15 August 2005

Make Room for Essien

Now that Chelsea have finally got their man after a soap-operatic summer of pursuit, the question must be asked... What current midfield man is most in danger of losing his spot?

Essien's natural position is as a central, attack-minded midfielder. This is the role currently occupied by Frank Lampard. Now there's absolutely no chance that Mourinho would chose to sit last season's leading scorer and risk the wrath of Chelsea supporters for whom Lampard is the team's talisman. Makalele's role is nearly exclusively defensive and his contribution to the stingiest back line in the EPL is far too valuable to put at risk. As a left-sided winger and the team's primary creative force, Robben is safe as well I think.

That leaves Duff, the right-sided midfielder and Gudjohnsen, who typically plays a reserved striker role as the most likely sacrifices. Personally, I'd like to see Gudjohnsen get the hook and have Duff (or Joe Cole) placed on the right wing with Essien paired with Lampard in the middle in more of a 4-5-1 formation. Apparently, I'm not alone in my opinion.

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