John Mikel Obi has set a new milestone in today’s game against Watford as he becomes only the 21st player to make 350 appearances for Chelsea in her 110-year history. Mikel was introduced in the second half for Cesc Fabregas.
The 28-year-old is already well clear as the club’s third-highest overseas appearance maker
‘Personally it is going to be great for me if I can achieve that number,’ Mikel tells the official Chelsea website before the match.
‘I also want to push on and see how many more appearances I can get. For me it has been a great time here, I still enjoy it and ever since I walked into this football club I knew this was the place for me.
‘I am so happy and so proud of the amount of games I have played for this club and at the same time using these games to win trophies and medals. This is the most important thing. For the past 10 years we have helped build the reputation of this club and Chelsea is up there in world football. I am so proud of what I have achieved and I still want to keep going.’
Sixteen of Mikel’s 349 matches so far came during the three months Guus Hiddink was previously in charge. The Nigerian was one of the players frequently selected during that time (Michael Essien and Michael Ballack being others) to form a solid base to midfield that allowed Frank Lampard freedom to form a strong link with restored centre-forward Didier Drogba.
Big matches such as the 0-0 draw in the 2009 Champions League semi-final in Barcelona and the FA Cup final win over Everton rank among Mikel’s best. He is one of the three members of the current squad remaining from that time and he has been training again with Hiddink since Tuesday.