Many class players wore Chelsea’s shirt throughout the years and picked the finest eleven.
Defeating Crystal Palace in the weekend, Chelsea won the fifth English league title in club history, in a season when their success is hardly came as a surprise for anyone who bet on sports in the UK. This is their fourth title in the Premier League era and the third with Jose Mourinho. Ten years have passed since they celebrated their first championship with the Portuguese manager, so this is a perfect moment to list Chelsea’s best ever Premier League eleven.
• The pillars of the successful Chelsea
• The most dominant defence
• Goal scoring and creative backs
In the first part, we discuss the rather defensive players, and we will list the real magicians in the second piece, including the best ever footballer of the Blues, as well as the best player in England at the moment. However, as Chelsea had a lot of excellent and cultured, attacking minded defenders throughout the years, there will be quite a few players with good goal scoring or creative, play-making ability in this part too.
1. Petr Cech
Petr Cech is the definitive Chelsea goalie. Or at least he was until an even better keeper, Thibaut Courtois took over his place in Chelsea’s goal. Since the Czech was the Blues’ first choice goalkeeper for a decade, winning three league titles, a Champions League and a Europa League trophy, we had to include him in our starting line-up and to sit the Belgian on the bench. So, his sub is Thibaut Courtois.
2. Branislav Ivanovic
The Serbian defender earned his place in the starting line-up and gained some attention from punters betting at online sportsbooks in the EU first when he headed two goals against Liverpool at Anfield in a Champions League quarterfinal. Though usually playing at right back or in the hearth of the defence, he has been a regular scorer since and a key member of the team that won two titles and the Champions League in the last five years. Sub: Dan Petrescu.
3. Ashley Cole
He made his name at Arsenal as one of the best attacking left backs in the world but in 2006 he moved to city rivals Chelsea to seek further successes as well as to make more money, angering the Gunners’ supporters naturally. However, his move was justified with time as Chelsea succeeded not just in the Premier League but in the Champions League as well, while Arsenal won virtually nothing since Cole left them for Stamford Bridge. He joined AS Roma last year. Sub: Greame Le Saux.
4. Marcel Desailly
The Frenchman was considered as one of the best ball-playing defenders in the world in the ‘90s. He won basically everything a footballer can win, but he claimed most of the silverware to be found in his collection before signing for Chelsea. He joined the London side as a fresh world champion in 1998 and he captained Chelsea until 2004, winning the FA Cup in 2000. Sub: Ricardo Carvalho.
5. John Terry
Terry captained Chelsea throughout the Abramovic era, wearing the armband before his 21st birthday for the first time. Controversy usually did not avoid the commander of the Blues’ defence, as gambling news reported regularly, however it wasn’t a distraction for him, being a key player in every Chelsea success since the turn of the millennium. Sub: William Gallas
6. Michael Essien
At the peak of the career, Essien seemed to be able to run through a brick wall with the ball glued to his foot and score. The tireless and robust Ghana international was useful when defending and at building attacks as well, scoring some important goals for Chelsea during the eight years spent in London. He was like an updated, attacking version of his midfield partner, his sub in this list, Claude Makelele.
When putting together the starting line-up, we more or less minded the actual posts of players, thus creating a team that could mind as well represent Chelsea at an event as a Blues’ All-Star team. We were more liberal when it came to naming the substitutes, but the second string could still be fielded in some charity match featuring a Chelsea XI somewhere in the future.