Michael Essien played in the Ghana-Togo friendly, that the Black Stars won 2-0, largely due to the efforts of captain Stephen Appiah. What is suprising is that Essien played with a broken wrist sustained in the Blues loss to Liverpool in the FA Community Shield, a few days ago. A non season ending injury but one that could get worse as the season progresses with the number of collisions. A micro-managing coach like Jose Mourinho so concerned about the health of his players that he sat Claude Makelele and Joe Cole out, means one thing, these two are more important to Mourinho's scheme. It was a friendly that Ghana played, not a qualifying match for the Africa Cup or World Cup! Adebayor did not even show up for this match for Togo. Mourinho wants his boys sharp for the Premiership by letting an injured player play a friendly! Would you do that if you were serious about your player? It is because you have a wealth of riches.
Lets face it. Chelsea has Michael Ballack, Claude Makelele, and now Obi John Mikel, who can all play holding midfielder. Claude Makelele is the one holding anchor essential to Mourinho, so he won't see time on the bench. Frank Lampard and Arjen Robben, will be right behind Drogba and Shevchenko, to provide the ammo. You can see Mourinho's need for speed. Consider this, Mourinho has jettisoned players of the caliber of Duff, Crespo, Del Horno, Gudjohnsen, and Jarosik all in one season. Players that would be considered indispensable to other clubs. If Mourinho rethinks his 4-5-1 to a 4-4-2, to accomodate both Sheva and Drogba, then Essien's chances at first team virtually become nil.
Either way, Michael Essien will have to be prepared to spend a lot more time on the bench than the four games last season. It depends on how much he is willing to put up as a utility player. I think he is far too good for that and he should be reading rightly that he is less essential to Mourinho. I think the Magpies would love to have him.