Before Marko Marin was even halfway through his first season in England there was already a general assumption from many that the young midfielder was unlikely to enjoy a long and successful career with Chelsea. An early injury combined with reluctance from both Roberto Di Matteo and Rafa Benitez to field the German meant he didn't start a game for his new club until the 2nd January, and he has rarely lived up to expectations since.
At one point there was even talk of Marin leaving the club on loan, and a summer exit, either short term or permanent, seemed highly likely. However the past couple of matches have perhaps shown the green roots of an improvement in Marin's fortunes at Stamford Bridge.
Marin came on to score his first goal in the 4-1 win over Wigan, and then followed that up with a hard-working if not exceptional performance in the Europa League on Thursday night against Sparta Prague. The goal against Wigan might have been a mere bonus for the team in a convincing win, but it could end up being far more meaningful for Marin himself if he goes on to start producing his best form.
The German has shown glimpses of this for Chelsea before, albeit not in a competitive match. In their pre-season friendlies Marin showed plenty of class and confidence on the ball, and his story might have been very different had he not suffered the early injury.
Those pre-season performances may have contributed to what is perhaps the biggest factor in Marin's chances of turning his Chelsea career around, which is that he is incredibly well supported by their fans. Of course fans support nearly all of their players, but the good will towards Marin has been noticeable throughout his short Chelsea career, and that can only help him try and make an impact at the club.
The Europa league matches will help, as Benitez will likely rotate his side frequently with so many important games still to play, and if Marin can get back to his best, he can become a major force in Chelsea's attempts to finish their disappointing season with a flourish.
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