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PloKoon13

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I seem to remember posting something a few months ago about how Michael Essien's Chelsea career was probably over (at least as a first XI force) and since then I have stopped including him in my thinking about how the team might shape up in the future. However (trying not to get my hopes up of course) he looked quite a lot livelier than I was expecting upon his return, and in his absence I realised I had forgotten how effective a ballwinner (among other things) he is.

My immediate thought is 'if this is what he can contribute at 75%, then he might still be great at 100%'; Essien in his pomp was a world-class player and after such a long absence he would be hungry to play football again. Who wouldn't want him in their team? But in what role and in whose place?

But, a couple of problems that I can think of already:

Getting excited over two 20-minute cameos definitely counts as 'getting ahead of oneself'.

He might not be mobile enough or have the stamina to play in a system where we press heavily.

He was quite badly off form even before the injury.

I am interested to hear everyone's thoughts on the matter.

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Its a hard one when you know how talented he is, but i think in the current formation romeu is a must to play at the pointy end of that midfield 3 as a cdm if you like. If we played a 4-2-3-1 then him and romeu could both play, but romeu has to be a priority as this boy is a legend in the making

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But, a couple of problems that I can think of already:

Getting excited over two 20-minute cameos definitely counts as 'getting ahead of oneself'.

He might not be mobile enough or have the stamina to play in a system where we press heavily.

He was quite badly off form even before the injury.

I agree with all of this. I'm fearful every time he makes a tackle. And he hasn't yet been forced to run hard or fast. Those tests lie ahead.

I hope against hope that he surprises us again, in the most pleasant way possible.

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Real toughy. I have been in favour for the best part of the last year of selling him, given his injuries and performance last season.

But the energy he has played with and the dismal nature of our play in comparison has changed my mind a little. I want to see him at full fitness for the rest of the season and I think we then make up our minds. Right now he slots straight in to the team at DM as soon as fitness returns.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sometimes, when a player has been away for a spell you sort of forget how good they were. One of the most pleasant things of the last couple of weeks has been watching Essien be as solid as the rock of Gibraltar on the ball. He's immovable, just completely secure. It's a treat to watch.

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I didn't expect much from him this year given how disappointing he was last year and the fact that he was coming off another major injury, but he's really surprised me with his effectiveness. I don't want to go nuts over a small sample size, but he deserves to be recognized for how effective he's been. If he can keep it up and prove that he can last 90 minutes, then it truly will be a best case scenario I hadn't thought possible.

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