Video of Essien's comeback goal scored against Crystal Palace
Michael Essien will play his first Chelsea game of 2010 at Crystal Palace tomorrow (Saturday).
That is the big news from Carlo Ancelotti ahead of the first pre-season friendly of the summer. The Ghanaian has been out with a knee problem since the Africa Cup of Nations and worked through the summer at Cobham on his rehabilitation having been ruled out of the World Cup.
'It is six months out and I think that he will be excited to play tomorrow,' acknowledges Ancelotti, speaking to the Official Chelsea Website about the game.
'Essien will start tomorrow, maybe for 45 to 60 minutes. I don't want to use players for all 90 minutes. It is the first game so we don't want to take a risk to put players out for 90 minutes.'
In the first pre-season game in Seattle a year ago the Chelsea manager used 20 outfield players over the course of the match and he indicates it will be a similar case at Palace, although his options are reduced by four injuries.
If you can't make it to Palace for the 3pm kick-off, exclusive live coverage is available on Chelsea TV from 2.30pm with the first half-hour free to all Sky subscribers.
ESSIEN " Things Are Looking Good For me "
Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien has expressed his delight at making a goalscoring return to action in the pre-season 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.
The Ghana international missed the second half of last season with a knee injury, a blow that also ended his World Cup dream.
However, Essien has been back in full training and made a long-awaited comeback in Saturday's 1-0 friendly success at Selhurst Park.
Essien bagged the winner for Chelsea, who were without a host of first-team regulars, with a left-foot shot from the edge of the area on the hour mark.
"It feels good, it's been a long time but I am back in full training now, everything is good and there is no reaction from the training, so things are looking good for me," Essien told the club's official website.
"I didn't have any holidays because of my rehab, but it will be good to start up again and I am looking forward to the rest of the boys coming back as well.
"I'd love to have been there playing at the end of the season, it wasn't easy for me but I supported my team-mates to win their matches, that's all I could do.
"I became a supporter and to end the season with two trophies was amazing and I was enjoying it like everyone even though I didn't play the whole season."
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