John Obi Mikel currently holds one of the holding roles in the Chelsea first team alongside Ramires, but there is a good argument to suggest that Michael Essien should be getting more of a chance in Jose Mourinho’s first team.
For a player who has made only four appearances for Chelsea so far this season, Essien looked sharp and decisive as he took control of central midfield linking up the defence and the attack well.
He appears to be a much more proactive player than Mikel, who is quite content to sit in front of the back four and do his job of protecting the central defenders throughout a game.
At the moment, the Chelsea machine isn’t broken so it doesn’t need to be fixed.
Unfortunately, there are no stats for Essien to compare against Mikel because he’s not made a single Premier League appearance yet so far this season, but the biggest positive for Chelsea was how comfortable they looked playing alongside each other.
Essien’s experience of playing top flight European football is valuable to Chelsea and it means Mourinho doesn’t have to be afraid of throwing him in at the deep end if Chelsea start suffering a few injuries to key midfield players.
Maybe the idea of one playing ahead of the other shouldn’t be the priority but the idea that they should be playing together.
Several Chelsea fans tweeted on Twitter last night about how solid the midfield looked with the two of them complimenting each other well against the likes of Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla, hardly second rate players.
Mata getting the plaudits but Nigeria/Ghana combination of Mikel Obi & Essien were superb. Overpowered Ramsey & Wilshere in midfield. #CFC— John Bennett (@JohnBennettBBC) October 29, 2013
Chelsea have enough attacking flair to surround a combination of Mikel and Essien in the heart of the midfield, allowing them to do what they do best before moving the ball on quickly to those attacking players.
So Mourinho has three choices; use Mikel, use Essien or use them both and there is a good case for each, but the impressive way they protected the defence last night suggests the latter could be the way forward.
image: © Live4Soccer(L4S)