What if Chelsea and Tottenham could combine their teams with a Frank Lampard and Jose Mourinho hive mind? The result is seven Blues in the XI.
This Sunday, Chelsea welcome league leaders Tottenham to Stamford Bridge. Needless to say, there is an abundance of talent between the first and third placed teams and choosing a combined XI has been difficult than anticipated. Without further ado, here’s my picks for a Chelsea-Tottenham hybrid.
Hugo Lloris, Keeper, Tottenham
A controversial pick to begin with but bear with me. Edouard Mendy has been a literal game changer for Chelsea with seven clean sheets in his ten appearances so far. It is no exaggeration to say that Mendy is an integral part of Chelsea’s rejuvenated defense.
Lloris, on the other hand, is one of the greatest Premier League keepers of all time and the World Cup winning Frenchman shows no signs of slowing down. Last year he had the second best save percentage (79.6%) across the league and he is second only to Mendy this season. However, Lloris has faced 19 more shots and played almost twice as many minutes so it would be unfair to really compare the two so soon. For now, Lloris is still the most solid and reliable goalkeeper in the division.
Reece James, Right back, Chelsea
Tottenham’s Matt Doherty looks unlikely to start after testing positive for Coronavirus and while his competition, Serge Aurier, has played far above the level we’ve come to expect of him neither player quite compares to Reece James.
What makes James so impressive is that he doesn’t particularly exceed at any one aspect of his game. Instead he is an all-round competent and talented player both defensively and on the attack and he thus makes an excellent start to our combined back four.
Thiago Silva, Centerback, Chelsea
As if having Lloris in this squad wasn’t enough, Silva is another superb leader and he has wasted no time in settling into life in SW6. It comes as little surprise there is already talk of a contract extension.
For the first time in a while, Chelsea look composed at the back and that is in part due to Silva’s ability on the ball. The former PSG man has the league’s best pass percentage (94.4 percent) having made 453 passes. The challenge is deciding who will partner Silva?
Kurt Zouma, Centerback, Chelsea
After Toby Alderweireld was ruled out for up to four weeks picking a second center back became a tougher decision. The injury clears the way for Zouma to join his partner-in-crime at the heart of this defense.
Zouma has been dominant in the air, winning 80 percent of his aerial battles. This has helped him to score more goals (three) than any other defender in the league. It is still early days, but Chelsea’s new defensive partnership has started promisingly.
Ben Chilwell, Leftback, Chelsea
The final defender on this team was the toughest decision to make. Both teams brought in new left backs this summer and both men have absolutely oozed quality in the opening stages of the season.
There is very little to split the two fullbacks. Both have two league assists and very similar defensive statistics in terms of interceptions, tackles and clearances. However, Chilwell trumps his Spanish counterpart in terms of passing, touches and crosses, with 15 more than the Tottenham man.
Both aged 23, expect to see the two competing at the top level for years to come and no doubt frequent comparisons will be made but for now, Chilwell just takes the edge for me.