Michael Essien

Name: Michael Essien
Nationality: Ghanaian
Position: Midfielder
Former Clubs: Lyon, Bastia
D.O.B: 03/12/1982
Squad Number: 5

Ex Chelsea boss, Jose Mouriniho used the word “multifunctional” when Essien was signed from Lyon in August 2005. The reported £24.4 million price tag for the transfer reflected the star’s versatility. His favoured position is centre-midfield, but over the years Essien has been comfortable in slotting in at right-back as well as at the centre of defence.

Essien struggled at the start of his time in the Premier League as referees penalised his hard-tackling. However, he wasn’t too long in settling in and his good performances were reflected when he was voted supporters Player of the Year in 2007. Michael won this award due to not only his steam-train performances in the middle of the park, but also due to his versatility in being able to fill in virtually any position if needed. Examples of his versatility come no clearer than him playing centre defence in the 2007 FA Cup final, in which Chelsea recorded a clean sheet, and then a year later being picked to play at right-back in the Champions League final in front of two players who are naturally specialists in the position.

Memorable goals are part of the Essien story at Chelsea. His equaliser against Arsenal in December 2006 was voted Chelsea Goal of the Season and was nearly matched by a charge forward and angled drive in Valencia that sent the Blues into the 2007 Champions League semi-final. Then came the 25-yard left-footed volley that almost eliminated Barcelona from Europe in 2009 before they went on to win the trophy beating Manchester United 2-0 in the final in Rome.

Whilst playing for Ghana in the 2009/10 season Essien picked up an injury which ruled him out for the first couple of months of the season. He returned to the side and started to hit some form. He then scored in the clubs match against Apoel in the Champions League before tearing his hamstring. The injury kept him out until January when he faced further problems. The midfield represented Ghana for 45 minutes before then breaking down in training with yet another knee problem which ruled him out of the World Cup along with Chelsea’s double winning success.

His best season was the 2010/11 campaign. Representing The Blues 33 times that year took him past the 200 overall appearances for the club. On the first day of pre-season training under new boss Andre Villas Boas disaster struck again for Essien. Another knee injury occurred which is expected to keep him out for the first half of the season.

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