There is so much speculation over how Jose Mourinho is going to line up this Chelsea team, and much of it is guesswork. However, with our pre-season games still a bit away, I thought I would have a look at the team and try and work out who would Mourinho see as absolutely nailed on starters. We know how Jose has always played, and it’s based on a strong, resolute defence that makes it extremely difficult to play against. Jose has always played players on their perceived merit, even if that meant leaving big names on the bench. See Iker Casillas and Pepe. So who will he favour at Chelsea?
In goals, Petr Cech is nailed on. Courtois has already agreed another year at Atletico Madrid so there is little doubt of Cech being dropped. In defence, you could argue that only Ashley Cole is truly guaranteed to be first choice. Ryan Bertrand is nowhere near Cole’s level yet, and his place is not at risk. In the centre and on the right, however, there are fewer certainties. Azpilicueta and Ivanovic will have to earn their place at right back, while Ivanovic, Terry, Luiz and Cahill are all vying for places at centre half. David Luiz is considered by many to be one of their biggest stars of the future, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see Mourinho favour Ivanovic for the coming season. Jose is a huge fan of the Serbian defender, and I expect him to get a lot of game time – either in the centre or on the right.
In midfield, I recently spoke about how I believe Oscar will be a huge player for Mourinho. It would surprise me greatly to see anyone preferred to him in CM. However, I believe that most of the other midfielders will have to make do rotating roles. Mata, Hazard and the incoming Schurrle are huge talents, but Mourinho will want to give Lampard plenty of game time while Ramires is the kind of player Jose adores. Moses works very hard when he plays and we all know how much Mourinho loves Michael Essien. This all combines to an awful lot of rotation, but I would predict Mata to be the other most selected player alongside Oscar.
Up front is anyone’s guess, but I would imagine the starring role could very well go to a player currently plying his trade elsewhere. Torres, Lukaku and Ba can all make a case for their inclusion, but none of them overly convincing. There are simply no guarantees up front.
Based on this, I am predicting that Cech, Cole, Ivanovic, Oscar and Mata (narrowly edging out Ramires) will be Mourinho’s Famous Five; the players guaranteed of their place when fit. Tell us, who would be in your Famous Five?