José Mourinho has composed a squad this summer that now represents one that he believes is capable of challenging for trophies on all fronts. Expect Chelsea to be involved right to the very end in the Premier League and the Champions League, but just who finds their way into Mourinho’s exceptionally strong first team?
Goalkeeper – Thibaut Courtois
Incredibly, this is the first season where Chelsea great Petr Cech finds himself under considerable pressure to nail down his first team place for the upcoming season.
The Belgian starlet gets my shout for the goalkeepers position. Following three very successful loan spells at Spanish side Atletico Madrid, it looks like Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is convinced he has found Chelsea’s new number one. Courtois joins up with his Chelsea team mates on the back of a Spanish title triumph and Champions League Final appearance . He manage to keep 19 clean sheets last season as he helped his side to domestic success. Standing at a staggering 6ft 6in tall, Courtois is equipped with lightening reflexes and a commanding presence in the air. His kicking is perhaps questionable at times but at only a frightening age of just 22, that particular issue is sure to improve with time.
Left Back – Filipe Luís
A former Atletico compatriot of Courtois, the Brazilian (29) has very much been brought in by Jose Mourinho to fill the void left by Ashley Cole.
Signing a three-year deal worth £20M in July, Luís is possibly the perfect replacement for the Chelsea and England great Cole. Making up a solid Atletico Madrid defence last season, he made an impressive 131 tackles last year, only second to Javi Lopez (Espanyol) who completed 145. However, he is not afraid to join the attack either, racking up a tally of six assists and one goal in 49 appearances last season.
Centre-Back – John Terry (C)
Very much a self explanatory selection, a leader of men who will prove pivotal in gelling this Chelsea squad with his flawless leadership skills.
An excellent reader of a game, two-footed and great in the air, Terry will once again play his part in trying to lead his team mates to Premier League glory and more this coming season.
Centre-Back – Gary Cahill
Making up and all-English central defence, Cahill is arguably Chelsea’s most improved player over the past two seasons since his move from Bolton in January 2012. Involved in a disappointing World Cup campaign with Roy Hodgson’s troops, Cahill was one of England’s more impressive players. Developing into a great reader of the games, Cahill is a warrior who leaves nothing behind on the playing field while also contributing to the score sheet occasionally. Cahill makes up the key ingredients to a solidified Chelsea defence.
Right Back – Branislav Ivanovic
No doubt an unpopular decision with a fair few Blues fans, but Ivanovic gets my vote over Cesar ‘Dave’ Azpilicueta. Why? The Serbian adds invaluable Premier League experience to a Chelsea defence that are known for their impressive defensive records in the Premier League over the years. Ivanovic is stronger, more effective going forward and just as quick as the Spaniard. He’s also just as versatile as Azpilicueta, with the ability to slot in at central defence if required or necessary.
Central Midfield – Nemanja Matic
Having rejoined the Chelsea ranks from Portuguese outfit Benfica in January, Matic fitted straight in to a Chelsea midfield that otherwise looked vulnerable defensively. Remembered for his impact in the 1-0 win against Manchester City at the Etihad last season. A dominant presence in midfield, Matic is very much a ‘Mourinho type of player’ with his prowess and yet astute footballing ability. Expect the Serbian to be key to Chelsea’s title challenge this year.
Central Midfield – Cesc Fàbregas
The best signing of the Summer transfer window thus far? Possibly. The former Arsenal and Barcelona magician is perhaps a direct replacement for Chelsea legend Frank Lampard, however, it’s fair to say Chelsea needed a player like Fàbregas last season when trying to unlock stubborn defences such as those of Crystal Palace and Sunderland. He’s versatile, able to play in central midfield, out wide, behind the striker and even as the latter when necessary. Fàbregas is well accustomed to the Premier League from his time with rivals Arsenal so he should fit straight in to this Chelsea midfield. The Spaniard will provide plenty of goals and assists as well as defence splitting passes as Chelsea set their sights on the ultimate glory this season.
Attacking Midfield – Eden Hazard
Perhaps on the back of an average display at the World Cup in Brazil, there’s no question about the raw talent of the Premier League’s young player of the year. Much will be expected of the Belgian star with his dazzling, razor sharp runs through defences, providing more than a fair share of goals and assists. Jose Mourinho publicly questioned Hazard’s appetite to help his team mates defend at the back end of last season following their Champions League exit at the hands of Atletico Madrid, but he’s back and ready to fight for his team as Chelsea prepare for the season ahead. Could be ready to make the step up to challenge the top five footballers in the world.
Attacking Midfield – Oscar
The Brazilian was one of ex Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari’s shining lights this Summer, proving his will to win and hunger with his incredible defensive shifts in a star studded midfield. A player very popular amongst the Chelsea faithful, Oscar will have a point to prove this season as he finds himself part of a very strong midfield with plenty of competition for places. Expect the Brazilian to bring skill, attacking intelligence and defensive work-rate to the table this year.
Attacking Midfield – André Schürrle
A world champion following Germany’s World Cup success, Schürrle provided the assist for Germany’s extra time winner against Argentina in the final despite being a regular substitute during the German’s winning campaign. Boasting terrific pace, strength and natural footballing ability, the former Bayer Leverkusen man brings width, a fantastic attitude and clear appetite to succeed at Chelsea with Jose Mourinho being a big fan of the midfielder for his defensive abilities.
Striker – Diego Costa
‘At last’ cry all Chelsea fans, a prolific striker! There was no doubt about the necessity of an out-and-out goalscorer at the West London club with the Blues desperately struggling for goals when it mattered most last season. The former Atletico front man bagged 27 league goals last season with 26 coming from inside the penalty area. A physical and dogged forward, the Spanish international is very clever in and around the penalty area with razor sharp instincts and clever runs behind defences. A Didier Drogba type player, exactly what Chelsea needed to seal the title last season? It would be hard to disagree.
Do you agree with this selection, or do you think somebody else should be included in José Mourinho’s strongest eleven? Let us know in the comments or on twitter @TBRFootball.