Selecting the Best Chelsea FC XI for the season 2012-13
While against the match against Man City, I wondered whether either of our managers this season ever realized what our Chelsea FC Best XI was.
Selecting the best XI for any team is based on a number of parameters. And it may depend on manager to manager, as to what is the perfect and strongest team to be fielded out onto the pitch for the biggest matches. It also depends on the opponent we are facing. Selecting the best XI is a somewhat complicated job, because it also asks for the need to understand how the particular player will fit in with the other players. The best player in one team might not be the best for some other team. This is the second most complicated aspect in selecting the best squad. You’ll ask what the most complicated aspect is, the form and morale of the player. It cannot be predicted or assumed. This is the reason that the best XI of one manager might not seem the right choice by the spectators. The manager knows or atleast are the ones closest to knowing what the morale of a particular player is. Fielding an uninspired player can prove fatal. So now that we have gone through these aspects, I’ll try to pick out my strongest Chelsea FC XI for the season 2012-13 as for the month of February-March. I’ll try and explain, so maybe you’ll understand my views.
First we will go with the team sheet, the current set of players that we have, divided by operational areas.
- Petr Cech
- Ross Turnbull
- Henrique Hilario
- Jamal Blackman
- Branislav Ivanovic
- Ashley Cole
- David Luiz
- Paulo Ferreira
- Gary Cahill
- John Terry
- Cesar Azpilicueta
- Ryan Bertrand
- Nathan Ake
- Oriol Romeu
- Frank Lampard
- Juan Mata
- Oscar Dos Santos
- John Obi Mikel
- Florent Malouda
- Eden Hazard
- Marko Marin
- Yossi Benayoun
- Victor Moses
- Fernando Torres
- Demba Ba
This is the current ammunition the manager has, and likewise, I’ll try choosing my best XI and the best possible alternative, all according to my perspective. Ofcourse I do not know what the morale of a player is, cos all I can see is how well he does on the pitch.
I’ll stick with the current formation, mostly because of the heavy number of players we have in the midfield sector.
Let’s go position by position.
The one position that no one has any doubts over. Ofcourse, Petr Cech wins this section without any contest. The tall Czech has dominated this position in the team for years and years, displacing the like of Chelsea legend Carlo Cudicini. And it isn’t an over exaggeration if I say that Cech will easily be the number one goalkeeper in any team all around the footballing world, maybe leaving out Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Juventus. Despite having a few error prone outings, Petr Cech is one of the best in the business, not just for his shot stopping ability, but his leadership and commanding skills as well as his distribution from the back to the team.
The alternative player to Cech should be Ross Turnbull for the season. He is younger than Hilario and Jamal Blackman needs serious trials in the higher level before getting into consideration to be an understudy.
This is contested between Branislav Ivanovic and Cesar Azpilicueta, and despite Ivanovic being one of the best in the business, I’d go for Cesar Azpilicueta, mainly because he is more and more eager to develop himself. He gives his all whenever he is selected, and has given Man of the Match displays on more than one occasions, something he achieved without scoring a goal. Impressive eh?
The alternative player will be Branislav Ivanovic, simply because he is what he is! A senior, a leader, and a vital player to our team, and a consistent player. Paulo Ferreira deserves a mention, but he is nowhere as good as either Cesar or Brana.
Okay, you might think it is stupid of me to put up right and left centre backs, but it is an important aspect. Some players work better as a Right-Centre back than a Left-Centre Back. I’ll go for Gary Cahill among a choice of David Luiz and Branislav Ivanovic. David is just too erratic and error prone, while Gary is a better player than Branislav. Gary Cahill has made a number of simple mistakes, but he is solid otherwise. A quicker form of John Terry he is called as, doesn’t that speak for itself?
The alternative is again Branislav Ivanovic. David Luiz doesn’t deserve this spot because he isn’t a better defender than Ivanovic on a given day. He is a better footballer, but not a better defender. Nathan Ake is too young to compete yet.
No disputes, it is as expected, John Terry. It is not just his ability to be one of the best centre-backs, but owing to the fact that the defensive line is not as good as it should be unless it is manipulated and controlled by the Former English International. A lion in the back, John Terry strongly commands and controls our defensive line against the best of oppositions.
The alternative, wait, Ivanovic again. David and Ake misses out.
Again no disputes over this, Ashely Cole. One of the most consistent players in our team. Rarely has a bad game. Even on a bad day, he is as solid as you need him at defense. And on his best day, he not only troubles the opponent wingers, but also opponent Right backs, as they find it hard to keep tabs on him. He has negated the impact of great players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Arjen Robben when they came up against him.
