The African midfielder played a significant role in Jose Mourinho’s first tenure as Blues boss, but is now a shadow of his former self.
The Portuguese boss gave the African enforcer his first Premier League start of the season against Southampton on Sunday, but the midfielder did little to repay his coach’s faith.
After a horrific error in the first minute of the Blues’ win, allowing the south coast visitors to take the lead, Essien looked distinctly off the pace and was subsequently substituted at the half-time mark.
Rewind back to Chelsea’s Premier League success in Essien’s first season in west London, 2005-06, and the player was an integral part of Jose Mourinho’s contingent.
The former Lyon man was a driving force in the side’s midfield, with his energy, dynamism and aggression making him one of the best in his position in the country. Similar to the way Yaya Toure dominates a game for Manchester City, Essien was the side’s talisman in the boiler room.
At the moment, Essien at his best is ironically the type of player that could complete the Blues’ massively talented squad.
Mourinho has a host of attacking options at his disposal, while the side’s defence is relatively settled.
In the centre of midfield, there is an over-reliance on Frank Lampard and Ramires, with no real driving force like Toure is and Essien was. A driving box-to-box midfielder would be an excellent signing for the Chelsea squad – someone of Essien’s ilk when he was in his pomp.
Essien’s demise is largely due to age taking its toll and persistent injuries over the years. At his best the Ghana international was an inspiration and a scintillating player to watch. Now, he unfortunately is a fringe player for the Stamford Bridge outfit and his next outing for the first team may well be a fair distance off.
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