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Michael Essien Suffers Injury Setback, Won't Return Until Mid-January

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But I wanna play!
But I wanna play!

Here is my impression of a fickle and cruel universe: Do you love Michael Essien? Do you want him back sooner than later? He could make galloping runs, superb tackles, sling passes back and forth to open up the opposition defence, stroll around with a smile on his face and make Stamford Bridge that much happier a place. Would you like that? Wouldn't it be great? Well too bad, because you can't have him back. Hahahaha I am evil and exist to make you suffer.

So yeah. No Michael Essien at the end of December, like we were promised when told he was progressing ahead of schedule. The Ghana midfielder is back in training with Chelsea, according to plenty of pictorial evidence from Cobham, but Andre Villas-Boas has confirmed in a press conference that we won't be seeing the Bison until mid-January, and that he will not be going to the Africa Cup of Nations:

We're looking at mid-January, that's the best we can think about.There was a setback at the beginning of December if I'm not wrong which took him back 10 days and that's extended into January, so I don't think he will go to the African Cup of Nations.

-Source: ChelseaFC.com.

This is the first I've heard of any sort of setback to Essien, but although it's entirely possible that Villas-Boas is just moving to cut off Ghana's hopes of taking their finest player to the Africa Cup of Nations, I'm inclined to take Chelsea at their word. It sucks for those of us who've been waiting for Essien to return from that knee injury, which he picked up just as this season's training began, but we've waited months now. What's another couple of weeks?