Arsenal vs Chelsea – picking a combined team
Now I’m not one to shirk from a good controversial position, so here’s my pick of a combined team from the two London sides.
Note that the same conditions apply here as they did in the previous post – starting 11, manager and 7 bench players. Remember that I’m neither an Arsenal nor a Chelsea fan – thank God for that…
Disclaimer: Please remember that when you carry out this ‘combination exercise’ between two top teams like Arsenal and Chelsea, the decisions are based on the tiniest of differences as in most cases both players will be very close in terms of ability. So don’t take too much offense and realise that with a slight adjustment the decision can easily go the other way.
Ready? On we go.
Manager: Arsene Wenger
Starting 11: Cech, Gallas, Toure, Terry, Ashley Cole, Fabregas, Essien, Lampard, Joe Cole, van Persie, Henry
Bench: Lehmann, Boulharouz, Carvalho, Makelele, Ballack, Drogba, Robben
Score: Arsenal 7-12 Chelsea
Note that this team is being picked for this season – that is, it’s a one-off season based on current Arsenal and Chelsea squads. I’ve picked an alternative team later on in this article for a squad for the next 3 years.
Several tough calls to be made here and I’m sure people will disagree. The ones I think could have gone either way I’ve put in bold.
Mourinho vs Wenger – Under Wenger, Arsenal have had the capability to explode into action once properly motivated. The squad picked is balanced and needs little motivation to perform at a high level. Wenger will be better suited to this squad (even if it has 12 Chelsea players).
Cech vs Lehmann – Lehmann is a better shot-stopper, Cech is more agile and can command his box much better. Cech over the course of the season. Getting hit in the face by a football doesn’t make you a better keeper…
Gallas vs Lauren – It would be a travesty to leave Gallas out of the starting 11. He is the best defender out of the 5 central defenders picked, although in this case I’ve put him at right-back because I’m sure that Gallas will do a better job there than Lauren and Eboue (not to mention Ferriera).
Toure vs Carvalho – Toure’s faster and stronger – and along with Terry can form a frighteningly powerful central defensive pairing.
Ashley Cole – Easy, dead easy.
Essien vs Makelele – I see Essien as the long-term successor of Makelele at Chelsea and he is already outshining despite being made to play at out of position. It’s a shame United missed out on him.
Lampard vs Ballack – Could have been a tough choice until you realise that Fabregas already provides the creative impetus in mdifield. With an attacking, goal-scoring midfielder the main requirement, you’d be foolish to dismiss Lampard’s record for Chelsea.
Fabregas vs Ballack – The Arsenal youngster fills in the creative role while Ballack is slightly alien to these 4-5-1 conditions where he will have to share his midfield with two other strong midfielders. Ballack is good, but is he up to the pace and physical strength of the Premiership? He could excel next season, but right now I’d bet on Fabregas and Essien and Lampard.
Joe Cole vs Rosicky – Rosicky has a deadly long-range shot, but Cole has the drive to make things happen and is, overall, a better player on the wing. I don’t want to leave Rosicky out, but the long-range shooting is covered in this squad and so are the creative skills.
van Persie vs Robben – both players are outrageously talented, but van Persie wins this one because of a greater willingness (albeit marginally) to be a team player.
Henry vs Shevchenko vs Drogba – If you had to pick one striker, who would you pick, really? The Arsenal man wins, over and over and over again.
Bench – Boulharouz for right-back, and Carvalho for the centre-backs (with Gallas providing cover across the back four). Makelele comes in for his defensive strengths and plus a Makelele-Ballack midfield in a 4-4-2 is too delicious to leave out. No Sheva on the bench – sorry, Droggie wins it for the Premiership, at least for this season while Robben is the impact sub.
Made this list considering that we were building a team for the next three years (and for this season only).
Manager: Mourinho (give Mourinho a team for 3 years (and limit his funds) and he will put out a crack squad of storm troopers).
Starting 11: Cech, Lauren, Gallas, Terry, Cole, Fabregas, Essien, Lampard, Joe Cole, van Persie, Henry
Bench: Cudicini, Toure, Boulharouz, Baptista, Ballack, Drogba, Robben
Score: Arsenal 7-12 Chelsea
Why?: Well, the squad is young apart from Lehmann, Sheva, Ballack, Makelele and Gallas, so age doesn’t make much of a difference here. Cudicini is a bit younger than Lehmann so is likely to last 3 years, while Gallas, Sheva and Ballack will probably last as well. Makelele? Sorry mate, you’re out.
Now it’s your turn – let me know your starting 11 and manager pick for a combined Arsenal and Chelsea team, according to the criteria listed here. Oh and don’t forget to mention which club you support