Mikel Obi has been one of the most important pieces to the Chelsea revival after Jose Mourinho was sacked in December.
The number, in unbeaten games, under Guus Hiddink, now stands at 26, with dramatic escapes from the jaw of defeat against Manchester United – the latest where Chelsea eked out a draw in the face of apparent defeat with the Nigerian on the pitch.
Having been a mere bystander in the months leading to the popular Portuguese’s sack, the Nigerian midfielder has been one of the consistent performers for the Blues since Hiddink started his second stanza at the London club.
Today in Paris, Mikel would be putting out that record of Chelsea not losing any match under the Dutch manager with him on the pitch.
Hiddink said of the Nigerian after a 3-0 away to Crystal Palace, “He reads the game very well, he knows where the strength of the opponent is and knows how to combat that. He has very good sense, he doesn’t do it in a brutal way, he’s very elegant. Someone who can defend so smoothly is very beautiful.”
Mikel will have to be at his most beautiful when Chelsea face off against PSG, with the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edison Cavan and Angel di Maria in full flow.
In the first spell under Hiddink in the 2008/09 season, Mikel played a total of 17 games with Chelsea winning 14 and drawing three.
The only game that Hiddink has lost at Chelsea has been against Tottenham in 2009 with Mikel absent due to injury.
Before Tuesday’s confrontation with PSG in Paris, Mikel had only played 69 minutes, over two Champions League matches under Mourinho.
If Hiddink gives Mikel a full shift against the Parisians, he will be hoping that the Nigerian poses a good omen for coming out of the Parc des Princes unscathed.