On Sunday, both he and the sunshine made a welcome return to west London.
The Ghanaian scored the only goal as Guus Hiddink's side secured their fourth successive league win, completing the double over Mark Hughes's Manchester City in unseasonable warmth. Essien was full of energy, storming up and down the pitch as Chelsea controlled the game from the off.
It only took 18 minutes for the hosts to take the lead thanks to a spot of genius and a dose of luck.Frank Lampard's clever free kick was played low and quick to Essien, who was in acres of space on the edge of the penalty area.The Ghanaian's shot ballooned off his shin and beyond the stranded Shay Given.
Hiddink's men were impressive, looking assured in defence and stroking the ball around well.
The second half continued in the same vein and the home side could have doubled their lead in the opening minutes when Didier Drogba was denied by a fantastic saving tackle by Nedum Onouha and then a typical reflex save from Given.
They came close to doubling their lead once again in the 63rd minute when Michael Ballack thundered a shot against the post.
The away side lacked any urgency and never really went in search of an equaliser. They seemed happy enough with the scoreline while Chelsea breezed about the pitch, passing the ball with ease, but failed to find that elusive second goal.
Hughes and the City fans will be left frustrated by another poor performance from Robinho. The Brazilian cast himself out in the shade on the left wing and failed to influence a game that never seemed to interest him. He was finally put out of his misery in the 81st minute when he was replaced by Valeri Bojinov to cries of "What a waste of money" from the home supporters.
Hiddink will be delighted with the three points, which took his side above Liverpool into second place, albeit on goal difference. Hughes, meanwhile, must figure out some way to turn City's and Robinho's impressive home form and turn it on away from Eastlands.