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Essien leads Chelsea trio in hunt for monthly prize

Essien: Making great strides

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Fit-again Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien is making great strides in the race to win the first PFA Fans' Premier League player of the month title this season.

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The Chelsea star is back to his brilliant best after a season on the sidelines with a ligament injury, adding goals to his all-round powerful midfield play. Having the big man back must feel like buying a new £20m player.

Whilst Essien, along with the likes of Didier Drogba and Florent Malouda, has been one of the driving forces behind Chelsea's storming, goal-laden start to their Premier League campaign, manager Carlo Ancelotti still wants to treat him with kid gloves.

"We missed him last year. His injury was very bad for us," Ancelotti said after said after Chelsea's latest league victory.

"His contribution was fantastic. We hope he stays fit because he is like a new signing for us...but he needs rest."

Gareth Bale

Another player on the shortlist for player of the month is Gareth Bale, who has started this season where he finished last.

Bale was the outstanding star for Spurs last season, and his qualities on the left hand side of the field where he regularly covers every blade of grass, make him a must-pick for Harry Redknapp every week.

But the Spurs boss is a little concerned about wearing the young Welshman out as he continues to produce such energetic performances.

Redknapp said: "I can't destroy Gareth Bale. He played for his country, then ran a million miles in Germany against Werder Bremen down that left flank."

Dimitar Berbatov

Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov is last but by no means least in our rundown of the current Premier League contenders.

The Bulgarian has started the season like a man possessed, with a hat-trick against Liverpool emphasising the players brilliant start to the campaign.

His six goals puts him at the top of the premier league Golden Boots charts for the current campaign.

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