian midfielder is struggling with a knee injury.



Cypriot champions APOEL welcome Chelsea to the GSP Stadium missing a handful of players.

Defensive duo Paulo Jorge (leg muscle tear) and Joost Broerse (leg muscle strain) are both out, as are Polish strike pair Marcin ewakow (knee) and Adrian Sikora (knee).

Chelsea’s main injury worry is left-back Ashley Cole. The England defender is a doubt for Carlo Ancelotti’s side with a knee problem. Russian Yuri Zhirkov, himself just recovered from injury, may step in to make only his second Chelsea appearance.

The west Londoners are already missing defender Alex (groin), midfield trio John Mikel Obi (ankle), Deco (calf), Michael Ballack (calf) and striker Daniel Sturridge (calf) through injury.

However, their most notable absentees are full-back Jose Bosingwa and Didier Drogba, who are both serving European bans for misconduct following Chelsea’s controversial semi-final elimination at the hands of Barcelona last season.

Bosingwa is serving the second match of his two-game suspension, while Drogba will not be available again until the Matchday Four clash at Atletico Madrid.

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