As the season ends with Chelsea claiming another league title, former Blues player Gianfranco Zola selected his top 11 players to play for the squad.
Petr Cech in goal was quite an obvious decision, given his consistency throughout the years: “He doesn’t make many mistakes – he has to be in the side,” Zola commented.
Zola picked Branislav Ivanovic over Albert Ferrer for the right back position, who he states “was very good” for Chelsea, although Ivanovic’s ability to score goals put him above.
The Italian then picked captain John Terry and Marcel Desailly for the centre back pairing, stating “John is more outspoken, but you could close your eyes and throw the captain’s armband at the pair of them and whoever it landed on is an incredible leader.”
Graeme Le Saux was picked over Ashley Cole for the left back position, who “gave [Zola] the cross which I backheeled into the goal against Norwich!”
Zola claimed that midfielder Dennis Wise is essential in a Chelsea XI: “He played for us not only for his leadership but for his ability, so he deserves to be here.”
Frank Lampard and Roberto Di Matteo were picked to be in front of Wise in the midfield, with “no explanation needed” for the highest goalscorer in a Chelsea shirt and Zola’s fellow Italian being picked over Gus Poyet.
PFA Player of the Year Eden Hazard was a predictable choice for the left wing position: “If he keeps going at the rate he is he will be talked about like some of the other players in this team,” Zola commented.
Arjen Robben, who spent notably less time at Chelsea compared to Zola’s other picks, was chosen for the opposing wing. Zola stated: “When he was fit, he was simply unstoppable. He was the equivalent of Eden Hazard now.”
Zola was also compelled to include Chelsea legend Didier Drogba in his XI: “I would have loved to have played with him. When he first arrived, he was perfect for the way Jose Mourinho was playing at the time,” he commented. “He could handle one or two defenders and still score. He also had real personality.”