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No way back for Alex at Chelsea

Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas is adamant that Alex will not be recalled to the first team, even if it means the Blues starting Boxing Day's west London derby with John Terry as their only fit centre-half. Despite having previously claimed Alex and Nicolas Anelka, who were sidelined after submitting transfer requests, could force their way back into his plans, the Blues boss declared the former would not be recalled.

Branislav Ivanovic has since limped out of Thursday night's 1-1 Barclays Premier League draw at Tottenham.

Asked afterwards if he had changed his mind about Alex ahead of Monday's game against Fulham, Villas-Boas simply said: "No."

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Dave Williams

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