Chelsea Players at the 2014 World Cup

With well over two months until Chelsea get back to Premier League action, the majority of the squad will be spending their summer in Brazil, taking part in the biggest football competition in the world. No fewer than 17 of Chelsea’s current squad are making the trip to the World Cup, including a few who are set to depart the club this summer.

Here is the full list of Chelsea players who are looking to make their mark on this summer’s tournament, a list which spans eight countries and three continents.

Brazil – Luiz, RAmires, Oscar, Willian

Hosts Brazil have no fewer than four Chelsea players in their squad, and they all have a good chance of appearing in the tournament opener against Croatia on the 12th of June. PSG-bound defender David Luiz is joined by midfielders Ramires, Oscar and Willian. In total, that’s around £119million worth of talent by today’s prices. The latter three could well be returning to Stamford Bridge with another medal, as Brazil are many people’s favourites to lift the trophy for a record sixth time.

Cameroon – Eto’o

Brazil are joined in Group A by Cameroon, so Chelsea’s four Brazilians will face off against Samuel Eto’o on the 23rd of June. Eto’o only signed on a one year deal last summer, and is widely expected to move on during the close season. With Croatia and Mexico joining them in Group A, the Africans face a tough task to make it out of the group but Eto’o has one last chance to show what he can do on the biggest stage of them all.

Spain – Azpilicueta, Torres

Spain have called up Cesar Azpilicueta and Fernando Torres for the defence of their World Cup trophy. This is Azpilicueta’s second international tournament for Spain, following last summer’s Confederations Cup. Torres makes the final 23 man squad ahead of Alvaro Negredo and Fernando Llorente, after finishing as top scorer at his last two international tournaments. They are joined by Brazilian-born Diego Costa, who is set to join the Blues from Atletico Madrid this summer.

England – Cahill, Lampard

Despite John Terry and Ashley Cole retiring from international football, Chelsea still have two players in the England squad for the World Cup. Gary Cahill will be there, and he’s likely to start at the heart of the defence. Frank Lampard, who is set to leave the club this summer, has been named vice captain for the tournament and should have a key roll in helping to protect a lead and close games out late on… assuming England get themselves into such a favourable position.

Nigeria – Moses, Mikel, Omeruo

African Champions Nigeria boast three Chelsea players in their squad. Victor Moses, who spent last season on loan at Liverpool, John Obi Mikel and Kenneth Omeruo, who finished the season on loan at Middlesbrough, are all included. Nigeria are due to face Lionel Messi and Argentina, but with Iran and Bosnia making up their group they have a great chance of making it to the knockout stages of the tournament.

Germany – Schurrle

Andre Schurrle is Chelsea’s only representative in the Germany squad, who are the third favourites to lift the trophy. Schurrle made the European Championships in 2012, making two appearances. He has forced his way in to the Germany team as a more regular starter since then, but with their abundance of talent he faces a fight to start in their first game of the tournament against Portugal on the 16th of June.

Ghana – Atsu

Christian Atsu joins former Chelsea man Michael Essien in Ghana’s World Cup squad, with the Black Stars set to face Schurrle’s Germany in Group G. Atsu joined from Porto last summer, and spent last season on loan at Vitesse Arnhem. Ghana face the USA in their group opener, which is a rematch of their last 16 clash from South Africa four years ago. With Germany and Portugal in their group, Ghana look unlikely to make the knock-out stages for the third consecutive occasion, but this is football so you just never know.

Belgium – Hazard, Lukaku, Courtois

Tournament dark horses Belgium have three Chelsea players in their squad, although two of them spent last season on loan. Eden Hazard is joined by Romelu Lukaku and Thibaut Courtois in the squad, but Hazard’s younger brother Thorgan missed out despite being named in the 30 man squad. This is their first World Cup appearance since 2002, but their young, talented squad means they are the fifth favourites for the trophy, according to the bookies.

Chelsea v Atletico Madrid: The Last Three Meetings

Chelsea are just 180 minutes away from their 3rd Champions League final, as is manager Jose Mourinho. Standing between the 2012 winners and a trip to Lisbon are La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid.

The Spaniards knocked Barcelona out in the last round, a result which has been called an upset but really isn’t. Atletico are a very good side, who will pose Chelsea a major threat over the two legs. Many pundits have put Chelsea as comfortable favourites, but the Blues have got a massive job to do at the Vincente Calderon on Tuesday night. So, ahead of this crucial game, here is a look back at the three previous meeting between these two sides.

