It’s time. Chelsea have arguably the most dynamic, talented list in the Premier League, but with the European Championships and the Olympic Football recently disrupting their pre-season campaign, the projected First XI is anybody’s guess.
There is still an element of guess work when assessing Chelsea’s XI for GameWeek 1. With Oscar‘s involvement at the Olympics potentially stunting his initial involvement. Interestingly, his inclusion potentially shapes the remainder of the team! A 4-2-3-1 seems to suit their style of play, and all the European powerhouses are beginning to switch to this formation.
Cole is the obvious LB, but as the season progresses do not be surprised at all if Bertrand is afforded a few starts when Cole is playing in the Champions League though. Luiz has played every pre-season game so is probably due to start the first game against Stoke. Terry will be there as club captain. Ivanovic looks set to play at RB, but as a Chelsea fan, trust me, we will sign another right-back before the start of the season. Azpilicueta from Marseille looks to be heading over, and if he does, game time will be split between he and Branislav- in which case, don’t pick up either. Cahill looks to be rotated through the CB slot injury and form permitting, and won’t be a starter.
Here’s where things get tricky. Lampard looks to be shifting further back in the defensive line, as young guns are afforded starts closer to goal. I think he’ll play the majority of his football in front of the back 4, so if you’ve got him, get him out of your team right now (he’s far too expensive). If Oscar starts then expect widespread changes. Ramires will drop back from a RAM to a CDM next to Lampard. This would see Oscar jump into Ramires spot and Mikel (who isn’t FPL worthy anyway) relegated to the bench. Mata I’m backing to start due to his involvement in the Olympics being cut short. However RDM came out before the Olympics and said he would be conservative with Chelsea’s current POTY, so don’t be surprised if Marin jumps into his spot for the first game. Hazard looks to be locked in at CAM, and in my opinion is the only Chelsea mid you can lock into your team with any confidence of getting the full game time in the first week. The rest are just too risky to lock into your team at an inflated price without guaranteed game time.
Straightforward. Torres is locked in, and he is miles ahead of Sturridge, and although Lukaku looked good against the Seattle Sounders, he looked woeful in the other games, especially against Milan, and showed he is still a long way away from being capable of leading the European Champions’ line. Again, I expect another signing before deadline day, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Cavani ended up swinging through London. Chelsea have a disgraceful amount of money, and they aren’t afraid to use it. If that happens, buh-bye Fernando.
The uncertainty surrounding Chelsea’s midfield is enough to rule out any buy apart from Hazard in my opinion. We just can’t be sure who Di Matteo is going to rest for the first week given Olympic commitments. Torres also looks tasty provided another striker isn’t signed, as does Ivanovic, although I’m entirely sure we will sign another RB to share the load with Iva.
In conclusion, just put Hazard in your team. Then thank me later.