San Siro giants Milan have a potential loan bid for Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien in mind this January. Several news agencies in Italy including La Gazzetta Dello Sport have confirmed it today that the Rossoneri are ready to offer escape to Essien who is finding it hard to get the playing time at Stamford Bridge. The Rossoneri are expected to act during this transfer window to try and improve their options in the middle of the park and are believed in reports today as interested in Essien. In 2005, Chelsea fought off stiff competition from Manchester United to pay £24.4 million for a Ghanaian central midfield with a fine reputation after some outstanding performances for Lyon – but few could have predicted just how crucial Essien would become for the Blues. In his prime, Essien was a commanding figure in the middle of the park – a fearsome tackler but also able to drive the team forward with powerful runs. He has also shown […]

With a host of players, purchased or promoted to first-team action, Chelsea FC can now look at fielding a variety of different midfield formations. Gone are the days when Lampard, Ballack and Essien virtually pencilled their own names into the starting line-up. Now, with a little bit of imagination, common-sense and a dash of adventure thrown in, Chelsea's midfield can morph into a multitude of forms.

In the absence of DJ Campbell and Charlie Adam, Blackpool will find it difficult to play as they did against Tottenham or even Man United. Nevertheless, the Blues will take their opponents seriously and will try to consolidate their position in the top-four. TheHardTackle presents a comprehensive preview of the match, which will see Chelsea's 4-4-2 take on 4-3-3 of Blackpool.