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Would Any Of Chelsea’s Current Side Get Into The 04/05 Team?

 • by Thomas McIlroy
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It looks like there is no stopping this Chelsea side on its march to the Premier League title.

If they do win the league, it will be their fifth since the name change to become the Premier League in 1992.

But how do the current crop compare to the first team to lift the Premier League trophy for Chelsea back in 2004/05 under Jose Mourinho?

At the same stage of that season, the Blues were in a similar position, top of the league after 24 games.

They had 61 points and were ten points clear of second-placed Arsenal.

This Chelsea side are currently on 59 points, nine clear of second-placed Tottenham.

2016-17 Chelsea XI 0405v1617 090217 (4)

And would any of their current team (above) get into the 2004/05 side (below)?

Chelsea's starting XI 2004/05

In goal

Petr Cech was the main stay of the imperious Chelsea under Jose Mourinho.

In their first title winning season, he played a crucial part in a number of records, including the fewest goals conceded in a Premier League season – 15 – and the most clean sheets kept in a season – 25.

They are both phenomenal records and are unlikely to ever be beaten.

With Thibaut Courtois this season, Chelsea have already conceded 17 goals, and while that is the second-fewest in the league this season, it is still more than Cech in that entire season.

Petr Cech in goal for Chelsea in 2005

The two goalkeepers both have similarities, in that they came in and replaced established ‘keepers at Stamford Bridge, Cech with Carlo Cudicini, and Courtois replacing Cech himself.

If Cech hadn’t have had that head injury, you could argue that he would have been the greatest Premier League goalkeeper of all time.

While Courtois is good, he does not have that aura that Cech did that he would simply not let in a goal.

VERDICT: Petr Cech

Ricardo Carvalho in action for Chelsea

Defence

Since Chelsea switched to a 3-4-3, Chelsea have conceded six goals and while they have conceded one more than Tottenham so far this season, it’s widely regarded that the defence is practically impenetrable.
But Chelsea’s 2004/05 triumph was also built on rock solid foundations.

As we mentioned, they kept a staggering 25 clean sheets with a back four of Paulo Ferreira, Ricardo Carvalho, John Terry and William Gallas.

The Carvalho and Terry pairing is arguably one of the great Premier League pairings of all time.

While Cahill and Luiz have impressed in a 3-4-3, if you look at their performances as a pair this season, they were nowhere near as good – they were the defensive pairing in Chelsea’s 3-0 loss to Arsenal that forced Conte to switch formation.

The pair have both partnered Terry in the past and they just don’t compare to Carvalho.

Current right wing-back Victor Moses is clearly not a defender and would not get in ahead of Ferreira, but Cesar Azpilicueta, who is playing as a right centre-back, could give him a run for his money.

Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta

Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher described the Spaniard as the best full-back in England, despite him not playing there at the moment.

“Azpilicueta is the best defender in the league,” he told Sky.

“If there was any full-back who I’d want on my team it’d be Azpilicueta, straight in.

“You know what you’re getting week in, week out.”

And his consistency wherever he plays would mean he would surely get ahead of Ferreira, however good the former Porto man was.

The left-back position is interesting – neither Gallas nor current left wing-back Marcos Alonso will go down in history as great left-backs.

Gallas was naturally a centre-back, while Alonso definitely looks better in the left wing-back role than as a left-back.

If it was a year later, Ashley Cole would have won hands down, but purely for Gallas being part of that ridiculously good defence, I would plump for him in a 4-3-3 over Alonso.

Verdict: Cesar Azpilicueta, Ricardo Carvalho, John Terry, William Gallas

Claude Makelele and Tiago

Midfield

There are only a handful of midfielders who have their position named after them, but Claude Makelele’s superb performances sitting in front of the back four saw the position dubbed the ‘Makelele role.’

He would make it into any team, so it’s pointless even debating his place.

Ahead of him sat Frank Lampard and either Tiago, Eidur Gudjohnsen or Joe Cole – although Tiago was the most natural of the three there.

Lampard was the Blues’ top league scorer with 13 and it was only fitting that he scored twice when they clinched the title at Bolton.

Mourinho made him into one of the best midfielders in the league and there is no doubt that he would have to make it into a combined XI of the two.

This Chelsea team’s midfield pairing of N’Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic is one of the best in the league – they would have to be to keep Cesc Fabregas out.

The two have an understanding, with the Frenchman hailing Matic in Chelsea magazine in November.

Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante

READ MORE: The Rise Of N’Golo Kante

“In the game, we can understand each other,” he said.

“When he goes forward, I stay back. When I go forward, he stays back.

“When you play together, it’s good to understand each other and I think it is a good partnership.”

While the two are obviously a very good partnership, it is unlikely either of them would get in ahead of Lampard, but the other midfield place is obviously up for grabs.

And after winning the league at Leicester last season and more likely than not helping Chelsea to the title this season, Kante has to make it in.

He is box-to-box, never stops running, and is probably the closest thing Chelsea have nowadays to Michael Essien, who filled that role in the next season.

And he just never stops. He is third in the table of tackles made in the Premier League this year, behind Idrissa Gueye (92) and Jordan Henderson (88) with 82 tackles. Last season, he was top with 175 tackles.

But what is actually more interesting is that when it comes to fouls committed, Kante is in 19th in the league with 34, while at Leicester, he ended the campaign in 25th place having given away just 43 fouls.

He is just so effective and there is no way Mourinho would not have loved him.

VERDICT: Claude Makelele, N’Golo Kante, Frank Lampard

Eden Hazard and Diego Costa at Chelsea

Attack

The attacking three both this season and back in 04/05 inspired fear in defences.

Mourinho’s front three of Damien Duff, Arjen Robben and Didier Drogba screamed goals, as does the current Chelsea outing of Hazard, Pedro and Diego Costa.

They are both very similar with wingers who are not just pacy but talented with the ball at the feet with an eye for goal.

And both strikers are the perfect Premier League striker – big, strong, good with the ball in the air and on the floor, capable of easing past a defender and finding the back of the net.

In many ways, Costa is the modern day Drogba.

In that 2004/05 season, Drogba may have only scored 10, while Costa has 15 so far this season.

Didier Drogba at Chelsea in 2004

READ MORE: The Next Generation: Didier Drogba vs Romelu Lukaku

But Drogba was everything Mourinho wanted in a player, and however good Costa may be, there is no way he would get past the Ivorian in that title-winning side.

If you look at the wingers, Robben and Hazard were similar, while Pedro and Duff took less of the plaudits but probably did more of the running and the work.

While you would be tempted to say Mourinho would probably end up going with Pedro and Duff, seeing Hazard and Robben play together would be breath-taking.

Robben was phenomenal when Chelsea won the league, and if he had Eden Hazard alongside him, that team could well have gone on to be one of the very best of all time.

VERDICT: Arjen Robben, Eden Hazard, Didier Drogba

Chelsea's combined XI

Overall, while this Chelsea team may go onto great things, only three of the current team would have made in into Mourinho’s first title winning side in England – Azpilicueta, Kante and Hazard.

Check out our look at who could leave Chelsea in the summer.

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