Featured Matches
Previous
Internazionale
Manchester United
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Real Madrid
AS Roma
1:15 AM GMT
Game Details
Recreativo Huelva
Sunderland
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sparta Prague
Malmo FF
5:30 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Sparta Prague
Malmo FF
5:30 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Slovan Bratislava
Sheriff Tiraspol
6:15 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Debrecen
BATE Borisov
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Wealdstone
Wycombe Wanderers
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Frickley Athletic
Scunthorpe XI
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Exeter City
Swansea City
6:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Alfreton Town
Rotherham United
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Burton Albion
Derby County
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Lincoln City
Mansfield Town
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Newport County
Coventry City
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Notts County
Birmingham City
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Portsmouth
AFC Bournemouth
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Stevenage
Reading
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Altrincham
Accrington Stanley
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Cambridge United
Milton Keynes Dons
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Cheltenham Town
Bristol City
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Concord Rangers
Dagenham & Redbridge
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Dumbarton
Carlisle United
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Hyde
Burnley XI
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Kidderminster Harriers
Shrewsbury Town
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Leyton Orient
Queens Park Rangers
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Luton Town
Colchester United
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Margate
Barnet
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Oxford United
Wolverhampton Wanderers
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Preston North End
Burnley
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Sheffield United
Huddersfield Town
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Southend United
Ipswich Town
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Recreativo Huelva
Sunderland
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Valerenga
Stabaek
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Defensor Sporting
Nacional
12:15 AM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 2
Game Details
Náutico
Icasa
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Portuguesa de Desportos
Oeste
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Internazionale
Manchester United
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Real Madrid
AS Roma
1:15 AM GMT
Game Details
Cienciano del Cusco
Alianza Lima
8:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Next
 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul 22, 2006

Essien welcomes fight for places at Chelsea

Michael Essien insists he is unconcerned by the competition for places in Chelsea's midfield.

Essien was a regular in the Chelsea line-up last season but he could be squeezed out by the arrival of Germany captain Michael Ballack.

Jose Mourinho wants to use Ballack and Frank Lampard in tandem and will not drop anchorman Claude Makelele, leaving no space for Essien in the Chelsea manager's preferred three-man midfield.

If reports that Mourinho will switch to a 4-4-2 formation in order to accommodate Andriy Shevchenko and Didier Drogba prove correct, Essien may find first-team opportunities even more limited.

The change would bring attacking players Joe Cole, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Arjen Robben into the midfield equation.

Essien said: 'There will be more competition but it's up to us to work harder in training and to let the boss decide who will play.

'I'm not worried about the situation - I'm happy we have so many top-class players.

'As a young player I can only improve when I work with people like Ballack. He's a good player and there is more to come from me at Chelsea.'

Essien, a £24.4million signing from Lyon, was criticised in some quarters for his physical style last season.

His foul tackle on Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann during the Champions League goalless draw at Stamford Bridge in December landed him a two-match ban from UEFA.

Another fearsome challenge on Bolton's Tal Ben Haim was followed by an elbow on Arsenal full-back Lauren as Essien began to establish an unwanted reputation.

But the 23-year-old Ghanaian international believes the criticism was undeserved.

He said: 'I don't think I deserved to have my style looked at last year but it's forgotten. Hopefully this season will be different.'

Chelsea have paved the way for Ashley Cole's arrival at Stamford Bridge by allowing Asier Del Horno to join Valencia.

The Blues have agreed a fee - thought to be £4.8million - for Del Horno who has travelled to the Primera Liga club to thrash out personal terms.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.