Chelsea 4-0 Atletico – Wednesday, October 21, 2009.

The first ever competitive meeting between these two went rather well for Chelsea, who ran out 4-0 winners and topped their Champions League group, finishing 11 points ahead of third placed Atletico.

Soloman Kalou opened the scoring late in the first half here, and then he doubled the lead seven minutes in to the second half. Frank Lampard put Carlo Ancelotti’s side 3-0 up before a Luis Perea own goal completed the rout. A repeat of this in the next meeting at Stamford Bridge is very unlikely.

Atletico 2-2 Chelsea – Tuesday, November 3, 2009.

The return fixture also had four goals, but they were shared as Atletico picked up one of the three points they managed in that season’s competition. The game was deadlocked after an hour, until a certain Sergio Aguero gave the hosts the lead.

This was back in the days when Chelsea had a world class striker, and it was Didier Drogba who got them back in the game. He equalised with eight minutes left, before putting Chelsea ahead on 88 minutes. Aguero scored a late equaliser for the hosts, and the points were shared.

This was the last time these two sides met in the Champions League, and fans of omens will enjoy what happened later that season. Chelsea won the Premier League on the final day of the season, while Jose Mourinho won the Champions League, beating Bayern Munich in the final. How Chelsea fans would love a repeat of that.

Chelsea 1-4 Atletico – Friday, August 31, 2012.

The last meeting between these two came on the back of Chelsea’s 2012 Champions League win. Atletico had won the Europa League the season before, and they faced the Blues in the UEFA Super Cup in Monaco.

Chelsea were expected to win in their first Super Cup appearance, but it didn’t quite work out that way. Atletico’s Falcao, now plying his trade at Monaco, scored a brilliant hat-trick to win the game for the Spaniards.

Things didn’t start well for Chelsea when Falcao put his side ahead after just six minutes. The Colombian added a second with barely 20 minutes gone, and then completed his hat-trick just before half time.

Miranda popped up with a 4th for Atletico, ensuring this was a game to forget for the Pensioners. Gary Cahill pulled a goal back for Chelsea, but they were never really in this game. Most of Chelsea’s current squad were around back then, so you really have to hope that doesn’t play on their minds going in to this game. Falcao may have gone, but Atletico have another dangerous threat up front in the form of Diego Costa.

Jose Mourinho’s Worst Five Chelsea Signings: When The Special One Wasn’t So Special

Jose Mourinho is undoubtedly a Chelsea legend and the self-proclaimed Special One is loved almost universally by Blues fans. His personality may not be to the liking of everyone but nobody can argue that he doesn’t offer entertainment and, most importantly, he has delivered results… and silverware. His first spell at Stamford Bridge brought Chelsea their first league title for 50 years and was followed by another the following season whilst he also brought them success in the FA Cup and League Cup.

His sides were created with the wealth of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and signings such as Didier Drogba and Ricardo Carvalho were essential to the club’s success. However, let us not be fooled; nobody, not even the Special One is perfect and along with the many gems he brought in, Mourinho also spent many a Russian Rouble on dross. Here we “celebrate” Jose’s five worst Chelsea signings… can you think of any worse?

Andriy Shevchenko

We have to be fair to Mourinho and acknowledge that Sheva wasn’t a signing orchestrated by him. It is widely accepted that it was Abramovich who was the key man behind this signing but the fact remains that Mourinho was in charge (technically at least) at the time and so he has to be ranked as one of Jose’s worst transfers.

The Pensioners paid an eye-watering £31m for the AC Milan star, the owner having become convinced that the man who was a legend in Italy and his native Ukraine would help his side to Champions League glory. Shevchenko had scored more than 180 league goals in little more than 320 games for his previous sides but, as any shrewd fan was well aware, he had lost a yard of pace and was very much on the wane. Approaching 30 years of age, his best days were behind him and despite a goal on his debut Sheva was a total disaster, scoring just nine goals for the Blues before leaving on a free. £31m well spent there!

