With the tactical yet somewhat disappointing number of signings for Chelsea this season, I can’t see many more than one new addition to the Blues’ squad.
So here is what I think their strongest starting line-up is:
Formation: 4-4-2 (Diamond)
GK) #1 Petr Cech – Although Henrique Hilario has been exceptional in most of the pre season games, Chelsea can’t afford to leave Cech out of the line-up. It was because of him that Chelsea conceded the joint lowest amount of goals last season in the Premier League (33).
RB) #2 Branislav Ivanovic – A strong, athletic defender who is a fantastic aerial threat in a defensive and attacking position. For me, he was Chelsea’s best player last season and that is why he keeps out Jose Bosingwa.
CB) #26 John Terry (C) – It’s like having soup without croutons, cider without ice, Terry is the heartbeat of the whole Chelsea squad and without him they won’t be the same. He’s been a great leader in pre season and contributed towards their clean sheets so far.
CB) #4 David Luiz – Although he’s not had any pre-season action for Chelsea, we saw a few glimpses of magic from the young, Brazilian defender and it’s obvious he can score goals. That’s why he should partner ‘JT’.
LB) #3 Ashley Cole – Arguably one of the best left backs in the world, Cole has quite clearly put his private life aside and has been performing to the usual top of his game in pre season.
*CDM) #7 Ramires – Again, Ramires is a player who hasn’t had any pre season action under Andre Villas-Boas, but after a slow start in Winter, he soon found his Brazilian talent and scored a goal or two.
LM) #15 Florent Malouda – The Frenchman was Chelsea’s highest goal scorer in the Premier League last season and has found the back of the net on a couple of occasions in pre season. He has grown in strength and understanding of the league and that is why he should start.
RM) #10 Yossi Benayoun – After a man of the match performance against Hong Kong’s Kitchee in the Barclays Asia Trophy, Benayoun has recovered tremendously from his injury early on in his Chelsea career. And with a cheeky goal against Wycombe Wanderers, he proves he has the talent.
CAM) #8 Frank Lampard – No doubt the main man for Chelsea in pre season, Lampard looks fitter, sharper and better under Andre Villas-Boas. His long shots and link-up will be important in Chelsea’s success this season.
ST ) #9 Fernando Torres – The Spaniard’s first-touch goal on Saturday against Aston Villa would have really boosted his confidence and I think he was brought for this season; no doubt he’s going to shine.
ST) #23 Daniel Sturridge – The 21-year-old has shown evidence that he can score in the Premier League whilst at Bolton Wanderers and a great solo goal against Kitchee asked questions to Andre Villas-Boas; an admitted fan of the England starlet.
GK) #40 Henrique Hilario
DF) #33 Alex, #17 Jose Bosingwa
MF) #46 Josh McEachran, #18 Yuri Zhirkov
ST) #39 Nicolas Anelka, #11 Didier Drobga
* Replaced by Michael Essien when he’s recovered from injury, Ramires moves to RM with Benayoun moving to the bench.