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Jose Mourinho's Chelsea XI

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Let us first sort out the easy positions where there is a clear first-choice.

That starts off with the goalkeeper. Petr Cech is by far the only one who will be playing the games. Mark Schwarzer has been brought in for back-up and to play the Capital One Cup games.

The other position that is nailed on is the left-back area. With Ashley Cole being number one choice by a long way. Ryan Bertrand will stay as back-up and maybe challenge for a starting position next year with Cole coming towards the end of his career.

Also, the formation has been a concern with Jose Mourinho opting to keep the 4-2-3-1 formation from last year, as well as reverting to his old Chelsea days of 4-3-3 in some pre-season matches.

However, it seems as if he cannot break up the quality of last year's three musketeers of Oscar, Juan Mata and Eden Hazard. Whether these will be the three who play there remains to be seen but the formation seems to be set in stone. 

Now it gets tough for Mourinho and in fact the public to guess what he is to do.

Right-back

This position last year was practically all Cesar Azpilicueta's. However, due to his participation in the Confederations Cup, he has not been part of the pre-season tour to Asia.

The position has been filled by both Branislav Ivanovic and the promising 19-year-old Wallace, though the latter appears to be close to a loan switch away from Chelsea.

With that in mind, Ivanovic seems favourite for the position. He gives better defensive cover than Azpilicueta and is good going forward. Ivanovic gives better strength and aeriel presence. He seems like Mourinho's type of player.

Centre-back

Gary Cahill has really shown his quality over the last season and in pre-season too, in the absence of David Luiz and the fact that Ivanovic has been played at right-back.

This seems to be the biggest clue of Cahill starting for the season in one of these positions. Mourinho has come out and said that club captain John Terry must fight for his position. However, in Mourinho's last stint as Chelsea manager, Terry was one of the core of the team.

He was a bit-part player under Rafa Benitez who continued to rotate the Chelsea squad. Luiz is one of Europe's most wanted players and there has been a lot of speculation that he is not Mourinho's type of player.

In most of Jose's teams, the defence has been solid. Fan favourite Luiz is probably not the most reliable of defenders and most fans have loved seeing him in the defensive midfield role which seems to be his best position.

But with some signings in that area, will Luiz fit in either role? I believe Mourinho will go with Terry and Cahill as a partnership at the heart of the Chelsea defence.

Defensive midfield

Chelsea have brought in a few signings and have got a few players returning from loan who can really challenge for a spot in this role.

If Nathaniel Chalobah and Josh McEachran go out on loan again this season, Chelsea have four or five players fighting for this position. 

Frank Lampard has been part of the Chelsea core for a decade and leaving him out of the team seems ridiculous. Mourinho will more than likely stay with the veteran for majority of the games. Now for the other position.

It is out of new signing Marco van Ginkel, Ramires and John Obi Mikel. Ramires has played every pre-season game for around 70 minutes each time. Van Ginkel has only had a half of each game and has been overlooked by Mourinho when he has had to keep a player on.

John Obi Mikel has had a commitment in the Confederations Cup and has had an extra rest for the start of the season, so has not been part of the pre-season squad thus far. By the looks of things, Ramires is likely to partner Frank Lampard in the defensive midfield role.

Attacking midfield

Every Chelsea fan wants to see Oscar, Mata and Hazard in this role as they were practically faultless last season and were the main positive point.

However, since coming back from loan, Kevin de Bruyne has been showing why he should be part of the front three. New signing Andre Schurrle also has looked promising and cost the club £20 million, so it's not beyond belief to see him fighting for a starting spot.

Victor Moses has also been good in pre-season. There has been a lot of speculation that Juan Mata is not part of Jose Mourinho's plans but in all honesty, Juan Mata is everyone's type of player.

Hazard has shone in his debut season and he has also been a bright spark in pre-season - he will have a starting spot. Now for the last spot, it is out of De Bruyne, Schurrle, Oscar and Victor Moses.

Oscar was part of Brazil's Confederations Cup team and therefore has not been in Asia with Chelsea. De Bruyne scored a wondergoal in a 4-1 win over a Malaysia XI however, in the process picked up an injury and has been flown back to London to have scans - he might be out for the start of the season.

Moses is always seen as a back-up player who can come and change a game so I very much doubt he will be in contention. Bertrand Traore has looked quality in pre-season, but he is likely to go on loan due to ongoing work permit issues.

I cannot see Mourinho leaving out Oscar which leads me to believe that the front three will remain like it did last season.

Striker

We can rule out Demba Ba from the start as he is seen as a third choice at the moment behind both Fernando Torres and Romelu Lukaku.

Mourinho likes a strong, powerful striker - like Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto'o and Karim Benzema - all of which have been a first-choice when managed by the Portuguese tactician.

That said, Lukaku is the man to lead to line. However, I believe that Mourinho will swap a lot of the games between Torres and Lukaku. If I had to choose the player who will get the more games, it will probably be Lukaku. 

 

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Topics:
Premier League
Football
Chelsea

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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