John Terry will miss fourth-placed Chelsea's home match against Manchester United on Sunday with a knee injury, sparing him unwelcome attention under the spotlight after the FA stripped him of the England captaincy on Friday.
Terry, who faces a court case in July for alleged racist comments to Anton Ferdinand, brother of United's Rio, has not recovered from the knee injury that kept him out of the 1-1 draw away to Swansea City on Tuesday.
Ashley Cole is suspended but Frank Lampard could return if he passes a fitness test on a calf tear.
United have been given a boost from the treatment room with several injured players in contention for Sunday's trip to Chelsea.
Wayne Rooney, Nani, Tom Cleverly and Ashley Young are all in the squad for the trip to Stamford bridge where United have not won in the league for 10 years.
Goalkeeper David De Gea should also return after missing the midweek victory over Stoke City.
"We're a bit better in terms of injuries," manager Sir Alex Ferguson told the club's website.
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini will have no qualms about giving new signing David Pizarro a place in the squad for the home match against Fulham on Saturday.
The Chilean playmaker, signed on loan from Roma, gives Mancini options in midfield as a critical part of the season looms for the league leaders.
"I think he will be useful for us in the next four months," Mancini said of the 32-year-old, "It's not a gamble."
Striker Mario Balotelli is still suspended.
Third-placed Tottenham Hotspur have serious doubts about Jermain Defoe and Aaron Lennon for Monday's trip to Liverpool as they try to recover from hamstring injuries.
New signings Louis Saha and Ryan Nelsen are both available though with former Manchester United striker Saha eager to prove he still has something to offer.
"It's a great feeling to be here, I'm really excited," Saha told the Spurs website. "I love scoring goals and I see many opportunities with the wingers and the way we play. I can't wait."
Resurgent Liverpool will have Luis Suarez available for the visit of Spurs after he completed his eight-match ban for making a racist comment to Manchester United's Patrice Evra.
Captain Steven Gerrard is also lilely to start after missing the midweek victory against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
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