Chelsea receive boost with Barcelona centre-back likely to miss Champions League tie
Chelsea have received a significant boost ahead of their Champions League round of 16 first-leg tie versus Barcelona this month. The Catalan giants could be without the services of Gerard Pique, who picked up a knock in the dying stages of the Barcelona derby versus Espanyol.
According to AS, the Spain international suffered the injury shortly after a tackle from Espanyol forward Gerard Moreno, and this could restrict his participation for Barcelona for the rest of the month.
Pique scored the leveller in a 1-1 draw between the local rivals, but his injury potentially leaves Barcelona with limited choice ahead of their European clash versus the Blues.
Back-up defender Thomas Vermaelen is also sidelined with a hamstring problem, and Valverde faces the prospect of playing winter signing Yerry Mina, who has yet to taste first-team action with the Blaugrana.
Barcelona are on course to secure their third La Liga title in four seasons, and they are presently holding a nine-point lead over second-placed Atletico Madrid.