Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Chelsea Need to Improve Their 'Train' Service to Get Title Hopes Back on Track

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Chelsea Need to Improve Their 'Train' Service to Get Title Hopes Back on Track

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon Johnson

EVER since Chelsea secured the [pounds sterling]50million signing of Fernando Torres last Monday, the club have made sure every fan is aware that his No9 shirt is the new must-have buy.

They are promoting it everywhere, from the match-day programme to the official shop and the hoardings inside the stadium.

One wonders, though, whether Chelsea will soon start using these same facilities to put out a missing person's ad because a powerful Michael Essien (below) has not been seen in the midfield for months.

There were many problems highlighted by Liverpool's strong performance yesterday, including the worrying demise of one of Chelsea's most influential players.

One of his nicknames is 'The Train' due to his speed and strength, however he appears to be running a reduced service like much of London's Underground system at weekends and is in dire need of some engineering works.

Essien is no stranger to disruption in recent seasons, major knee injuries have kept him in the sidings for a considerable length of time.

In the 2008-09 campaign, he was ruled out for six months with a cruciate ligament injury and last term he sat out another five months due to a medial ligament problem.

It was always going to be a test to see how well he could bounce back from suffering another significant injury so soon after the first.

The strange thing is the Ghana international began this season as if he had never been away, scoring three League goals early on and dominating in midfield as usual.

Maybe it was just the adrenaline of returning to action in a blue shirt, however, because too often recently he has looked a pale imitation of the player he once was.

The effort is still there but the strength and speed are not and it is vital coach Carlo Ancelotti helps him find it again or Torres will continue to struggle to make his mark. Ancelotti clearly sees the diamond midfield system, with Nicolas Anelka playing behind Didier Drogba and Torres, as the best way to incorporate all the attacking elements in his team. …

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