109 touches, 87 passes: Plenty of fight in Chelsea's old boy!

Essien Training

Despite missing out on the Man of the Match award, Michael Essien produced a fruitful performance that proves that he still has plenty left in the tank!

Chelsea were made to sweat for their win against relegation candidates Crystal Palace in the game at Stamford Bridge yesterday. Goals from scrutinised striker Fernando Torres and Brazilian work-horse Ramires was enough to see off Marouane Chamakh's first half strike in a 2-1 win.

Although the result looks unconvincing, the statistics paint the picture that the West London side were the most dominant Premier League side on the day. Mourinho's men retained 70% possession, notched up 638 passes and had 16 shots on goal, whilst Palace could manage 279 passes and 10 opportunities. 

The talk at the end of the match was aimed towards the Brazilian Willian, who produced a fine performance and showed real personal growth within his role at Chelsea. As each game goes by, he looks more and more likely to become a big signing for them, and I expect to see more of him in the second half of the season.

My particular interest was in Chelsea oldboy Michael Essien. He produced a brilliantly energetic performance, and amazingly had 109 touches of the ball. To put that into perspective, the two Palace players to make the most touches through-out the game were Joel Ward and Jason Puncheon, both with 55. So unbelievably, Essien managed to be as busy on the ball as the two highest Palace players put together. A great credit, to a great player.

He showed that even in his old-age he still uses the ball well, and passed everyone else off the park with a total of 87, again in perspective Palace highest recorded player notched 32, so he nearly tripled it and had a pass accuracy of 93%.

He attempted 10 long-balls, with nine finding their target and also managed five successful dribbles, the most out of any player, which is remarkable for a player in the same team as Willian, Hazard and Mata.

It's no secret that Mourinho still has a lot of faith in the 31-year-old that masterminded a lot of Chelsea's success that won them Premier League titles and even had him on loan at Madrid last season, when his career all but looked over at Chelsea.

It will be good to see more of Essien, in my eyes he is a true Premier League great!

image: © Live4Soccer(L4S)

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