So, Mourinho’s back, finally! Amongst the many things he has said since arriving, he’s stated that he is looking to ‘settle down’ at the club, whilst looking to promote the young talent that Chelsea already have. Exciting stuff, any Chelsea fan (or fan of young English footballing talent) knows that Chelsea has an incredible youth team, they just rarely get the chance to break into the 1st team.
I’ve chucked together what I think will be the first 11 in about 5 years time. I’ve also added the XI that I feel are the most similar from the first Mourinho era (obviously not 2008/2009 as stated, it’s the 05/06 team).
Future: Thibaut Courtois
Mou-Era: Petr Cech
So the great Petr Cech will be replaced by Courtois, doesn’t take a genius to work that out. As the great Carlo Cudicini was once benched by the young Petr Cech, I feel the same will happen with Courtois. He’s more than proved himself in La Liga, but Cech still has a few more years in him.
Both are similar players, tall and commanding. Comfortably dealing with crosses, although Courtois is building his experience in the Spanish league, so he’s getting used to mopping up behind the back four, which will no doubt make him more of a complete goalkeeper.
Future: Ryan Bertrand
Mou-Era: Ashley Cole
Bertrand has long been touted as the long term successor to Ashley Cole, for both England and Chelsea. With more playing time this season, Bertrand is getting the experience he needs, and it’s only a matter of time before Bertrand begins to take the starting spot, just like Cole did against Wayne Bridge.
Both are incredibly similar, Bertrand is possibly more attacking, but with maturity and experience, his defensive side can only improve.
Future pairing: Chalobah & Aké
Mou-Era pairing: Terry & Carvalho
Chalobah has long been dubbed as Terry’s successor in the Chelsea camp, he is a great leader (captaining the England and Chelsea’s youth sides), as well as being good defensively, his attacking work is amazing, as can be seen for Watford where he has played as a centre-mid.
Nathan Aké has broken into the Chelsea first team this season, playing a handful of matches at both centre back and centre mid. He may not be in the same mould as Carvalho, but if he maximises his potential, Aké can become a world-class centre back. Again, his attacking ability is of a good standard, coming through the Dutch youth system.
Paulo Ferreira has turned into something of a legend at Stamford Bridge, every other Premier League fan seems to think he’d retired ages ago. In recent years he’s become chief bench warmer, with Ivanovic and Bosingwa coming in. This season saw the Spanish right back Cesar Azpilicueta brought to the Bridge from Marseille.
There aren’t any similarities between the two, Chelsea haven’t had a consistent attacking right back for many years, Ivanovic being described as more solid, and Ferreira being more of a utility man. It’s been great to see Ashley Cole’s escapades down the left being mirrored on the right, although without Cole’s defensive capabilities. The future is definitely with Cesar, Mourinho will definitely be working on his defensive side the next few seasons, so it will be good to see how he develops.
Future: Oriol Romeu
Mou-Era: Claude Makélélé
The legend that is Claude Makélélé left the Bridge with a move to PSG in 2008, since then we’ve seen Mikel attempt to bring the defensive security that Makélélé brought, but has never really been at the standard expected. Oriol Romeu arrived in 2011, he began with a string of very good performances, considering his age, but unfortunately suffered an injury which has kept him out for the majority of this season.
Being raised in La Masia, Romeu comes with a great passing range, his positioning is incredible for a 21 year old. Although he is a little bit more offensive than Makélélé, there have been glimpses where you could have mistaken the two, the many times he’d be seen making a big important tackle before spreading the ball to a nearby midfielder. Mourinho will further enhance Romeu’s positioning and defensive abilities, for me it’s only a matter of time before Mikel begins being benched.
Future: Luiz & McEachran
Mou-Era: Essien & Lampard
Josh McEachran has long been dubbed as the long term successor to Frank Lampard. Josh is much more of a playmaker, gliding across the spraying pinpoint passes, compared to Lampard’s runs into the box, finishing and long shots. The majority of Chelsea fans have been frustrated at McEachran’s lack of first team opportunities, despite seeming like he has the ability, like many other youngsters he’s been loaned out to lower league clubs. Maybe this next season is his chance to shine? If not the season after?
Now I may get a hammering for putting David Luiz into midfield, especially further up in Essien’s old role. But I feel both have similar energy and endurance, tearing around the pitch, smashing tackles in, the odd long shot. Luiz is a bit more impulsive, but I feel this will be the first thing Mourinho will address, slightly controlling Luiz more, cutting out his mistakes. Let’s be honest, if we cut out his mistakes and odd silly moment, he isn’t far away from what Essien was in his prime?
Yes I know, I’ve left Mata out, I apologise, I don’t have a particular reason except that Oscar and Piazon are younger and more natural wingers than Mata who is better when deployed more centrally. Mata will definitely be in the first team, whether he retires at Chelsea is yet to be seen, but his love for the club certainly suggests so, so yes, Mata would be in the team, but I’ve gone for even younger. And yes, the exact same can be said for Hazard, but I’m looking further ahead, what if Hazard leaves for Madrid?
Piazon is a great player, definitely ready for the first team, but unfortunately Hazard, Mata, Oscar, Moses and Marin were brought in; so he was shipped out, not to any lower league club, but to Spanish “there-or-thereabouters” Malaga. Playing in the Spanish first division will give Piazon the experience he needs to put up a fight for a starting position at Chelsea. Although he isn’t in the same mould as Arjen Robben (Piazon can use both feet…), they are both direct and attacking runners always looking to cut inside.
Oscar will definitely maintain a starting spot in the future, that right side of the attacking trio is a good position for him, as his end product is always sublime. Joe Cole used to have a decent end product to him (used to), no way near as good, and Oscar definitely doesn’t fanny around with the ball as much.
When Lukaku first began getting his name out into European football, the similarities between him and Drogba were obvious to see. Possibly a little bit nippier, but if two players were ever cast from the same stone, it would be these two.
If Mourinho is to bring back his pioneering 4-3-3 formation from old, he will need that “target man who can occupy two defenders at once” (can’t remember which pundit said that, but it’s been said a lot), Lukaku is definitely the man for the job, very agile and terrifically strong. His season at West Brom has helped him no end, next season he needs to get a starting position in the team, and if Mourinho has a Drogba-type player at his disposal, why not?
So I’ve thought quite far into the future, bearing in mind what Mourinho has said about staying for the long term and utilising the youth system at the club, I’ve chucked together a team in the same mould and formation as Mourinho’s old Chelsea.
Obviously we will buy players, but we can never predict, especially with Roman in charge, so I’ve stuck with players who are currently on Chelsea’s books.
Agree, disagree? Using Chelsea’s current players (loanees etc.), what do you think Mourinho’s future team will look like? I’ve gone for in 5-10 years time, but what about next season?