Tel Aviv: Chelsea have arrived in Israel without club captain Marcel Desailly and five other players including France midfielder Emmanuel for their UEFA Cup match against Hapoel Tel Aviv on Thursday. Hapoel Tel Aviv assured Chelsea they would have complete security at all times while the English side are in Israel for the UEFA Cup tie as the team arrived in Tel Aviv on Wednesday. The team travelled on a jet chartered from the Israeli state airline El Al, and have also removed the logo of their Arab sponsors 'Fly Emirates' from their shirts. But there are problems for Chelsea. Six players from the English premier league club are not travelling with them after some squad members expressed security concerns after the September 11 attacks on the United States. Marcel Desailly, William Gallas, Graeme Le Saux, Albert Ferrer, Emmanuel Petit and Eidur Gudjohnsen are the players who have backed out but club chairman Ken Bates in good humour says they are still strong enough to face their rivals. "Our team is full strength. I hope you don't lose by more than four goals," said Bates. The Chelsea fans, meanwhile feel the decision to come to Israel should be on a personal basis. Chelsea won't be alone in the stadium when they take on the Israeli team as a group of 124 supporters arrived with the team. The number may be small but in these circumstances, the effect is bound to be big.
Topics : Football