There was a Chelsea Football Club before Roman Abramovich walked through the doors of Stamford Bridge, and so too once he sells up.
The Russian billionaire decided to sell the west London side after 19 years at the helm, has attracted some of the world’s best players to Cobham, allowing fans to dream beyond belief.
Whether it be Eden Hazard or Joe Cole, N’Golo Kante or Claude Makelele, Diego Costa or Didier Drogba, the west Londoners can flaunt their extensive history with pride.
So, we Carefree Chelsea at football.london, present you four starting elevens comprising Abramovich‘s best signings – let us know whose side is the best and give us your elevens in the comments section.
Jake – Hazard makes the cut and Mata misses out
4-3-3: Petr Cech; Cesar Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Gary Cahil, Ashley Cole; Cesc Fabregas, N’Golo Kante, Claude Makelele; Eden Hazard, Didier Drogba, Joe Cole
Straight off the bat, I want to make it clear that my selections are heavily influenced by players I’ve had the privilege of watching live for Chelsea.
I’d love to have been able to watch Ricardo Carvalho during his prime years at the Blues live; of course, I had the chance to watch him live at Chelsea but just not his prime years, which he’s primarily remembered for.
The midfield speaks for itself, but a part of me wanted to include Juan Mata – Fabregas, Kante, and Makelele are just untouchable in my books, unfortunately.
With the front three, I’d have loved to have squeezed in Diego Costa, Nicolas Anelka, Salomon Kalou or Florent Malouda, for example, but Hazard, Drogba and Cole are just unrivalled Abramovich era signings.
Anita – Ashley Cole & Branislav Ivanovic as wingbacks
3-4-3: Cech;Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Ricardo Carvalho; Branislav Ivanovic, Cesc Fabregas, N’Golo Kante, Ashley Cole; Eden Hazard, Arjen Robben, Didier Drogba
I thought I’d think a little bit out of the box here. My favourite formation in recent years has been the 3-4-3 with Antonio Conte’s 16/17 season coupled with Tuchel’s Champions League-winning regime. It’s appealing on all levels and just needs a manager that can wield the sword.
Therefore, my team manager will be no other than Thomas Tuchel himself.
I know what you’re thinking. How will Cole and Ivanovic look at wing-backs? They’re a menacing full-back pairing, beasts in defence mode, but they have that killer instinct in front of goal. However, we’ve seen wicked brilliance in their runs on the byline and clinical finishes when gifted with opportunities in the box. The right manager will bring the fire out in them attacking wise, just like how Tuchel has done with Ben Chilwell and Reece James.
Wouldn’t you love to see overlaps on the left and right with Robben and Hazard coupling with the wing-backs?
Daniel – Diego certain, Thiago Silva irresistible
4-4-2: Cech, Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Carvalho, Cole, Hazard, Fabregas, Kante, Arjen Robben, Diego Costa, Drogba
Once we settled on only signings in the Roman Abramovich era, it made things slightly easier given no Frank Lampard or John Terry. The 4-4-2 felt the fairest formation for me. You cannot make this team without Costa, one of the most impactful signings over the past 20 years, who led Chelsea to two Premier League titles.
Thiago Silva’s pure excellence since signing in 2020 gets him in this team, a European icon who has become a beloved player in a short space of time. Carvalho, Cole and Azpilicueta round out a defence of pure footballing class. Both Cesc Fabregas and N’Golo Kante being in the team makes me very happy, two players who I just adore watching for their unique talents. Hazard and Drogba are pretty self-explanatory.
I had the most significant dilemma on the right of the attack: do I cram in an Anelka, Malouda or Micheal Ballack? I’ve gone for Robben because of his brilliance over three seasons as a young winger in Jose Mourinho’s first tenure in west London. His explosive speed, neat trickery and reliable source of goals – a dream wide player.
Scott – Mata the genius, controversial captain Cahill
4-2-3-1: Cech; Ivanovic, Carvalho, Gary Cahill, Cole; Makelele, Kante, Fabregas; Mata, Hazard, Drogba
I probably would have picked Azpilicueta, but I saw my colleague’s sides so decided to flip it give Ivanovic a place in my side. He scored big goals against Napoli, Liverpool and Benfica.
Gary Cahill is one I had to pick due to his quality over a few seasons. He was signed from Bolton in January, and in three and a half seasons, he had won the Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup, League Cup, and Premier League. I could have easily picked Antonio Rudiger, David Luiz or Thiago Silva, but he got the nod due to captaining the side and to the title.
In midfield, I had the hardest decisions to make as I wanted to add favourites of mine like Michael Essien and John Obi Mikel, but I went with my head instead of my heart.
The one I felt I needed to get in was Juan Mata. His goal and assist rate to matches played was outstanding. Anything he did seemed to turn into a goal.
In my three upfront, I’m giving Hazard and Mata a freeroll as Drogba will handle everything as a complete forward if they want to play on twos or play him in behind or try more direct in the air.
Most players pick themselves, but you always leave a brilliant signing no matter who you pick. Get in the comments section and let us know your eleven.