Chelsea: Potential opening day XI

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Chelsea have had an impressive pre-season to date, boasting a one hundred percent record after five games, including comfortable wins over both Inter and AC Milan.

Major new signings Marco van Ginkel and Andre Schurrle have bedded in well, and last season’s loanees Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Du Bruyne have impressed to give re-appointed Chelsea favourite José Mourinho some dilemmas come Saturday 17th August.

Here I select the lineup that I would like to see stake the field in Chelsea's opening fixture, and the lineup I think Mourinho will adopt.

My lineup (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Petr Cech
The Czech giant has been reliable for Chelsea over the years, and it is highly unlikely new signing Mark Schwartzer has been brought in to do anything other than act as cover.

Right back: Cesar Azpilicueta
The Spanish full-back was solid in defence last season, and whilst his forward play is perhaps not as dynamic as Chelsea’s midfield, he should improve during his second season in English football.

Centre back: Branislav Ivanovic
Last season’s UEFA Europa League winner has had an excellent pre-season, and an eye-catching performance against AC Milan illustrates the form coming into the new campaign that earns him a place in the line-up.

Centre back: David Luiz
Many argue that the Brazilian's best position is further forward, but I think Luiz can mature under Mourinho and really make the centre half berth his own.

Left back: Ashley Cole
It is hard to look past the man who now has over 100 England caps to his name and has been so consistently a standout performer for his side.

Centre midfield: Ramires
Brazil’s powerful yet slight midfielder has a fantastic engine and a technical ability to match. His box-to-box style of play gives the side a nice balance to it.

Centre midfield: Frank Lampard
Chelsea’s record goalscorer deserves his place in the starting line-up due to his constant goal scoring threat. Although acting as a rotation player maybe Lampard’s best position this season, he can certainly play his part.

Right midfield: Kevin Du Bruyne
After spending last season on loan at Werder Bremen, the Belgian has gained many admirers and finished the season as a regular fixture in his national side. He beats Oscar to this position as Oscar in my opinion is not suited to a role on the wing, as he drifts inside and so is better off in a more central position.

Centre attacking-midfield: Juan Mata
It is hard to look past the Spanish wizard when it comes to Chelsea’s number ten role. The club’s player of the season two years in a row, Mata has a huge role to play this campaign.

Left midfield: Eden Hazard
Hazard’s first season with Chelsea was encouraging but I can’t help but think that there is so much more to come from him. His pace and trickery will serve him well in the season to come.

Striker: Romelu Lukaku
Another Belgian, Lukaku emerged as one of the top forward prospects in Europe last season during his loan spell with West Bromwich Albion, in which he scored 17 league goals. Whilst Fernando Torres remains a good option off the bench and from the start at times, Demba Ba does not really suit Chelsea’s fluid slick style of play so I would be tempted to move him on this transfer window

Mourinho’s probable line-up differences:

John Terry in for Branislav Ivanovic
Mourinho has made no secret of his admiration for the Chelsea skipper since his departure, and I expect the former England captain to be restored to his starting berth.

Oscar in for Kevin Du Bruyne
Oscar is undeniably a sublime talent and his quality may mean Mourinho is undeterred by playing him slightly out of position in favour of the inexperienced Du Bruyne.

Andre Schurrle in for Romelu Lukaku
Mourinho always likes to spring a surprise or two, and I think starting to German international up front could be his unexpected move against Hull. Whilst Schurrle is prominently a winger or attacking midfielder, he has been known to play striker in the past and Mourinho could want to utilise this.


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