Jose Mourinho admitted earlier in the season that he was yet to decide on his best starting XI.
However, as the Portuguese coach gets to know the adopted group of players at his disposal in west London, it appears that he is favouring some over others.
With the sheer amount of talent in the Chelsea squad, there are obviously going to be some players that will be disappointed to be left out, and Mourinho’s latest comments are not good for England.
The former Inter and Real Madrid boss has admitted that when everyone is fit, he may well be forced to leave Gary Cahill on the bench, as John Terry and David Luiz are his preferences at the heart of his defence.
“I don’t enjoy leaving good professionals on the bench, but that’s life,” Mourinho said ahead of this weekend’s clash with Cardiff.
“I trust Gary. I want to help him, not make his life difficult. I would never do something that could jeopardise his selection for the national team. But at this moment John and David are playing well and giving stability.
“The most important thing is Chelsea. The second thing is the players. The third thing is the national team. That has to be my ranking. But all three can work together.”
Cahill has formed a partnership with Everton’s Phil Jagielka at the heart of the England defence, and is clearly a player that Roy Hodgson will look to bring to Brazil next summer.
However, with the former Bolton man potentially missing out on the bulk of Chelsea’s fixtures, a rethink of the Three Lions’ starting XI could be necessary closer to the tournament.
Cahill has been compared to Terry over the years due to the pair’s similar attributes. Neither has been blessed with blistering speed and as such rely on strength, positioning and organisation at the back. Both are willing to put their bodies on the line for their side and have excellent leadership qualities.
Luiz on the other hand offers pace and poise on the ball. There is still an argument that the Brazilian could be used in central midfield as an enforcer, but Mourinho seems to prefer him at the back.
As such the balance of one ball player and one stalwart seems like a good match. This means that Cahill will need to oust Terry from the side if he wants to play, which seems highly unlikely. The former England captain is still a commanding figure for Chelsea and a favourite of Mourinho.
Cahill will still be given the chance to play as the Blues have a bumper fixture list in a range of competitions, but the presence of the Luiz-Terry partnership may mean he misses out on important Premier League and Champions League clashes ahead of next summer’s World Cup.
Who do you think are Chelsea’s best options at centre-half?
image: © Ben Sutherland