Part of the reason that Chelsea have fallen short in the title race this year could be that Joe Cole hasn’t played a game for the club since the FA Cup win at Southend back in January.
The midfielder is suffering with a long-term knee problem and it is a safe football bet that he has been missed. Anyone with Cole’s creativity, skill, flair, goal scoring ability, work ethic and enthusiasm would be missed for one game let alone half a season.
Who is to say how many more points Chelsea would have picked up this season had Cole been available? Perhaps he would have won the game with a moment of magic during the 0-0 draws with Everton or Hull at Stamford Bridge?
It is, of course, too difficult to say how different things would have been. However, Cole would have given Chelsea something extra and there is no doubt this could have resulted in a few more points.
This season has gone though in terms of a title challenge, so Chelsea now need to start thinking about next year’s Premier League campaign. This is the way Cole is going about things anyway. The England man has vowed to come back next season ‘stronger’ than ever before.
Speaking about his injury, Cole revealed how he ‘comes in everyday’ to see the physiotherapists and ‘do what they say’ with maximum effort. He is clearly determined to put this knee problem behind him and start afresh next season.
The 27-year-old went on to say that he ‘played through the pain’ at the beginning of last season due to the fact that he ‘came back too soon’ after suffering an ankle injury.
Other little niggles then occurred and eventually the long-term knee problem propped up again. This time, Cole has vowed to only come back ‘when ready’ as returning too quickly resulted in him missing half of the current campaign.
Hopefully, if Cole can continue his hard work with the physios, there is every chance he could be back for the beginning of next season. To get some sort of pre-season in would be a bonus.
The most important thing is that Cole gets back to his best though and he won’t be able to do this if he rushes his comeback. Chelsea need players like him to be on top of their game because he can be one of the most influential and creative midfielders in the Premier League.
Take your time Joe and get yourself 100% fit. Everyone at Chelsea will be waiting with open arms.
By Thomas Rooney