Shaun Wright-Phillips

Wright-Phillips was signed from Manchester City for the princely sum of £21m, which was a lot of money back in 2005! At this time the mere fact of a Chelsea enquiry for a player virtually doubled the asking price and £21m was undoubtedly far too much to pay. Wright-Phillips was a good player and on his day he could turn a game with his pace and shooting but sadly his days were few and far between. He was a player who had potential but never, ever really looked like fulfilling it and at times had the look of a headless chicken. He had three years at the Blues before moving back to City for around a third of what Chelsea paid for him. Now in the Championship with QPR his England record of 36 caps and six goals is misleading: he was a major Mourinho miss.

Khalid Boulahrouz

Signed from Hamburg for “just” £7m, Boulahrouz never made the grade at the Bridge and played just 13 times. Signed for his flexibility and the ability to cover a number of different positions, it soon became clear the “the Cannibal” wasn’t good enough in any of them. He was loaned to Sevilla, who took six games to realise he wasn’t for them, before moving to Stuttgart. His aggressive style should have suited the Premier League but he gave away too many fouls and lacked class, although injuries also played a part in his Chelsea demise.

Asier Del Horno

Del Horno was signed from Athletic Bilbao for £8m and played just one season at Stamford Bridge. He made just 25 league appearances for the Blues, scoring one goal, before being sold to Valencia for a small loss. Not a total disaster like some of the others… but just rather pointless!

Jiri Jarosik

Jarosik, a Czech international, was one of a number of poor midfield signings made by Mourinho and whilst he was a relative bargain at around £5m he was never more than a fringe player who lacked the ability to be a Premier League success. 23 appearances for his national side hint at why the Special One signed him but he was another who failed to fulfil his potential and 14 Premier League outings over one season before leaving for a large loss earn him a place on our list.

All players are from Jose’s first spell at the Blues as we feel it’s a little early to judge his latest signings. Time will tell if players such as Willian, Andre Schurrle and Nemanja Matic will succeed or fail but we doubt any of them will be worse Chelsea signings than our five unfortunates listed above.

Champions League Draw Gives Chelsea Great Chance of Making the Quarters

The draw for the last 16 (I won’t call it the Round of 16 for love, money or even a promise that the Blues will win the Champions League!) has been made and Chelsea have been rewarded for topping their group with a relatively easy tie against Galatasaray.

It’s hard to say what exactly is and isn’t a good tie but Jose Mourinho will probably be glad to have avoided both Bayer Leverkusen and AC Milan and, with the advantage of playing the home leg second, the Pensioners have a great chance to progress.

Gala are no mugs and have some top players, not least of course a certain Didier Drogba, with whom Mourinho got his wish to be reunited here. It will be no easy task to win through to the quarter finals but on balance the extra experience and class of the Pensioners should be enough to see them ease past a side that somehow finished ahead of Juventus in Group B.

The bookmakers make Chelsea firm favourites to see off the Turks, with Mourinho and co priced at 2/7 to advance, compared to 7/2 for Drogba and his colleagues. That looks about right and given Real Madrid beat Galatasaray 6-1 in Istanbul and 4-1 in Spain it should be relatively comfortable for the Blues.

Mourinho will be sure to guard against complacency but all Chelsea fans will fully expect their side to get the job done, despite the stuttering nature of the campaign thus far. The sides met in this competition in 1999 at the group stage, Chelsea winning 1-0 at the Bridge and a highly impressive 5-0 in Istanbul and whilst such a comprehensive victory seems unlikely here it would be a major surprise if the Blues were eliminated.

Elsewhere, Man United got the best draw of the lot, David Moyes’ side set up to play Olympiakos, whilst Arsenal and Man City were duly punished for failing to top their respective groups, earning daunting ties against Bayern Munich and Barcelona respectively. The draw is completed by AC Milan v Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen v Paris St-Germain, Schalke v Real Madrid and Zenit St Petersburg v Dortmund.

The draw has had relatively little impact on any side’s overall prospects of winning the Champions League and whilst the Blues have a great chance of making the next round, to win the tournament they are still going to have to beat at least two and possibly three of the top, top sides in Europe.

Bayern Munich are probably a step ahead of the rest, with the Spanish giants Real and Barca behind them and then a group of around six teams who will all need to improve and probably have a good slice of luck too if they are to deliver. Of course, any team in the competition has a chance to win it but by the quarter finals we are likely to have seven great teams (and Man United!) left and making the semis is going to be tough, even for a side that can boast Mourinho’s great record in Europe’s premier competition.

