Chelsea to look to McEachran in the absence of the injured Michael Essien?

Chelsea received a setback recently with the news that Michael Essien is likely to face up to six months on the sidelines with another knee injury, with rehabilitation from an operation in full swing. With the latest ailment the third of it’s kind during the Ghanian’s tenure at Stamford Bridge, it may well be wise for Andre Villas Boas to formulate a long-term midfield plan without the 28-year-old in his thoughts.

No doubt, when Essien is fit and raring to go he is one of the most dynamic and explosive players in his position in the country. Despite this, long layoffs and a drop in confidence and form mean that the ex-Lyon midfielder has a lot of work to do to rediscover his former self.

The Portuguese manager has stated that The Blues will play 4-3-3 in 2011-12, with a trio of Frank Lampard, Ramires and Essien most likely in mind. With Ghanian not available, Jon Obi Mikel may step in and play in the middle, but what are the other  options without Essien in the team?

Much has been made of the lack of activity in the transfer window to date, but it is likely that the Chelsea faithful will see arrivals to the club before August 31st. The high profile pursuit of Luka Modric has yet to reach a conclusion, with the football odds on whether he will leave Spurs inconclusive, whilst AVB is thought to be keen to add Porto’s Joao Moutinho to the squad. Both, as good players as they are, are more attacking minded and would complement a midfield with Lampard and Essien, with the new man being the playmaker. Without the Accra born holding player, a box-to-box player is needed; someone who can win the ball as well as distribute it. Oriol Romeu is on the verge of signing from Barcelona B, but will take time to adapt to the English game and settle into his new environment.

Enter Josh McEachran. The 18-year-old impressed in his fleeting first team appearances in 2010-11, and the Young Player of the Year is likely to feature in more than the nine games he saw last term. The England under-21 international has great vision and passing abilities, maybe not yet up to the standard of Modric or Moutinho, but the promise is there.

Ideally the Oxford born man would prefer to play in a more attacking role, looking to supply the forwards and get into the opposition box. However Carlo Ancelotti seemed to use the youngster as a replacement for Essien or Mikel last season, and he looked more than comfortable in a deeper role. With enthusiasm and energy to burn, McEacran will not be scared to go toe-to-toe with opponents on a weekly basis, and although still maturing, can read the game well, allowing him to break up opposition play.

Chelsea do need another established central midfielder at the club, and it is likely that Roman Abramovich’s money will be spent to achieve this. However expect to see Josh McEachran playing a more important role in the team in 2011-12, as his talents continue to blossom at the Cobham training grounds.

Gareth McKnight is a columnist at the football blog

3 Responses to “Chelsea to look to McEachran in the absence of the injured Michael Essien?”

  1. Wouldn’t mind Josh getting a few games, he shown that he’s not afraid of playing with the big guns. Would help my fantasy team as well…could end up being a bargain.

  2. The way media define Essien‘s role in current Chelsea squad is quiet displeasing. While i can‘t down write his contributions in his first two seasons, essien has been a sharp contrast of his real self. He has lost pace and power. Poor passes, goal drought and rough tackles are the characteristics of his current game. Every game of last season, essien‘s peformance has been at decline, yet the media will rate him far about his under average performance. I love his personality as a person, but in all honesty, essien does not deserve a place any longer in chelsea‘s first team. We must tell ourselves the truth and clear out dungs to move forward. Lampard, drogba, anelka, essien and feriera; if remain at Chelsea should play minor roles because their great days are behind them. God bless Chelsea!

  3. That guy Josh deserved 2 be in d first team like Arsenal Jack Wilshere afta he has already show wat he can do.