Michael Essien – The Rise and fall

Powerhouse: Michael ESSIEN

I remember back in 2008 I was sat in a restaurant conversing with a Ghanaian exchange student, who happened to be a Chelsea supporter, about what a world class midfielder Michael Essien was, in fact, I do believe we both agreed that at the time he was probably one of the best all round midfielders in the world. He was Ghanain and a Chelsea fan, so we were both pretty biased, but I know for a fact there wasn’t many football fans that would’ve disagreed with us back then.

Fast-forward four years and a handful of long term injuries later, Michael Essien is the forgotten man. Now this  article’s title may be a little harsh on our powerhouse midfielder, it maybe pre-judgemental to say he has already ‘fallen’ and I really hope that statement becomes true. But most Chelsea fans right now are questioning whether he will even stay at the club this season, let alone get back to the high standards he once showed.

Essien is solid, pure muscle and can pretty much do anything that you’d need a midfielder to do. He played exceptionally well in the holding role, reading the game to high standards, getting tackles in and generally breaking up play. He was equally as good in a more advanced role, using his rocket right foot to blast in goals from all angles. His work rate, energy, determination and pace, made him to be the most admired midfielder in the world. In 2006 Essien was awarded African Footballer of the year and in 2007 smitten Chelsea fans awarded him with Player of the Year. He was also nominated for various other awards such as FIFA World Player of the Year. He is known for his versatility often filling in at right back and in central defence many times for the blues.

‘The good ol days’ putting Ronaldo in his back pocket

So after these injuries plaguing his career, he is now at the ripe age of twenty-nine, not old at all when you look at players like Frank Lampard still doing the business at thirty-four. His loss of form currently has seem him mainly warming the bench for Chelsea and this has to be down to the constant time out of football affecting his speed, stamina, agility and above all, his confidence. Essien is not the player he once was, he looks slow and unfit, so where does he go now? We’ll look at the options for our beloved Chelsea hero.

Move on, resurrect his career elsewhere?
Possibly, it’s certainly an option for him knowing that Chelsea are bringing in fresh new talent this summer, he will not get a lot of game time especially after the season Ramires has just had. I believe the French league could be a good option for him and he could hit form again shining for a lesser team who will build around him.

Stay at Chelsea, battle for his place?
Again, it may back fire and he may not get much game time, but if he’s determined and focused enough, there is a chance he could return to form, you can never write him off and I’d not be surprised if he returned this season stronger, fitter and better than ever before. It is possible but he has to get match fit again before anything else, it’ll be an uphill struggle and could test his character. 
Chelsea still haven’t signed a right back, Essien could play there?
He absolutely could play there, and very affectively as we have seen before. He has the game knowledge, the intelligence and the tackling ability to be a very good right back. But again, this would depend on whether he can re-discover his form.

He could go on loan for a season, get some game time, that might help get his form back?

Yes, it might, IF he stays injury free and regains his confidence. After all, you don’t lose your ability over night. And if Essien did go on loan to somewhere like Stoke City for example, it could help him get back to his best. The downside of this is that Essien will be nearing thirty-one years of age upon his return to Chelsea.
The familiar goal celebration from the mighty Essien

These are all feasible options and I for one hope our most expensive player at the time finds success. Essien is and always will be a hero at Stamford Bridge, it would be sad to see him waste away in the reserves. I do feel that many fans have lost faith in him now, but he is still only twenty-nine, keep positive and maybe some of that positivity might rub off on the respected African unit that is Michael Essien.

KTBFFH till then…..

SYP – 360 Editor
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