How hard will Michael Essien’s absence hit Chelsea’s title bid?
A chart showing Chelsea’s Premier League points per game average with and without Michael Essien in each of his six seasons there…
First-hand experience of cruciate ligament injuries ensures that Spoiler sympathies are well and truly with Michael Essien following confirmation that he will be out for six months as a consequence of yet more knee trouble.
Naturally though, we were also eager to figure out how much worse Chelsea have fared without the popular Ghanaian midfielder over the last six years compared to when he has been at their disposal.
Unsurprisingly, the Blues have had a better points per game average with him in the team in five of his six seasons at the club, however the shock discovery is that the year in which they were weakest without him was the one just gone.
The general view was that it was one of his quietest campaigns since arriving at Stamford Bridge despite making 33 Premier League appearances, and that the form of Ramires helped prevent his few setbacks from being a disaster.
The stats tell a different story though, with the former Lyon man’s five missed matches ending in one Chelsea victory, compared to a shocking three defeats.
Essien wasn’t ruled out of all the big ties either. Just one of the five was against a team that finished in the top-eight, a Liverpool side that was 16th at the time. Even the win was an underwhelming 1-0 success against then-bottom Wigan.
Chelsea without Essien in 2010-11:
Liverpool 2-0 Chelsea
Chelsea 0-3 Sunderland
Birmingham 1-0 Chelsea
Newcastle 1-1 Chelsea
Chelsea 1-0 Wigan
P5 W1 D1 L3 F2 A7 PTS4 PPG0.8
The trend puts pressure on new boss Andre Villas Boas to identify the perfect replacement. Joao Moutinho and Scott Parker have been mentioned as transfer targets, but tell us who you think they should sign below…