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Essien Returns As Chelsea’s Fulcrum

Why is Michael Essien so underrated is a mystery to me. I must admit that I was nonplussed about him as a player, knowing next to nothing about him when he signed for Chelsea from Lyon in August 2005 for £24 million. That was in the dark days before I had Setanta and could immerse myself in French football as often as I wished. Yet, it took next to no time for me to be impressed by his dynamic style and work rate, for me he’s easily one of the best midfielders in world football and this season has shown just how important he is for Chelsea.

His performances in the three games he’s played since returning from the damaged cruciate ligament he picked up playing for Ghana against Libya have been sensational, I consider him a swashbuckling player, dynamic runs, powerful in the tackle, yet a lovely range of passing, good in the air and the positional adaptability that all managers would adore to have in their team. His goal against Juventus showed that he wasn’t held back by his injury as some players can be on their return. By throwing himself at the ball and the imposing figure of Gianluigi Buffon, without a care about his knee showed he wanted to score over anything else, he just wanted to drag his team level and also evaporate any doubts over his long term fitness.Against Manchester City yesterday, he could have had a hatrick.

Essien has shown in those games just how important he is and yet he knows he has to push the continual development of his game. When he first joined, the only thing about his game that I thought he lacked was his goalscoring, only getting two in his debut season at Chelsea. He’s certainly added that to his game since though, and his two goals in Chelsea’s last two games were massive, massive goals. The goal against Juventus, coming when it did, was such a crucial strike. If Chelsea had gone in at half time one nil down, especially scoring a goal that the referee and linesman missed, they’d be out of Europe now, no question about it. The dreadful decision would have weighed down on them and I don’t think they’d have been able to pick themselves up enough in the second half, but Essien saved the day.

His return to fitness couldn’t come at a better time for the Blues and Guus Hiddink as we reach the final furlong in European football. The Premiership is too far out of reach, regardless of Liverpool’s destruction of Manchester United on Saturday, but with Chelsea still in the F.A.Cup and Champions League, the possibility of having two cracks at silverware is tantalising close. Essien will be crucial in this run in now, his drive and effervescence, matchless in Chelsea’s engine room.

With sounds emanating from Stamford Bridge that Chelsea look likely to have a major clear out in the Summer, Essien, along with Lampard and Anelka, would be top of the list of players to keep hold of with no question of selling any of that trio and building the new Chelsea around them for a serious assault on four fronts. Essien has to be the fulcrum, the pivot that allows the team to move freely. Get that balance right and Chelsea can look to scale the heights they achieved under Mourinho once again next year.

9 Responses to Essien Returns As Chelsea’s Fulcrum

  1. Charles says:

    Essien is a fantastic player, something that seemed totally ignored by those who were so quick to declare Chelsea rubbish during the winter. Admittedly, they could have done better while he was out, but is it really that surprising that a team would decline a bit if they lose their best player for five months?

  2. Chris Walker says:

    Absolutley cracking player. He and Lampard in the midfield is what makes chelsea tick. Definitley at the top of the list of players to retain. It is however, time for chelsea to rebuild.

  3. Robbie says:

    By far one of the dirtiest players in the game. If memory serves me right he alsmost destroyed Nedveds career. Lest we forge the knee to the head during their second leg clash at the Stadio Olimpico in Turin. A great player to bring on if you intend to end one of the opposings players’ career. That goes for Obi Mikel and Didier Drogba, both players who have no class. All of them can learn alot on how to handle yourself on and off the pitch like Ryan Giggs. Oh and by the way, Drogba with those ipod headphones during mathces has no respect for his team, just like Essien. Remember them during Grant’s reign, sitting on the bench listening to music, what a joke. If Essien is the fulcrum, then Drogba is the spear fo the farce.

  4. John Sherman Hoyt says:

    Robbie,

    Are you kidding me? Come on, Mate. The knee to the head was clearly an accident. Nedved clearly slipped and was partly to blame. Obi is young, you can’t say that incident is really a new one for young footballers. Drogba? I’ll give you a point there.

  5. Paul Bestall says:

    Have to agree with JSH Robbie. I couldn’t see anything deliberate about the Nedved clash, seemed purely accidental. Drogba on the other hand, is a pain in the behind and would be the first out of the door in the Summer if it was down to me.

  6. Thomas says:

    A midfield triangle of Essien, Obi, and Lamps would be as strong as any in the world.

    I think Obi has the potential to be one of the most dominant players in the EPL in the near future. Mix that with Essien’s passing and Lampard’s knack for goal, and Chelsea look menacing.

    They still need to find a capable LW…they have sorely missed a pacey winger every since they sold Robben.

  7. Alexander Kakraba says:

    Robbie is either sick, hates our beloved Chelsea and the black players or he doesn’t know whom we’re talking about (Essien). If Robbie wasn’t endowed with a tongue to praise what is the true epitome of the best then he should keep mute and be ashamed of himself. Such rubbish must stop. His comment is absolutely balderdash.
    Now for Chelsea lovers we’re happy Essien is back and the engine room is working . Lamp will be free now to score more goals. I must confess Guus knows how to use Essien better. Chelsea! we’re the greatest!

  8. Tedros says:

    Essien is marvelous player, yet the most underated player in the primer league. I was waiting too long for his come back, now i am enjoying watching chelsea again under his marshal. He is incomparable absolute player. No one can undermine what essien has to offer to his club, because his actions are speaking themselves. His come back will be a big worry man utd and liverpool.

  9. Bishopville Red says:

    Essien is as close as it gets to Roy Keane today. Hate the Blues, LOVE what Essien brings to the table.

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