Jose Mourinho’s Top Five Player Signings for Chelsea

For all Jose Mourinho’s self-proclaimed specialness, it has to be said he is not afraid to splash the cash when he wants a player. And though there have been some highly profligate and questionable signings (£21m for Shaun Wright-Phillips for one), he has also picked out some absolute crackers. Here, in no particular order, are the five we think were the best of the bunch:

Ashley Cole – £5m from Arsenal

A slightly controversial transfer (at least from the point of view of Arsenal fans) as Ashley Cole made the trip across London to sign for the Blues after the Gunners offered him what he thought was a derisory wage package that would be worth around £55k a week. Roman Ambramovich’s pockets were deeper, and Chelsea more than doubled his wages, and Blues fans were glad they were.

Costing just £5m (and a then out-of-sorts William Gallas), Cole proved his worth as not only a dependable defender, but one of the best full backs of his generation. He has earned over 100 England caps and made more than 220 appearances for the Blues. A great piece of business for one of the world’s best defenders.

Didier Drogba – £24m from Marseille

Perhaps the best of Mourinho’s signings, Drogba was unheard of to the average football fan when he emerged onto the Premier League scene as the most expensive Ivorian player in history.

People soon learned his name as the powerful striker battled for everything and won almost all of it. With a penchant for scoring goals when it really, really mattered (he’s the only player to score in four FA Cup finals), the burly front man scored 100 goals for the blues in just 226 appearances. Most Blues fans feel his scoring ability, power and pace has never been replaced. Their feelings are spot on.

André Schürrle – £18m from Bayer Leverkusen

One of the signings from Mourinho’s current tenure (we didn’t feel the need to include Willian’s £30m move!), André Schürrle has all the attributes to make him a Chelsea great. He can tackle, shoot with power and accuracy, set up play, has great vision and doesn’t shy away from the rough and tumble of the Premier League.

While some would argue it is too early to include the former Leverkusen man, we think they will change their tune in the coming months, especially if he plays a starring role for Germany in the World Cup in Brazil.

Michael Essien – £24.4m from Lyon

Essien has been one of Mourinho’s favourites for years, the Portuguese boss having signed him back in 2005 then taking him on loan to Real Madrid in the 2012-13 season. He was voted Chelsea fans’ Player of the Year after the 2006-07 season when he was the driving force (alongside Frank Lampard) of the midfield.

A dynamic and powerful midfielder with an eye for goal and a tackle to fear, Mourinho no doubt wishes Essien was a few years younger so he could get the best out of him during the manager’s second spell at the Bridge.

Ricardo Carvalho – £19.85m from Porto

Ricardo Carvalho’s rise went in tandem with that of Jose Mourinho, who was his boss at Porto when they won back to back Portuguese titles and the Champions League. Carvalho was voted the best defender in Europe’s premier competition that season, and Mourinho wasted no time in bringing him with him to Chelsea in 2004.

Carvalho proved himself to be a cultured defender who became the perfect foil for John Terry, adding an assured air to the back four. He went on to make 135 appearances for the Blues between 2004 and 2010, when he was again signed by Mourinho who had then moved to Real Madrid. Carvalho remains one of the best Chelsea defenders in the Premier League era.

Top 10 Chelsea Players Of All Time

Okay, here we go, a list that can never please everyone and is sure to have at least some of you shouting, looking on in wonder or pure disbelief and questioning why your favourite player hasn’t made the grade. If you don’t agree make your own list and then you can pick who you want! In no particular order I give you…

