Chelsea's Cole: Essien absence hurt title chances
Essien has made a stunning return to action after spending almost seven months on the sidelines with a knee ligament injury, scoring in each of his last two matches and giving the Blues a new dimension in midfield.
Cole said: "Essien would have made a difference.
"What we've missed is that little bit of pace in the midfield this year. Any team would miss him because he's our engine room."