It’s been a decent start to the season, though it’s still early days; and Jose is still tinkering with the side to find the right balance between attack and defense.
So, we here at ChelseaFC360 look at, what could be the best possible starting eleven with the help of our writers, who predict their opinions on players who deserve to be played consistently week in – week out!
(My Best Chelsea XI: Cech, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Luiz, Bertrand, Mikel, Ramires, Willian, Oscar, Hazard, Torres)
Cech: Needs no explanation, solid.
Azpilicueta: Brilliant both in attack and defense. A shining light last season
Gary Cahill: Been solid this season, fantastic blocker of the ball
David Luiz: On his day, not many center halves are better. Despite his old tendency to try flicks and tricks when not needed seeming to creep back into his game, still a better option at center back than the others. Strikes a mean free kick too.
Ryan Bertrand: Whenever he plays he looks solid, more solid than Ash. Personal preference.
John Obi Mikel: Essential from a defensive perspective
Ramires: Hard worker, ball winner and generally a fantastic asset to our team. Capable of magic finishes (see Camp Nou chip).
Willian: Though perhaps not shown it yet, Willian is currently our best option on the right wing, whilst Mata continues to adapt. Good crosser, very capable dribbler and puts in a shift in defending as well.
Oscar: Absolutely fantastic this season, our best player at present and only 21!
Eden Hazard: Not in the greatest form at the moment but the magic he is capable is incredible. On his day, no defender would want to play against him.
Torres: Best striker at present, although if Eto’o starts to find his feet that could be an interesting fight for places. Against Bayern he was excellent, always shows up in the big games.
(My Best Chelsea XI: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Bertrand, Luiz, Lampard, Hazard, Oscar, Schurrle, Torres)
Petr Cech: The sulking big built shot stopper is our main man for years and yeas and has continued producing the goods every other day.
Branislav Ivanovic: The Serb has improved a lot recently when it comes to his attacking side of the game. He has been one of our best performers by far this season.
Gary Cahill: Cahill has showed with his performances more recently with England and Chelsea that he has improved a lot as a player. With odd mistakes here and there, he is slowly but surely becoming true replacement of John Terry.
John Terry: Captain, Leader, Legend. Certainly terry has that likeable ability to raise team spirits. His performances recently are solid and with him at the back, our defence and midfield seems trusted.
Ryan Bertrand: From his performances last year and a few this year, Ryan seems to be a better player than Ashley Cole in recent games. However, when it comes to big games we can’t count on his inexperience.
David Luiz: Certainly I like the idea of playing him in the midfield with on pressure on him to defend. He has a knack of picking up atrocious passes like last night for Kevin De Bruyne who unfortunately could not take it in his stride.
Frank Lampard: Playing Lampsy alongside Luiz give us an extra edge in the midfield. Both cover up for each other and we get two creative players to play alongside without compromising on added benefit of experience.
Hazard: Somewhat this season he has focused more and more on his defensive side of the game, but he always has that extra bit that makes him the 3rd most expensive player Chelsea have bought.
Oscar: Our No. 10 has been in his prime recently and we can never stop talking about his performances this season. It seems Jose has made Oscar an able replacement of Kaka for Brazil.
Schurrle: The guy puts miles on the pitch. He is a good runner, selfish and provides that little bit of width which Chelsea craves. I would like to see him play more and more on the right hand side so that he can provide crosses in and open up our midfield by dragging defenders out wide to cash in.
Torres: Eto’o looks a bit rusty, Ba is out of form. The striker that really helps Chelsea in improving their overall gameplay is FT9. He can, with his movement and pace, create a lot of space of the midfield to ply their trade.
(My Best Chelsea XI: Cech, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Terry, Cole, Luiz, Ramires, Eto’o, Mata, Hazard, Torres)
Petr Cech: One of the best keepers in the world. Need I say anything more? As much as I always respected Mark from his Fulham days, he will have to give 200% of his usual performances to even threaten Cech’s position.
Azpilicueta: Ivanovic has been solid. But in my view, it’s time we gave Cesar the spot. Frankly speaking, he has the potential to surpass Iva within a season or two, given sufficient playing time that is! It will be a big loss to us as well as azpi himself if he is benched in the long run.
Cahill + Terry: I would had loved to include Ivanovic in place of either of these two as in my view Iva is a better CB. But then, there won’t be a cover for RB. Then, we have Jt and Cahill, two old fashioned center backs who are solid at the back and really a threat at set pieces.
