Gary Neville names his strongest Chelsea XI: Who's in and who's out?

Former Manchester United right-back Gary Neville has had his say on Chelsea’s best XI.

Picking Chelsea’s best XI out of a number of world-class players is a tough proposition, but Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville has given it his best shot.

Ahead of the Blues’ thrilling 6-3 victory over Everton at Goodison Park, the former Manchester United right-back wrote on social media network Twitter that Jose Mourinho’s team selection on Saturday was his strongest XI available.

The team included: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic, Matic, Ramires, Hazard, Fabregas, Willian and Diego Costa.

A number of selections were then debated by Chelsea supporters who caught wind of Neville’s Tweet, with the addition of Brazilian internationals Ramires and Willian seen as the most controversial.

Since joining the Stamford Bridge outfit in 2010, Ramires’s performances have often seen him dubbed a box-to-box midfield sensation and on his bad days a complete liability.

He isn’t a vocal midfielder, nor is he the type to chip in with a number of goals and assists over the season. He is, however, underrated by the vast majority.

Last season, Neville went further in his praise of the 27-year-old and labelled the midfielder as the most underrated player in the Premier League.

Willian, on the other hand, arguably has more competition for a place in Mourinho’s starting line-up as the likes of Andre Schurrle, Oscar and Mohamed Salah all vie for the same spot.

Despite not offering such a big goal-threat, Willian’s defensive attributes work in tandem with Hazard’s marauding attacks down the left and Mourinho is a stanch advocate for team balance.

  TeamPosGoals / appsTotal Att Assist / appsWon Tackle / appsBall Recovery / appsAppsMins
André Schürrle Chelsea FW 0.27 0.97 0.97 1.93 30 1,326
Oscar Chelsea MF 0.24 1.45 1.52 3.73 33 2,143
Mohamed Salah Chelsea MF 0.20 0.90 0.70 2.60 10 500
Willian Chelsea MF 0.16 2.60 1.40 4.36 25 1,677

As demonstrated by the Opta Stats table, last season Willian scored on average less than his fellow attacking midfield teammates yet he shone in other areas.

He provided on average 2.6 chances per game – more than his teammates - and despite recording slightly less tackles than Oscar, his average of 4.36 ball recoveries per game shows what an asset he is to the side.

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