Chelsea Mikel Obi: from a red card villain into crucial component

By goal post
In Chelsea
Jan 7th, 2014
Picture perfect: Mikel rose to meet Willian's free kick and headed it home with panache

Picture perfect: Mikel rose to meet Willian’s free kick and headed it home with panache

Everybody was surprised when Michael Essien handed the captain’s armband to John Obi Mikel on Sunday.

Even Jose Mourinho admitted after the game that by right Ashley Cole should have received it when the Ghanaian was substituted.

But Mikel and Cole were both signed by Mourinho in July 2006 and it’s clear that the former, rather than the latter, will play the more crucial part in a Chelsea title bid.

During the past seven-and-a-half years, since signing as a 19-year-old, Mikel has matured immensely.

He’s 26 at the moment – 27 in April – and approaching the peak of his career.

Everybody was even more surprised, on Sunday, when Mikel scored; his header was only his fourth Chelsea goal, arriving in his 300th game.

Mikel is the fourth non-British player to reach that total for Chelsea, behind undisputed club legends Petr Cech (459 appearances), Didier Drogba (341) and Gianfranco Zola (312). Read more