Essien to replace van Ginkel in Europe

Ben Hoskins

Chelsea don't have to worry about getting to the knockout rounds of the Champions League. Like the other English sides bar Arsenal (who merely have to avoid losing 3-0 to Rafa Benitez's Napoli to make it through), the Blues have secured passage from the group stages with a game to spare. Now the real concern is navigating those group stages, and given performances like we saw in Basel, observers are right to be skeptical about their ability to do that.

Part of the problem on Tuesday was the inability to rotate the midfield. Jose Mourinho opted for a 4-3-3, and he had three midfielders available -- the same trio who played three days before at Upton Park. They were duly overrun by Basel. In truth, there wasn't much choice in who he played centrally. It's probably the most demanding position on the pitch, but the Blues only had four players registered there, and one of them is out with a long-term injury.

At least one small step will be made to rectify that problem come the new year:

I will change Marco van Ginkel with Essien in the Champions League squad list. We are going to try to find balances. Our squad is our squad. Instead of thinking about the market, we will think about trying to work and trying to improve the team

-Source: ChelseaFC.com.

This isn't a major change, of course (and it would be much better if we just had van Ginkel back!) but having a functional midfielder we can spell the rest with means less chance of playing with an utterly exhausted core. I don't think Michael Essien's inclusion is enough, but it's something. Having him registered would have helped this week, at least.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join We Ain't Got No History

You must be a member of We Ain't Got No History to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at We Ain't Got No History. You should read them.

Join We Ain't Got No History

You must be a member of We Ain't Got No History to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at We Ain't Got No History. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9353_tracker