Essien in running to face Spurs

Scans showed he suffered only a minor tendon problem in Saturday’s

victory over West Ham. Essien had to be helped from the field

shortly before the hour mark of the Blues’ 3-0 derby win at

Stamford Bridge after pulling up with what appeared to be a left

knee injury. That immediately caused concern, with the midfielder

having missed significant parts of the past two seasons with

cartilage and ligament problems in both knees. Manager Carlo

Ancelotti attempted to play down fears of a recurrence of those

issues after the game, describing the injury as “muscle” related.

Scans on Tuesday showed the problem actually was with a tendon but

the 28-year-old escaped any serious damage and will be monitored

ahead of Saturday evening’s Spurs match. Chelsea said in a

statement on their official website: “Michael had a minor problem

with a tendon above his knee during the West Ham game and came off

as a precaution. “Scans show no significant issues in that area.

“We will look at him over the course of this week with regards to

availability for the weekend.” The loss of Essien for the final

four games of the season would have been a blow to Chelsea’s slim

hopes of retaining the Premier League title. The midfielder had

begun to rediscover his form after Ancelotti restored the Blues’

three-man midfield with John Obi Mikel in the anchor role, allowing

Essien to get further forward. Should the Ghanaian fail to recover

in time for this weekend, his place could be taken by Ramires, who

had been expected to return after two and a half weeks out with a

hamstring injury. Fellow Brazilian Alex was also due to be be

available on Saturday having also tweaked a hamstring in Chelsea’s

Champions League defeat at Manchester United. That was the

defender’s first start for four and a half months following knee

surgery and he is desperate to play a part in helping the champions

try to complete the greatest comeback in Premier League title

history. “What we have to do is win every game until the end –

that’s something we are in control of,” Alex told Chelsea’s

official matchday programme. “Sometimes, you need luck as well so,

if we do win all our matches, we then need Manchester United to

make mistakes. “And we have the game against Man United at Old

Trafford, so hopefully that will be one of their mistakes! “This

has been a difficult season, but we have to keep our focus on these

last few games and you never know what is going to happen. “It

could turn into a very good season and we could be champions

again.” Alex knows he has a fight on his hands to get back into the

team after Chelsea splashed out £25million on his Brazil

team-mate David Luiz during the January transfer window. He said:

“Sometimes, it’s difficult for the coach to have so many players to

choose from, but it’s also nice for him to have this problem. “He

always has the option to have a strong defence and, even though

it’s difficult for the players who miss out, we all understand the

situation. Everyone wants to play every game, but it’s no problem.

“I like this club and I’m very happy to be at Chelsea. “I feel like

one of the experienced players now. “Soon, I will have been here

for four years and I’m 28, so there is still more to come. “I want

to stay here for as long as my contract has to run. Then I can

complete the 200 appearances… maybe 300 or even 400. But 500? I

think that’s going to be difficult.”