  1. Frank Lampard – Let’s start with an easy one. Frank has won trophies galore as a Blues player, has scored a club record 205 goals at the time of writing (from midfield!) and has more than 100 caps for England. Legend.
  2. Petr Cech – Like Frank he has won a huge number of honours and was the best goalkeeper in the world for a couple of seasons when Chelsea were dominating the Premier League. His iconic head gear – donned after a career-threatening head injury – makes him instantly recognisable, but he still dives in where it hurts.
  3. Ron Harris – Okay, maybe not the best player but he was as hard as nails, a Chelsea youth product and captain who would have done anything for the club. Chopper won the FA Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup and made 655 appearances for the Blues. Again: legend.
  4. Gianfranco Zola – About as far from Harris as you could get, Zola was one of the first foreign imports to the Premier League and remains one of the finest to have graced these fair shores. A gentleman with unrivalled vision and awareness and also a role model for Blues youngsters.
  5. Didier Drogba – A forward of a totally different stature and nature to Zola but none the worse for it, Drogba was a beast and was genuinely world class at his best. Power, pace, great finishing and that amazing knack of scoring goals when it really, really mattered (nine goals in nine finals says it all).
  6. Peter Osgood – Another striker and another in a different mould, Ozzy also had the ability to score in the big games, including three consecutive cup finals, the 1970 FA Cup, 1971 Cup Winners’ Cup and the 1972 League Cup (which Chelsea lost!). More than 100 goals for the Blues, he is sadly missed.
  7. Peter Bonetti – Probably controversial to include two keepers but there you go… my list! Bonetti, AKA, The Cat, made 729 appearances for Chelsea and although he has a World Cup medal he would have had a hell of a lot more England caps (he won seven) had it not been for the brilliance of Gordon Banks.
  8. Bobby Tambling – Chelsea’s top scorer until Lampard overtook him, Tambling notched 202 goals for the Pensioners and remains the top league goal-getter.
  9. Jose Mourinho – Let the shouting REALLY begin. Mourinho isn’t a player. Even when he played he wasn’t really a player but he certainly never played for the Blues. Winning the league after a 50 year wait got him near the list, winning it again the following year and throwing in a few cups got him on it. He’s done more than most Chelsea players to bring success to the club, so let’s just say he is an honorary player for the purposes of this list.
  10. Roy Bentley – Bentley was the first Chelsea skipper to hold the league championship trophy over his head. Eight years at the club, top scorer in every one of them and nine goals in 12 for England. And a very nice chap too.

Can Chelsea Win The Premier League This Season (2013/2014)?

This could be an incredibly short article, answerable with a single word: yes. It wouldn’t take much to back such a claim up; a quick glance at the bookmakers’ odds show the Blues as the current second favourites, just behind Manchester City but ahead of Arsenal and Liverpool; equally a look the Premier League table shows Jose Mourinho’s men second in the table.

So perhaps it is a stupid question but after the poor performance against Newcastle and the manager’s disparaging remarks about his own performance and those of the 11 he sent out at St James’ it has to be asked. It is rare to see the Special One so downbeat and so obviously upset and angry and whether his media performance can be filed under “mind games” or was genuine, it was a show unlikely to garner enthusiasm amongst Chelsea supporters.

However, the fact remains that in many areas Chelsea remain the strongest team in the division. Their midfield resources, managerial ability and Premier League know-how, and capacity, if needed, to spend in January are as good as any other side.

Mourinho may not yet know how to get the best out of Oscar, Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Ramires, Andre Schurrle, Willian, Frank Lampard and co but there is no doubt that Chelsea’s creative talent in the middle of the pitch is as good as any club’s, even Arsenal’s.

As for Mourinho himself, few would doubt that his appointment at Chelsea did anything other than seriously improve the chances of success for the Stamford Bridge club. With Man United appointing David Moyes and Man City going for Manuel Pellegrini, Arsene Wenger was the only “big four” manager not new to his post. However, the Special One has a major advantage over the two Manchester supremos because he knows the club, many of the players, the league itself and, most of all, what it takes to win the Premier League.

He assessed the squad quickly and immediately made Wayne Rooney his number one target. Rooney’s form at United has showed that Mourinho was right to covet him and, as with all of the biggest six sides in the land, if the boss wants to sign a player in January then money won’t be a problem. Financial Fair Play is somewhat limiting to all clubs but if Mourinho decides a top striker will be the difference between the title and finishing second then UEFA’s regulations will have to wait.

The bigger problem will be getting the right player and whilst Fernando Torres is playing well he is never going to return to his wonderful best. The Blues would clearly be stronger with Romelu Lukaku but without him they will have to hope that Torres, Demba Ba and Samuel Eto’o can raise their games sufficiently to keep Chelsea in the hunt.

However, perhaps the biggest factor to consider in Chelsea’s title aspirations is their fixtures. Second place after 10 games that have included visits to Man United, Everton, Newcastle and Spurs is not such a bad position. In contrast Arsenal have played just two of the top 10 sides, both at home, and the five points between the teams could easily be recovered once the fixture imbalance is levelled off.

Chelsea have good leadership, both on and off the pitch, a top goalkeeper and the best group of centre backs in the Premier League. Throw in the abundance of midfield talent and the mentality of the manager and the answer is not “yes, Chelsea can win the league” but “yes, Chelsea WILL win the league”.