Ashley Cole: With the current form Ashley Cole deserves to be on the bench, but the poor future planning left us with Ryan as our only possible back up. Ryan is a talented lad, but nothing Ashley Cole-ish in him. We cannot expect a Ashley Cole sort of leveled performance from him. I’ll just hope that this down form of Ash will be just a once in a blue moon sort of thing and he will get back to his very best.
David Luiz + Ramires: David Luiz is not a defender! He has too much energy and enthusiasm packed within him to stay at defense. He loves getting forward and helps the attackers, playing as DM the attackers will thrive on his ability to pick a fine pass. While Ramires is one who can cover every inch of grass. He has improvised his goal scoring abilities and time after time he proves why he is so important to the team.
Mata: Here is what it gets interesting. I am not fielding a 4-5-1, but more of a 4-3-3 (4-2-1-2-1) Say what you may, Mata’s attacking prowess is unmatched. Oscar may be a better goal scorer, but I’d expect my AM to be more keen to assist rather than score. Moreover, Mata isn’t second best at scoring either. Oscar is better defensively, but the job to look at is attacking, not defending. When Oscar without Mata the plays the play gets too cramped. No one is better than Mata at providing over providing the head passes to our strikers.
Hazard: His form may be sort of up and down right now. But when he is on the pitch at least two to three defenders have to stay around him, because you know how he manages to bring in the spectacular now and then. His presence is always beneficial in one way or the other.
Eto’o: Not exactly a RW, but an Anelka-ish role. Eto in his past has been a good target man, but a better supporting striker. At Inter he really thrived on his partnership with Diego Milito, and since he has not slacked off in terms of work-rate, I’d love him to form a partnership with our front man.
Torres: Our best striker at the moment. He might be goal-shy but his movements always cause terrors to the opposition, and if he manages a similar achievement like last season, its job well done!
(My Best Chelsea XI: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Cole, Lampard, Ramires, Schurrle, Oscar, Hazard, Torres)
Cech: Simply in my opinion, he is the best goal keeper in the world and a legend at CFC. No more explanation necessary!
Ivanovic: He is doing his duties superbly and he combines the defensive duties with great run and timing while the team is attacking unlike Azpilicueta’s defensive abilities. He is a leader and a warrior for our team!
Gary Cahill: the English CB is solid and great in blocking shots against opposing strikers. His immense talent on the air makes him a reliable rock in Chelsea and The three lions back line.
David Luiz: There is no one better to compliment Cahill’s brute and physical style than Luiz’s agility and flair on the ball. The Brazilian is hugely important in the transition from defense to attack with his top notch passes and crosses to strikers.
Ashley Cole: although he is losing his speed and stamina to attack and create danger, he is still one of the top left backs in the world and should be starting until Bertrand steps up to take his role.
Lampard: Super Frank is still as good as any midfielder in the premier league when it comes to passing, scoring and also defending in holding midfield role. He can pop up with his trademark strikes right around the penalty box and score for us as well.
Ramires: He is the ‘Makelele’ type of player that Jose wants in his line up and there is no one at the club that does his defensive duties and also helps out in the attacking department like he does.
Oscar: Easy and simple reason is that the Brazilian is a well-rounded attacking midfielder when he is on the ball and not having possession as well. Just for his defensive duties and work ethic, he is suited to the role better than Mata.
Hazard: The Belgian maestro is one of the game changer in any game against any top team on his best day. But, he needs to improve on being consistent and delivering the type of performance we saw against Bayern in the super cup.
Schurrle: The German winger is favored on top of Mata since the Spaniard doesn’t battle on one vs one situations. Mata needs to improve on his fitness and pace in order to play as a right sided winger as Jose wants him to. But, Schurrle’s work ethic and pace makes him the reliable candidate for the spot.
Torres: I would more likely say Eto’o when it comes to off the ball movements and linking up well with the attacking 3 behind him, but El Nino has 2 goals so far this season and is in a great form.
I thank my fellow writers Huw, Muhammud, Tushar and Fahmi for their input and contribution towards this article.
P.S: Team predictions and lineup are personal opinions. This is the first part and we will publish other writer’s best 11s in the next parts.
As always, your views and opinions are welcomed. Would also like to know, your best Chelsea eleven. Please leave your comments in the comments section.