The abductor problem that has kept Fernando Torres out of action since Nov. 2 has improved enough to allow the Chelsea forward to travel ahead of Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League game at Basel. Though that’s no guarantee the 29-year-old Spaniard will play, Torres’ potential availability would be a boost to a squad that counts only Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba among its healthy striker options.
Though he was scored only once in 411 Premier League minutes this season, Torres has two goals in Champions League, where he scored twice in Gelsenkirchen on Oct. 22 as Chelsea defeated Schalke, 3-0. On Tuesday, he’d be tasked with helping Chelsea reverse their 2-1 home loss to Basel to open group stage. The Blues need only a point to secure a spot in the knockout rounds, with a win over the Swiss champions clinching first place in their group.
Any success at Basel will have to come without David Luiz, however, with the 26-year-old defender ruled out for a week after he was diagnosed with a bruised patella tendon. Though the Brazilian international played in both of the Seleçao’s matches over the international break, Luiz wasn’t on the bench for Chelsea’s 3-0 Saturday way at West Ham United. Today, Luiz was omitted from the Blues’ traveling squad, with John Terry and Gary Cahill likely to persist in central defense on Tuesday.
[MORE: West Ham 0-3 Chelsea: Lampard leads Blues to dominant win (video)]
If all goes as planned, Luiz’s absences won’t matter as Chelsea visits a team that hasn’t won in Champions League since their trip to Stamford Bridge. Likewise, Chelsea’s fortunes have reversed since match day one. With nine points from their last three games, the Blues sit three clear at the top of Group E.
Los Angeles FC selected five players in the MLS Expansion Draft, including Costa Rican national team star Marco Urena.
Whether they’ll make their way to the City of Angels is another story.
The first pick from general manager John Thorrington was goalkeeper Tyler Miller from Seattle Sounders.
[ MORE: Benitez on NUFC struggles ]
Going next was Latif Blessing from Sporting KC, an electric attacker who netted thrice with an assist last season.
Next was Urena from San Jose and the Costa Rican national team, a huge addition, and then Columbus left back Jukka Raitala before closing up the draft with Raheem Edwards from Toronto FC.
LAFC has already announced the signings or acquisitions of Carlos Vela, Walker Zimmerman, Carlos Alvarez, Monday Etim, and Guillermo Vizcarra.
The club will also loan Omar Gaber from Basel and Rodrigo Pacheco from Lanus.
Chelsea visits the John Smith’s Stadium to face Huddersfield Town in one of three Premier League fixtures this chilly Tuesday in December (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
The Blues are now 14 points back of Manchester City, and three points clear of fifth place.
Meanwhile there are a pair of matches on NBC Sports Gold: Burnley looks to keep pace with its Top Four ambitions when it hosts struggling Stoke City, while in-form Crystal Palace seeks a home win that would move it out of the drop zone. In its way? Dangerous, attack-minded Watford.
Burnley vs. Stoke City — 2:45 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]
Huddersfield Town vs. Chelsea — 3 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]
Crystal Palace vs. Watford — 3 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]
ZURICH (AP) FIFA has banned Colombia midfielder Edwin Cardona for five matches for making a discriminatory gesture with his eyes toward a South Korean opponent.
FIFA will allow Cardona to serve the ban in friendly games, so he should be available for Colombia’s World Cup opener against Japan on June 19.
[ MORE: Pep on post-derby celebrations ]
Cardona has also been fined 20,000 Swiss francs ($20,150) because of the incident last month in a friendly in Seoul.
Cardona apologized at the time, saying he “didn’t mean to disrespect anyone, a country or a race, but if anyone felt offended, or interpreted it in that way, I am sorry.”
Spurs finally got a bit of good news this weekend with a blowout of Stoke City.
That was a followed by a tough draw against Juventus in the UEFA Champions League, and bad news on an old injury.
[ MORE: Benitez on NUFC struggles ]
Center back Toby Alderweireld is going to be gone into February, extending his time on the sidelines with a hamstring injury suffered Nov. 1 against Real Madrid.
Spurs were 6-2-2 in league when Alderweireld went down, and are just 2-2-2 since the injury. The Belgian has missed losses at Arsenal and Leicester, draws against Watford and West Brom, and wins over Crystal Palace and Stoke.
Tottenham did win both of its UCL matches since the injury.