José Mourinho’s new Chelsea seem to be twice the team they were last season and the newcomers Cesc Fàbregas and Diego Costa are the players to be blamed for that. Despite the strong influence of the two Spanish internationals, Mourinho also deserves to be credited for the Blues’ improvement so far this season, as the team looks fairly more confident and particularly more effective than they were last term.
The Portuguese manager made a slight change in the tactical system he tried to implement when he returned to Chelsea and it has been running smoothly up to now. Mourinho transformed his past static 4-2-3-1 formation into a fairly more versatile 4-3-3 system, with Fàbregas and Oscar assuming the playmaking expenses in the midfield line. For next Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League match against Schalke 04, who have been going through a terrible moment, the former Special One will certainly not change many of his usual options.
GK – Courtois – The Belgian goalkeeper relegated Petr Cech to the bench, as he was given a golden opportunity to prove all his worth at Chelsea this season after his successful three year stint with Atlético Madrid. Courtois has been the regular choice of José Mourinho so far this season, although it wouldn’t be strange if the Portuguese manager decided to use the Czech goalie at the UEFA Champions League matches.
RB – Ivanovic – The versatile Serbian defender secured his place at the right side of the defence and his international experience, combined his goalscoring instinct, fairly unusual on players working at this position, will certainly be of great use for Chelsea both domestically and internationally.
CB – John Terry –The Blues’ captain still has a major role to play in the team and although he already turned 33, his influence on Chelsea’s team is quite remarkable. Last weekend, Terry was fairly unfortunate as he scored an own goal that gave Swansea the lead early in the match.
CB – Gary Cahill – The English international creates an excellent duo with John Terry and he has been enjoying a very positive moment so far this season. His good acceleration and tackling skills are a fairly valid complement to John Terry back in defence.
LB – Filipe Luis – The Brazilian left back will probably have his opportunity to shine next Wednesday’s match, since it is likely that José Mourinho will need to give Azpilicueta some rest after his recent quality performances. Filipe Luis, who was one of the most important players at Atlético Madrid last term, has been experiencing some unexpected difficulties in claiming his place at Chelsea’s starting line-up and he has only played about ten minutes so far this season.
DM – Matic – The Serbian midfielder, who was accused of not having enough quality to play at a team such as Chelsea, managed to prove everyone wrong about him, as he quickly transformed himself into a vital element of the Blues’ team structure. Matic is the liaison between the defence and midfield lines and he is also a great complement to the centre back duo when in defensive tasks.
DLP – Cesc Fàbregas – The former Barcelona footballer is probably the element that Chelsea’s midfield line missed last season. His vision and passing skills, combined with his overwhelming creativity, offer the Blues a fairly different game flow from the one they had in the past. He is the main player responsible for building Chelsea’s game from behind and so far he seems to be completely synchronized both with Matic and Óscar.
BBM / AM / AMR – Óscar – The Brazilian attacking midfielder is of great value for the current strategy of Chelsea. His ability to play both in the midfield line or behind the forward allows him to work as the linking element between both lines.
DW – Ramires – The former Benfica player is very versatile and he is able to assume several different roles in the midfield line. Ramires might be the player chosen by Mourinho to occupy the right wing of the pitch, where he will be able to be constantly changing positions with Óscar, causing some unrest and opening breaches on the opposition’s defence line.
LW / IF – Hazard – The Belgian wonderkid was a bit inconsistent last term, but this season he appears to be a completely transformed player. Hazard’s versatility allows him to act both as a winger and as an inside forward or deep lying forward, something that fits perfectly into José Mourinho’s current approach.
CF – Diego Costa – The Brazilian born Spanish forward was the hat-trick hero of the weekend and he has already scored seven times so far this season. Diego Costa brought back the firepower Chelsea missed during the past season and he will certainly be of major importance both on domestic competitions and on the UEFA Champions League matches.