For the most part, unsung and largely unnoticed at Chelsea. Simply outstanding for Ghana against high quality opposition (Italy) yesterday. Continually in the action, absolutely everywhere, superb fitness levels, great tackler, decent passer, suspect temperament.

Essien is the tailor-made replacement for Roy Keane. United fans can only hope Ballack’s arrival puts Essien on the bench or in the reserves and that he won’t just sit there and take the money (cf. SWP).