LOOKING BACK: NO 5 AND 6

Posted on: Tue 19 Jun 2012

MICHAEL ESSIEN
Unfortunately for Michael Essien, the 2011/12 campaign was another which was blighted by injury.

The Ghanaian injured his knee during the first day of pre-season, ruling him out of the first half of the campaign and, in truth, he struggled to recover from what was a major setback given his previous problems.

He made his return as a substitute in the 1-0 win at home to Sunderland back in January, receiving a wonderful reception from the supporters, but while he was always involved with the squad from that point onwards, regular starts proved hard to come by.

The impressive form shown by John Mikel Obi under the guidance of Roberto Di Matteo ensured Essien would need to get back to his best in order to force his way back in, and with both Frank Lampard and Raul Meireles also ahead of him in the pecking order, he found himself on the fringes for large spells.

As the season drew to a close, he started the away games at both Arsenal and Liverpool, but while his performance at the Emirates was solid, he, like most of the team, was disappointing at Anfield as we slumped to a 4-1 defeat.

Appearances: 11+8
Assists: 1
Minutes on pitch: 1,163

ORIOL ROMEU
The young Spanish midfielder was signed in August and made his debut as a late substitute in the 2-1 away win at Sunderland in September.

He played his first full 90 minutes for the club soon after in the Carling Cup win over Fulham and, as a technically-sound holding player, immediately caught the eye.

A string of impressive performances saw Oriol Romeu establish himself as a regular around the Christmas period, with a particularly outstanding showing in the draw at White Hart Lane, when he came on for the injured Mikel.

However, after struggling in the 3-1 home defeat to Aston Villa at the end of December, Romeu found himself sidelined, while an injury curtailed his involvement even further.

Much like Essien, he was used more often towards the end of the campaign when squad rotation became imperative, but while he will be content with how his first season at the club panned out, there is little doubt he will feel he has a lot more to offer looking further ahead.

Appearances: 17+7
Assists: 1
Minutes on pitch: 1,672