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Chelsea's Season Could Be Decided on One Thing, Michael Essien

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 08:  Michael Essien of Chelsea celebrates as he scores their first goal during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Chelsea and Apoel Nicosia at Stamford Bridge on December 8, 2009 in London, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
Ieuan BeynonCorrespondent IIIMarch 3, 2010

Cracks are beginning to appear in the Chelsea squad and at the wrong time. With only a couple of months of the season remaining and The Blues still challenging on three fronts they need something to pick them up and quickly.

The John Terry saga looks like it may now be at the end of the cycle. But how long will it take for him to recover mentally?

Then there is left-back problem. With Ashley Cole out until May who will fill the gap. Florent Malouda has been filling in but he is to attack minded. So will it be Ivanovic switching flanks?

But there is a silver lining to this catastrophic month. The return of Michael Essien. The Ghanaian power house is returning after a knee injury.

The team looks so much stronger when he is in the team. He brings a balance that is missing when he is absent.

Jon Obi Mikel is a good young player but he has neither the experience or the ability to fill the gaps left by Frank Lampard's and Michael Ballack's surging forward runs.

With Essien due back this month it gives Chelsea the option to be that bit more attacking as he patrols the midfield area. Will his return coincide with an up turn in fortunes? Who knows but it gives them a better chance of a first title in three years.

With him back in the squad it will let the likes of Belletti and Mikel to be used more sparingly in games that they should be expected to win. I know this sounds harsh on these decent players, but if Chelsea want to win a trophy this season they need the likes of Essien, Lampard and Ballack performing in the middle of the park.

The return of Essien will make or break Chelsea's season. If he's fit unlock the trophy cabinet. If not then keep the keys in your pocket for another year.

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