Ryan Bertrand is the only option with us at the moment to cover up Ashley, but he is more than capable to deputize on occasions.
Central Midfield, Left and Right:
I’ll like to take up both Left and Right Central Midfielders together. This is mainly because, my Chelsea FC team would have a certain characteristic. The Right Midfielder will be the play-breaker and the Left Midfielder will be our play-maker, our creative outlet.
When we look at play-breakers, or ideally speaking, Holding Midfielders, John Obi Mikel is the obvious choice. Why? Because he is least interested in going forward to score goals. He is content staying back and controlling the passing and momentum from the shadows. It makes him the ideal choice. The other options are Romeu Oriol and Ramires. However, Romeu is currently injured and Ramires is used to having a lot of hunger to score goals, leaving the midfield exposed. But he has an impressive work rate, running all over the pitch, meaning that, against weaker teams he is more than capable for this role, or maybe in case of an emergency all-attack situation.
Come to the play-makers, the deep-lying ones. The options are Frank Lampard, Oscar Dos Santos, Ramires and, wait, David Luiz. Here Frank Lampard must be most people’s obvious choice. But not mine. I agree that Frank is one of the best at what he does, but this is my team, and somehow, Frank doesn’t fit in without a fight. This is mainly because he loves to get in the opposition box more often, and we need a player who will not go onto attack so often how Frank does. Oscar Dos Santos has too much of creativity for him to stay back in the central midfield role. He will often wander forward as an attacking midfielder, leaving the central midfield under-manned. Ramires has a clumsy passing range, so won’t suit the creative role. So that leaves us with the one and the only David Luiz. I had this planed out for him, so he didn’t fit in as an alternative to John Terry’s position. David has been more solid in the Left-Centre-Back compared to him in the Right_Centre-Back, but I’d want him in the midfield.
David Luiz has displayed that he is the perfect person for the central midfield recently. And his wide passing range, precision in them and also a vision to reach players far and wide, means he is a guy who can very well stay near the halfway line, yet control the team’s movements with his passing. He doesn’t attack as much as we expected him to. The furthest he gets is a yard or two away from the opponent’s penalty box, hardly inside it. Moreover, he has the personality adding up the leadership skills of Lampard, which means he will never shy off from ordering his midfield comrades to move according to his will. A Real Marshal in the pack!
The alternative has to be Frank Lampard, I’ve more than explained why he is more than capable of owning this role. Over the years, this legend has adapted himself to the different styles of playing, and now, from a typical attacking midfielder, now he has made himself a central midfielder, for the team’s sake.
The Attacking Midfield Trio (Left attacking Midfielder, Central Attacking midfielder and Right attacking midfielder):
The trio for me has to be Eden Hazard on the left, Juan Mata in the middle, and Victor Moses on the right. Most people will argue with me that Oscar deserves the spot over Moses, however, I beg to differ. Oscar is more skillful, but he is not a winger. And moreover, Moses has dominated in recent times on whichever flank he has been deployed in. Eden Hazard is on his way to becoming the ‘Next Big Thing’ and has already shown us his class with his superb dribbling, and has often dominated on either wings. If the Chelsea FC team was a body, Juan Mata has to be the brain. He is the man who steps up and makes the Chelsea team tick well. Moreover, I’d give them the freedom that Di Matteo had given to the Mazacar. Moses will have the freedom to work on either flanks during the game, while Hazard and Juan Mata may rotate among any of the three roles, as they are impressive all over.
The alternative for Attacking midfield will be Oscar, and obviously our first substitution in the game too. The left and right spots will be challenged by Marko Marin and Benayoun respectively. Marin is seen to be more active when he is on the left of the pitch, while Benayoun is just a utility player and might even be replaced by Ramires.
I don’t need to discuss why Malouda isn’t being considered anywhere, which is a real sad story to tell.
We have Demba Ba and Fernando Torres competing for this spot. While most people will claim Ba is the rightful winner for the spot, I’l say they are under-estimating the hardship of the role and the contribution of El Nino to the team. Anyways, Demba Ba will be my choice. Solely because he looks likely to score more goals than Nando does. However, there are also matches like the one against Man City, where even Ba was invisible for most period of the game, so it not an out-right victory for Ba over Torres. Torres, works on the fluidity of the team. He offers very less outlet as a striker, however, he enters the middle of the pitch and gets involved in the game too.
Quite obviously, Fernando Torres will be the alternative option.
So that’s that folks, my final Best Chelsea FC XI for the current part of the season 2012-13:
John Terry (C)
John Obi Mikel
Agree or not, do leave your thoughts, and your own Best XI in the comments section below. I’d love to hear from you. Cheers!