His strong physique makes him a tough opponent for midfielders but Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson turned him away because of his size.
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The 27-year-old said "I had two trials at Man. United, but I was seen as too small.
"I think Sir Alex was looking for a certain type of player and I wasn't the one then."
The Blues will be looking to keep up their perfect start to the league season as they travel to Eastlands, with the clash against the big spending Citizens being billed as their first real test of the campaign.
Essien has already netted twice in the Premier League this term as they seek to retain their title. He hopes that the trophy will return to London for a second season running so he can further hone his dancing skills.
"Some of the Chelsea players perform African dances after we win a trophy.
"I'd say mine is the best, followed by Didier Drogba's, then John Obi Mikel."
Like all fans making their way to the North West, the midfielder – nicknamed the Bison – will be looking to help illicit a response to their midweek Carling Cup exit at the hands of Newcastle.
And while Carlo Ancelotti's intense training sessions are key to their on-field success, Essien chooses to spend his time off-field indulging a more serene pastime.
"Sleeping is definitely at the top of my list of hobbies.
"I like to relax at home – just chilling out by listening to music."
Despite his love of sleep, he also enjoys sampling London's diverse culture.
"I love the city of London, as there's always something different to do.
"People are friendly here and they've always been good to me – that's what I love about England."
Words by Daniel Jolly
Quotes courtesy of Match of the Day magazine, on sale now.