Chelsea captain John Terry will miss the Carling Cup final after suffering suspected ankle ligament damage in Wednesday's 1-1 Champions League stalemate with Porto.
The England skipper lasted just 13 minutes of the last 16 first leg clash in Portugal after turning his ankle in an innocuous incident.
Terry, who has already missed two months of the season after undergoing back surgery, will now sit out Sunday's showpiece with Arsenal at the Millennium Stadium, but is expected to be fit for England's vital Euro 2008 qualifiers against Israel and Andorra next month.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho replaced Terry with Arjen Robben at the Estadio do Dragao, but despite the Dutch winger himself being replaced at half-time after suffering a muscle injury, he is expected to be fit to face Arsenal in Cardiff.
Referring to Sunday's game, Mourinho said: "We don't have Khalid Boulahrouz and we don't have John Terry. We have one central defender - Ricardo Carvalho.
"From the moment he (Terry) was injured, everything changed. Michael Essien is one of the players in form in Chelsea.
"In midfield he is almost unstoppable because of his power but he is playing as a central defender again.
"We are not in an easy situation. I do not know when John Terry will be back but I am cool about it.
"We have a lot of problems but we are surviving. We are there. We cannot cry about it. We have to play against Arsenal with Essien and Carvalho at the back - we don't have a choice."
Referring to Robben's injury, he added: "I think Robben's injury is a consequence of not warming up. I wanted to put Jon Obi Mikel on but they scored while we were down to ten men and so I put Robben on instead.
"He had to go straight on. I don't think it is a big thing. At half-time he wanted to try and play on but I didn't want to lose another player for a long time so I decided to put Mikel on."