Where are they now? Chelsea’s 2007 FA Cup winners
Chelsea started the 2007 FA Cup Final with three defensive midfielders in their team – but only two got to play in their familiar roles.
With Ricardo Carvalho out and no other qualified centre-backs to call upon, Essien got the nod
The odd man out was Essien, who partnered John Terry for the day at centre-back. After a long campaign that featured Chelsea playing 63 matches in all competitions before their Wembley visit, Mourinho’s team was running on fumes.
Despite having Roman Abramovich’s vast wealth to fall back upon, the squad became a patchwork quilt in the final few weeks. With Ricardo Carvalho out and no other qualified centre-backs to call upon, Essien got the nod.
He clearly impressed his manager, as the Ghanaian would later be used as a right-back in his Chelsea career too.
Essien has been seen back at Chelsea this season, training with the development squads after spells with Real Madrid, Milan and Panathinaikos.
Of those 64 games Chelsea would eventually play in 2006/07, Terry featured in 45 of them. Not bad for a player who struggled with injuries at times and missed two months of action from December to February with back trouble.
If we’re looking for a match that typifies his influence at Chelsea, games like this one sum him up
This was peak JT at Wembley, as he marshalled the threat of Wayne Rooney through the middle while guiding the inexperienced Essien through his defensive responsibilities in a major cup final.
We’ve heard it said so often about Terry and Chelsea, but if we’re looking for a match that typifies his influence at Chelsea, games like this one sum him up. The Blues’ victory was all about grit and determination; they had to dig in and grind it out.
It’s what Terry had to do throughout his career. He’s still doing it now, aged 36 and captaining Chelsea into his 20th season as a player with the club.