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Essien eyes March return – could this be the turning point?

Chelsea are still in three competitions this season. With the exception of the Carling Cup – which is the least important of the lot – the team can still end the season with at least one football trophy.

Fair enough, this may be a little bit too optimistic, but it could happen and that’s why I can’t stand any of this crisis talk. I’m pretty sure Luton Town would like to swap their crisis for Chelsea’s wouldn’t they?

However, buying into the thought that Chelsea need to drastically turn around their season, there is one man that could help and his name is Michael Essien. The midfielder hasn’t played since September and it is fair to say that he has been missed.

Guus Hiddink has been given a boost with regards to the Ghanian’s fitness though and it appears that he could return to action next month. If this proves to be the case, it would be such an important moment in Chelsea’s season.

To have Essien back in the team and playing well with three trophies still in reach would be fantastic. In fact, he could prove to be the difference between the end of the season being successful or not. In my opinion, that’s how big a player he is for Chelsea.

Something that proves the significance of Essien is that he has been retained in Chelsea’s Champions League squad despite only playing twice for the club this season. They know that he could play a huge part in the latter stages of the competition and didn’t want to risk not being able to play him.

As for an exact timescale on his return, Essien has revealed that it should ‘not take more than one month’ for him to play again. This means that he could potentially return for the Champions League quarter-finals which take place in April.

Essien’s return could also allow Hiddink to play the 4-4-2 system more naturally, with him operating alongside Frank Lampard in the middle of the midfield. This is much more balanced and could well help Chelsea turn around their ‘crisis’ of a season.

So, the Essien factor could prove crucial towards the end of the season. It is important that Chelsea make the most of his return though and this means beating Juventus in Europe, beating Blackburn or Coventry in the FA Cup and staying in touch with Manchester United in the Premier League.

With this in mind, it seems as though we may have to focus on the Hiddink factor before we can speculate about the affect of a returning Michael Essien.

Still, can’t wait to see him back, can you?

By Thomas Rooney

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