It’s the standard set up for most Premier League teams now, and I can understand why. It provides cover for the defence whilst 3 players have the freedom to support the attack and play the wings. I prefer the central attacking midfielder to have a striking role though – much like Rooney. I think Mata has emulated that for us this season although I thoroughly believe that two strikers can make a significant impact. This would take more of a 4-4-2 shape.
This pretty much goes without saying. Hopefully we have many more years of Petr in goal, but it’s great to know our future rests in the capable hands of Courtois.
Right back: Azpilicueta
Ivanovic has been one of our best players in this position at times, but Cesar has really come along since finding regular first team football. His pace, crossing and defensive qualities make him a complete fullback, and personally I think he’s been one of the best signings this season.
Left back: Cole
An obvious choice, although I’m excited at the prospect of Bertrand who when called upon has really impressed.
Centre back right: Cahill
For me Cahill is a must. He’s everything Terry used to be, but faster and younger. If anything he needs to develop his voice in the back four and become one of our new leaders.
Centre back left: Luiz
This is where it gets difficult. This choice is more for the future as there’s still some room for improvement. I’m basing this purely on his potential and obvious talent. Until recently I would have placed him in defensive midfield, but Luiz is a leader and his partnership with Cahill proved its worth in the Champions League final. The most important factor for me is his pace. Formerly, when a striker like Suarez or Aguero sidestepped Terry, there was no way the skipper would catch them. Luiz is a different story. Just because he’s beaten doesn’t mean he won’t come back to win the ball.
Right midfield: Moses
I’ve been calling for a proper winger for years. Most top sides utilise the flanks and it’s been the key to United’s success. Victor has incredible pace, supports both the attack and defence, he’s competent in the air, strong and possesses a powerful shot. It’d be great to see one of our cheaper signings making regular appearances in the first team.
Left midfield: Hazard
Hazard has to become our best player. Mata is our main man at the moment, but we need an explosive player to become the centre of our performances. Mata’s build up play, creativity, and scoring ability has been second to none this season, but we still need someone who can take the ball from one end of the pitch to the other and score. Hazard has to become our Bale.
Centre midfield right: Ramires
He’s a workhorse in the middle. He can defend and attack for 90 minutes – the closest thing to the Essien of old. Paired with Lampard, he’s more likely to sit back, although they’re great at taking it in turns. Their partnership is the perfect example of how two similar centre midfielders can play together if they have an understanding.
Centre midfield left: Lampard
He’s Lampard. I don’t need to justify this choice. The best player in our history, and If he leaves at the end of the season the heart of Chelsea will die.
Attacking midfield central: Mata
He’s been our best player this season without doubt. Assists, goals and man of the match performances galore. He tends to play on the right although his success has come from behind the striker. This is where he needs to play.
Next season I want it to be Lukaku, but for now Ba is the best striker we have. As much as I’d love to see Falcao next season I really don’t want us to spend £40 million plus when we’ve already spent 18 on a 19 year-old who looks like he can be even better than Drogba. Ba gets the job done though – which is more than I can say for a certain blonde-haired Spaniard. I’d also like to see Ba and Lukaku in a partnership. There has to he goals in that combination.
The omission of Ivanovic, Terry, and Oscar is admittedly controversial even if I have justified my selection. This team does however give consideration to current form and functionality – particularly for the wide position. Ivanovic was the hardest player to leave out. He’s worked incredibly hard for us over the last couple of seasons, but I think he makes one too many mistakes. Our centre backs have to be completely reliable. It was also difficult to leave out Oscar, although he is very similar to Mata except the Spaniard is more consistent and evidently more capable of producing goals.
Written by Chris Edwards
Follow Chris @CynicalCME