Mikel Obi Named As Chelsea’s Youngest Player To Make 100 EPL Appearances
The youngest player to reach a century of Premier League appearances for the Blues was still two months shy of his 23rd birthday when he brought up the milestone in a 2-0 win over Arsenal. That was a familiar theme of the Nigerian midfielder’s time at Chelsea, as we regularly got the better of the Gunners.
He’d arrived in the summer of 2006, shortly after the second of our back-to-back Premier League titles, and although his reputation was as a No10, Blues boss Jose Mourinho considered his attributes better suited to a defensive-midfield role.
That faith was rewarded at various points in his Chelsea career, most notably when he was an understated – outside the dressing room at least – presence in our 2012 Champions League-winning side. But early on in his time in the Premier League, it looked like Mikel’s physical approach would be his undoing.
After starting out with a series of substitute appearances, his first start in the Premier League lasted only 60 minutes before he was sent off against Reading. Midway through his second season at the club, he’d already seen red four times in all competitions, but he soon got to grip with what was required of him, becoming a solid, metronomic midfielder in front of the back four.
Halfway through our Double-winning campaign he reached 100 Premier League appearances – he was only 15 shy of his next century by the time he finally broke his duck in the competition.