Chelsea's 2020 starting XI was predicted five years ago, featuring Eden Hazard and Oscar


Chelsea are entering the 2020/21 Premier League season on the back of a spending spree.

Fans are being given good reason to think that Chelsea could stand the best chance of breaking Liverpool and Manchester City's duopoly in England's top flight in the year to come.

That's because the Blues are in the midst of amassing one of the biggest transfer splurges in football history, surpassing the £200-million mark with a month remaining until the deadline.

Chelsea's 2020 spending spree

In fact, Chelsea have been plotting their 2020 spending for some time with tricky Ajax winger Hakim Ziyech proving the first arrival all the way back in February.

Timo Werner then followed him through the door having been poached from beneath Liverpool's nose, while Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell were then procured to strengthen the defence.

But that was just the tip of the iceberg with Kai Havertz arriving narrowly short of a club-record fee and lest we forget the under-the-radar purchases of Malang Sarr and Xavier Mbuyamba.


Five years at Chelsea

In fact, astonishingly, multiple reports are claiming that the Blues aren't finished there with Rennes goalkeeper Eduoard Mendy and West Ham midfielder Declan Rice still being pursued.

And breathe. The moral of the story is that Chelsea are looking in remarkable shape for 2020/21 and supporters could hardly have predicted it two months ago, never mind back in 2015.

Why do we say 2015? Well, that's because a rather brave journalist and Chelsea fan genuinely decided to predict how the west Londoners would line-up in 2020 five years ago.


Predicting the 2020 XI

Reporter Matt Lewis and Blues aficionado @ChelseaYouth took on the challenge for an article on in April 2015, on the back of the club's fourth Premier League triumph.

And as much as we'd love to tell you that they were superhuman prophets from the future who foresaw Werner and Ziyech's arrivals, their predictions were far from perfect, that's for sure.

Of course, they were under no illusions that were going to get this right - it is nearly impossible, after all - so go easy on them and consider that they only included players who were at the club in 2015.


Matt Lewis' XI

Goalkeeper - Thibaut Courtois

Considering Courtois hadn't played a single game for Chelsea when this prediction was made, kudos to Matt for anticipating that the Belgian would be given his chance at Stamford Bridge.

And to be honest, Chelsea fans are probably wishing that this prediction had actually come true because the current Real Madrid 'keeper is leagues and leagues above Kepa Arrizabalaga.


Right-back - Cesar Azpilicueta

Look, credit where credit is due, because making just one correct prediction over the course of five years in football is borderline implausible, but picking Azpilicueta here is bang on the money.

Centre-backs - Gary Cahill and Kurt Zouma

Again, by no means awful. Cahill enjoyed a fantastic seven-year stint at Stamford Bridge, lifting the FA Cup and Europa League as captain, but ultimately left one season too early for this prediction.

But while Cahill is now plying his trade at Crystal Palace, Zouma is arguably another correct shout, having established himself as the club's most used centre-back throughout 2019/20.

And although he'll face competition from Antonio Rudiger and Silva when the season resumes, he did, technically speaking, begin 2020 in the starting XI just as Matt said he would.


Left-back - Jay Dasilva

Ah, you see, here we have the first major clanger with Dasilva never actually making a senior appearance for the Blues, never mind holding down the left-back position in 2020.

But the young full-back is still only 22 years old, so perhaps we'll see him in the Premier League one day, though he's currently turning out for Bristol City after leaving Chelsea permanently last year.

Central midfield - Oscar and Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Ok, sure, let's get it over with: Oscar wasn't the best prediction. The Brazilian went off the boil during Mourinho's third season of his return and was ultimately sold to Shanghai SIPG two years after the prediction.

The talented midfielder continues to ply his trade in the Chinese Super League and has openly admitted that the mega-money wages influenced his decision, so fair play to the lad.

As for Loftus-Cheek, it's a sound prediction and one that could well come true this season, although struggling with injuries in 2019/20 undoubtedly robbed him of a chance to nail down a starting place.


Right midfield - Eden Hazard

If only Chelsea fans, huh? Look, this prediction isn't wrong by any fault of Hazard or Chelsea, but the mercurial winger wanted to fulfil his dream of playing for Real and that was granted last summer.

Attacking midfield - Jeremie Boga

Oof, yeh, not so much. Boga is another player, like Dasilva, who never made the grade at Chelsea, but he did at least play for the club after coming on during the 3-2 league defeat to Burnley in 2017.

However, Boga has made a name for himself regardless of being ditched by the Blues in 2018 and is believed to be attracting interest from Crystal Palace after shining at Sassuolo for two seasons.


Left midfield - Izzy Brown

As unlikely as it might seem, there's still hope for this prediction, just not in 2020, because the England youth international is still on the books at Chelsea, albeit in their infamous loan system.

Brown has practically been on a tour of England with spells at Rotherham, Huddersfield, Brighton, Leeds, Luton and now he'll be spending the 2020/21 season with Sheffield Wednesday.

Centre forward - Dominic Solanke

Ok, look, Matt wasn't alone in believing that Solanke was going to become a top player when he was rising through the ranks, but this prediction couldn't look more inaccurate five years down the line.

Solanke has somewhat found his level at Bournemouth after flopping with both Chelsea and Liverpool but even then, four goals in 36 appearances is hardly anything to write home about.


@ChelseaYouth's XI

We won't go over the players we've already mentioned in Lewis' XI, but in the interest of fairness, we're going to assess the second team to boot - and here are the differences between the two:

Central midfield - Nathaniel Chalobah

Unlike some of the youngsters that Lewis chose, Chalobah did get a reasonably fair crack of the whip at Stamford Bridge and even won a Premier League winners' medal under Antonio Conte.

But an outrageous back-heel assist for Victor Moses that season was about as good as things got and the 25-year-old now resides in the Championship after being relegated with Watford.

Right midfield - Bertrand Traore

For a split second, you'd be forgiven for thinking Traore would make a success of himself at Chelsea, scoring four goals in 16 matches during the infamously ill-fated 2015/16 campaign.

And although Traore was moved on one year later, rather undermining the prediction, Traore has still made an impressive career for himself with four seasons and 33 goals at Lyon.


What a difference 5 years makes

So, sure, if we're going to be incredibly harsh, then there's no hiding from the fact both predictions look rather silly compared to how Chelsea have actually lined up in 2020.

But within the context of footballing predictions being nigh on impossible, you've got to tip your hat for how close both Lewis and @ChelseaYouth were to the actual solution five years ago.

Besides, their rule of excluding new transfers means that a lot of the current Chelsea starters were literally impossible for them to forecast, while Azpilicueta and Zouma were essentially spot on.


However, for now, there's only one prospect that Chelsea want to look forward to right now: becoming contenders for the Premier League title this season.

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