Soccer News of Sunday, 12 September 2010
Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti has hailed the return to fitness, and form, of midfielder Michael Essien after the Ghanaian scored twice to lead the Blues to a 3-1 win over West Ham at Upton Park.
Essien had an injury-blighted season last term and his brace were his first goals for the Premier League champions since tearing media ligaments in his left knee in January while on international duty with Ghana.
Ancelotti was clearly pleased with what he saw as Essien put in an industrious display that looked as if the powerful midfielder was back to his best with Chelsea now two points clear at the top of the table with a fourth win in succession.
The Italian described the player like a new signing that the club had made this summer, partly in reference to the lack of transfer activity Chelsea were involved in before the window closed at the end of last month.
“I think Essien’s better than a new signing.” said Ancelotti.
“We missed him last season because he’s one of the top midfielders in the world.
“He came back and we’re happy he can maintain this level of play.
“He’s fit now. We have to pay attention because he’s played well in every game so far this season.
“He scored twice today and that’s fantastic. I hope he maintains this position for as long as possible.”
The clash at Upton Park effectively ended after just two minutes when Essien put Chelsea ahead with a header and sealed the win with seven minutes left as the Blues went 3-0 up, before a late goal from the Hammers’ Scott Parker made the scoreline more respectable for Avram Grant’s side. Salomon Kalou netted the other Chelsea goal.
There was some bad news for Ancelotti thought after captain John Terry had to leave the pitch with a rib injury.
“John took a knock on his ribs. We’ll have a look tomorrow and I hope he will be fit to face Zilina on Wednesday.” the Italian suggested.