When you need a man to rely on, call Michael Essien.
It seems like a long time ago Jose Mourinho originally signed the Ghanaian for Chelsea, indeed it was back in 2005 for a price of £26 million.
Essien was a tour de force in his first seasons for Chelsea, before suffering serious knee injuries which have slowed his progress, and last season he was sent out on loan.
It was not just any loan though, but a sojourn to Real Madrid under Jose Mourinho, who knows exactly what the central midfielder is capable of.
Under his employ once again, Essien has found chances this season tough to come by, making only one start ahead of last night, playing 90 minutes away to Swindon in the previous round.
Selected again, as Mourinho made 10 changes to the side which beat Manchester City at the weekend, he put in an assured display against old foe Arsenal, helping Chelsea to a 2-0 away win, ensuring their progression to the League Cup quarter-finals.
Essien played all 90 minutes, touching the ball more times (79) than any of his fellow Chelsea midfielders. His 64 passes was more than any other player in the team, at an accuracy of 91 per cent.
He made just one tackle on the night, but his three interceptions were a team high. Offensively his two shots on goal were off target, although he did create one goalscoring opportunity with his passing.
The 30-year-old certainly proved just how dependable he can be, in doing so showing he can be a key asset for Chelsea in the title hunt, festive fixtures, and crunch time at the end of the season when rotation will be needed even more than usual.
Can he become more than that? Essien will have to himself show a little more, but the more football he plays, the greater the chance he has of getting back to his best.
Here's what Chelsea fans had to say on Twitter about him...
Essien was amazing!!! Good to see yet another big team beat Arsenal!!! #CFC— Benjamin Bell (@benbell98) October 29, 2013
Essien is old but he still out-muscled the young & agile Arsenal midfielders. CLASS IS PERMANENT #CFC— Shoggy Dee (@Shoggy_Dee) October 29, 2013
Mikel and Essien played well together. Covered the back 4 so well in the game just now. #CFC— Johan Ikhlas (@johanikhlas) October 29, 2013
Essien bossed the midfield tonight. Give him another look, Jose. #cfc— Nick Verlaney (@nickverlaney) October 29, 2013
btw.. after today's game i dont dont why Michael Essien gets less number of games than Obi Mikel. He was amazing. #CFC— M.Sarosh Ebrahim (@msarosh) October 29, 2013
Essien who hasn't played all season, did a lot better than Arsenal's regulars #CFC— XMaestre (@mexcon_mike) October 29, 2013
What did you make of Essien's performance and what role can he play between now and the end of the season?
image: © Live4Soccer(L4S)