What is Chelsea’s Best Eleven This Season?

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The Back Line:

Gary Cahill celebrates scoring Chelsea’s second in the Champions League quarterfinal against Galatasaray. His partnership with John Terry had anchored Chelsea’s backline for a year, and will continue too for several more.

The center backs are set. There’s now question about that, especially now that David Luiz left for PSG (for a tidy £50 million). Gary Cahill and John Terry developed an almost telekinetic relationship last season, and the similarities in their games are uncanny. Although Terry is starting to age, Blues fans don’t need to worry. Kurt Zouma is waiting and ready on the bench, and he is more than good enough to replace the captain, leader and legend.

The fullbacks are where the conversation gets interesting. Filipe Luis was brought in over the summer, and many asserted that he would replace Branislav Ivanovic. Yet, Ivanovic has played every game. The debate comes down to this: should Cesar Azpilicueta, one of the undisputed best man markers in the league, be moved to right back, and Filipe Luis brought in at left back, or should Azpi stay on the left, and Ivanovic stay on the right.

Ivanovic offers a lot to the team. Overall, he is one of the best attackers on the entire team, hitting strong crosses in, and always remaining a goal-scoring threat. But, Mourinho needs to go with Luis.

Why? Because Ivanovic is killing the back line defensively. He is consistently either too narrow, exposing the wing, or too far up, pulling Cahill and Terry apart. The combination of Ivanovic and Andre Schurrle (no great defender himself) on the right leaves many teams licking their lips, and seems to be Chelsea’s only weak spot.

Although Chelsea will lose offensive potential, the defense needs a boost. If Luis is brought in on the left, Azpilicueta can be moved to the right. This will allow Jose to play Schurrle (more on that later), who can cover for the loss of the Serbian’s attacking talent. You will also have two of the best man markers around as your fullbacks. It would be a shame to relegate such a good player to the bench, but an even better one is sitting behind him. Ivanovic can also back up Cahill and Terry, because the Serbian has played center back before. That gives the Blues even more depth.