Mikel John Obi's ability in the holding role and Michael Ballack's departure have allowed Essien to play further forward and he is revelling in the task.
"I really enjoy playing on the right side," he said. "I think I attacked the ball really well and I managed to get two goals from it. It gives me more freedom to go forward and come back and defend and I really enjoy it. It has been a long wait for me and I had to do a lot of work to get fit but that is all over. There are no pains in the knees and I am really happy to be back and enjoying my football."