If I had to describe last season in two words.....false dawn. With the addition of two of the best young players in the world in Oscar and Hazard, big things were expected of this Chelsea side. There was a general feel and consensus among Chelsea supporters, that our style would change drastically from a counter attacking side to a possession based side. Most goals were expected to come from arrogantly intricate interplay instead of the result of a hopeful hoof from Terry to Drogba, or a lung busting run from Ramires after an opposition corner. Granted, the transition has been there, but not really to the level expected. Our half transition if you will, is most effectively demonstrated in the premier league. When we play the likes of Reading, we'll dominate possession. When we play City, we look like the inferior technically lacking, team of old. If i'm being honest, I could never fully get excited about this season, because as much as I love RDM for what he did for us, I knew he couldn't be the man to guide us back to our elite European status. You'll point out that we won the CL last year, but we all know that was through spirit and mental strength, and not through technical quality. We're not in Europe's top 5 anymore, but if there's one man that can bring us back there, it's Mourinho. The squad he's inheriting has already got some bloody brilliant players, and is in my opinion only 3 or 4 off from becoming a superpower again.*This season will be the real Blue Revolution.
*Said in epic high budget American film trailer voice.
- Michael Essien - Lyon (9 million) - It's too painful to watch the bison anymore, I'm sorry. His driving runs through midfield and general beastliness once reminded me of a speeding train. Impossible to stop, foolish to get in the way of. Someone absolutely FUNNED that train up. I swear I saw Koke jogging to keep up with a sprinting Essien in the cup final, this is not on.
- Hutchinson - Nottingham Forest (1 million) - As cool as his story is, he's just not Chelsea quality.
- Bruma - Hamburg (5 million) - Bruma's been decent for Hamburg, so we could get a good price for him. Again, not chelsea quality though in my eyes.
- Marin - Sochaux (4 million) - Souchaux will be looking to replace outgoing young Moroccan Boudebouz. Maybe Marin's previous reputation as the German Messi (shaking my head) could bring about a respectable bid from them, because once again, for a club trying to be up there with the Bayerns of this world, DEFINITELY not good enough.
- Luke Shaw (Southampton FC) - Cole's Successor - (10 million) - Cole is no where near the player he once was despite what the media would have you believe. Still a good left back but wouldn't even put him in the top 5 left backs in Europe anymore. His positional excellence and tackling ability is still there, but his once blistering pace has faded and his attacking threat has severely suffered because of it. In bringing in the best young English left back in the country we may not be getting world class performances in his first season, but give it a few seasons and Shaw will be up there with the best I'm sure. Fantastic prospect.
- Marco Veratti (PSG) - Chelsea's New Regista - (25 million) - Chelsea's biggest weakness is their lack of a deep lying play maker. This is exposed whenever we play the cream of Europe, or even as aforementioned, the cream of the premier league. Our passing movement and possession play is excellent in the forward areas, where Mazacar reside, but the build up play before we get it to them is still painstakingly slow and predictable. This is largely due to the lack of technical ability in players like Mikel, Ramires etc. As Pat Nevin said, a player that gets his head up and moves it forward immediately and smartly in midfield is vital if we want to reach that next stage in our pursuit of beautiful football. This season Luiz probably came closest to providing it, but to varying success. Enter Marco Veratti. A player of supreme technical ability, Italy's heir apparent to the master himself, Andrea Pirlo. Capable of spectacular defense splitting passes, tiki taka one twos, and with astounding ball retention and dribbling skill, the boy is very special and exactly what we need. Only 20 too.
- Jores Okore (Nordsjaelland FC) - Danish Steel - (5 million) - As sad as it is, Terry's right to a start in the Chelsea defence died that night at Anfield last season, when he made Andy Carroll look like an in form Drogba. Luis Suarez constantly nutmegging our captain when he felt like it was reminiscent of Bale's destruction of Maicon at the San Siro a few years back. A shadow of his former self and should only be used sparingly next season. That being said, Terry's been magnificent for us in this last decade, and it will take someone very special to replace such a colossal figure at the club. Look no further than Jores Okore. A strong, skilled, ball playing centre back with the perfect physique required to thrive in his position. When Chelsea went to Nordsjaelland he was the best centre back on the pitch, showing excellent tackling ability, as well as an eye for a pass. He would really compliment the more buccaneering style of David Luiz in the heart of defense. At 20 years old and already this good, I have no doubts, the boy will be world class.
- Juan Guillermo Cuadrado (Fiorentina) - A Special Utility Man (11 million) - Depth is essential to win anything in football. Player for player, our starting eleven was stronger than United's last season, and it showed when we played them. However, it was their superior squad depth which lead them to a 20th title. On the odd game RVP wasn't performing in they could just bring on Chicharito to get that all important 3 points for them. Not only would Cuadrado enrich squad depth as a defender and an attacker, he would just be an all round wonderful addition to the team. I didn't call him a 'special' utility man for nothing. The Colombian is capable of playing any position on the right, has unbelievable pace and flair and is a very gifted and skilful player, not something you associate with a jack of all trades. Having squad players you can rely on to start and win games for your team will be key next season, and this boy can certainly be relied on. Would also be an excellent substitute with a real penchant for the spectacular. Exhibit A:
- Gomes (Tottenham Hotspur) - Cover For The Great Czech - (Free Transfer) - Great shot stopper, would provide excellent cover for Cech despite his sometimes erratic decision making.
CHELSEA 2013/2014 STARTING LINEUP (4-2-3-1)
AZPILICUETA OKORE LUIZ SHAW
MATA OSCAR HAZARD