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23.03.2009 Football News

Feature: If Scolari Essien fit, would he still be boss of Chelsea?

Michael Essien's timely return to fitness and form could well be the defining factor in the remainder of Chelsea's season.

With the Ghanaian international back, the Blues have been unrecognisable to the team that were struggling for form under Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Unlike the Brazilian, new boss Guus Hiddink has been able to bring the best out of certain players who had previously been horribly underperforming (Drogba anyone?).

However, the return of Essien, nicknamed 'Bison' by his teammates due to his immense strength, will be seen by many pundits more far more important to Chelsea than the Ivorian striker's recent upturn in form.

Still just 26, Essien's pace, power and an exceptional all round intelligence along with an eye for the killer pass and the ability to pop up with the odd crucial goal, has made him one of the most complete midfielders in world football.

He is disciplined yet knows when to get forward to make crucial contributions to the game - just think of his goals against Manchester City and against Juventus in the Champions League.

However, all these attributes were sorely missed due to the knee injury he picked up earlier in the season, and six months without the powerful Ghanaian has taken its toll on Chelsea's league position.

Despite John Obi Mikel doing a more than adequate job for Scolari, he doesn't pose Essien's tenacity and drive.

Even if the Premier League proves too big an ask for Chelsea this season the return of their most dynamic player could yet spur them on to glory in the FA Cup and then the Champions League.

But try telling this to big Phil, who can only sit and wonder what might have been.

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