With 2020 ushered in with a fairly average display against Brighton, we were all having a little debate with each other as to what has been and what was the the Chelsea Team of the last Decade.
In a 10 year period where Chelsea had scored so many goals, had so many amazing games and won so many trophies, including the one with the big ears, it’s hard to pick a team of just eleven guys to name as the men of the decade, but we decided to get it done. So, I whacked a message in the group chat and we got to it. I picked the brains of some of the finest minds in the Chelsea Echo and they gave me their answers. These are the players that can go into the Chelsea Echo Team of the Decade
Daniel Childs: In truth – there was only ever going to be one choice in this position. Despite Thibaut Courtois filling the role from 2014-18, the Belgian’s efforts pail in comparison to the legendary status of the Czech, earning his label as the club’s greatest ever shot-stopper in May of 2012 – when he saved not one..not two..but THREE penalties to capture the Holy Grail in Munich.
Chelsea Harper: An obvious one here. The man spent over 10 years with Chelsea up until 2015 – helping us with the Champions League with crucial saves in the final and penalty shoutout.
Shayan Ali: Petr Cech: Arguably the best goalkeeper Chelsea have had. No one can forget some of the crucial saves he made.
Paree: Cech was a pretty standard choice for me. Everyone says Drogba was the hero in 2012, but personally it was Cech, who saved a penalty in Extra-Time to take us to penalties where he saved two more to take us to Champions League victory.
Louis Beneventi: Absolutely no questions here. Chelsea’s best ever between the sticks and a big part of that spine which was so strong for so many years. Went the right way for every penalty in Munich and is deservedly up there with Peter Schmeichel as one of the Premier League’s greatest.
Daniel Childs: The Serbian might have faded in his final years and had elements of his game that were frustrating, but the defender’s ability to pop up with major goals in key moments for the Blues means he cannot be overlooked in this decade.
Shayan Ali: Was Chelsea’s best right for years. Was a attacker’s nightmare and a danger in the opposition box. Scored for Chelsea whenever they needed him.
Louis Beneventi: “Louis, praising Ivanovic? What?!” Yes I know, it was an infamous conversation I had in October 2016, but hindsight is a beautiful thing. As much as his final 18 months at Stamford Bridge didn’t cover him in glory, there’s no doubt Branna is up there as one of Chelsea’s greatest ever full-backs. It was always a big debate during the early-to-mid 10’s if Ivanovic or Pablo Zabaleta were the Premier League’s best right-back, and rightly so. The Serbian always fought for the shirt, and was an absolute beast.
Daniel Childs: There aren’t many players who have been as individually successful as Cahill during this decade, truly transforming his career and fortunes within a couple of months. Simply winning everything the game has had to offer in the space of seven years is a remarkable feat – there is only one Gary Cahill.
Chelsea Harper: The centre-back was adored by the Chelsea fans and gave absolutely everything to the team.
Paree: Cahill makes one part of the the centre-back partnership. The man has ‘won it all,’ and was always a solid player for us.
Louis Beneventi: Ever-present, always reliable and an absolute steal in January 2012 for £7 million. Spent a very solid 7-and-a-half years in Chelsea blue. Always a threat a set-pieces and was an old school English defender.
Daniel Childs: Chelsea’s greatest ever Captain might have been shunned in a majority of Premier League teams of the decade – but he’ll get his due credit here. In many ways you could argue Terry’s best seasons came within this decade when he played every minute of Chelsea’s title winning season in 2014/15 – at the age of 35 was head and shoulders the league’s best centre back. Both Andre Villas-Boas and Rafael Benitez shunned his usefulness with injuries pilling up, but it was the return of Jose Mourinho – the same man who helped transform his career in 2004 – to revitalize Terry and help get him back to his imperious best. Their couldn’t of been a more fitting and emotional farewell to Terry’s glittering career than lifting another league title in front of his beloved crowd for one last celebration.
Chelsea Harper: Captain, leader, legend. One of the greatest men to put on a Chelsea shirt – the club just isn’t quite the same without him.
Shayan Ali: Has been the spine of the Chelsea’s defence for years. Was vital to Chelsea’s success in Europe and played every single minute in 14/15 as he helped Chelsea to win another Premier League title
Paree: Won it all and was the captain for all of our big triumphs. One of Chelsea’s best ever.
Louis Beneventi: Don’t really need to say anything here. Best defender in Premier League history, and kept it going right to the end of the 2010’s. Mr. Chelsea. He doesn’t walk into this team, he doesn’t need to put in that effort. The man saunters in.
Daniel Childs: What is likely the hardest position to select in this eleven due to the two outstanding candidates in contention for it. Ashley Cole, despite leaving in 2014 – played a major role in Chelsea’s run to Champions League glory in 2012. That clearance against Napoli in the first leg still sticks out as a sliding doors moment within that season. Cole, to many, is the best English left back there has ever been, so leaving him out feels an impossible choice. However, for longevity and solely based on the effect within this decade – the nod goes to the man Chelsea fans call Dave. It’s hard to look past Mourinho’s quote that would love to have eleven Azplicueta’s on a pitch – which is emblematic of how vital the Spaniard has been to Chelsea’s success. A player who has consistently put in exemplary defensive displays on the biggest of occasions, shutting down the deadliest of attackers – he truly is a coaches dream.
Chelsea Harper: As the current Chelsea captain, it would be rude not to include this man. He’s now been with Chelsea for 8 years and was one of the most underrated players in his time.
Shayan Ali: When it comes to consistency Cesar Azpilicueta has been the most consistent defender for Chelsea in this decade. He adapted to every position in the back line and he has always delivered.
Paree: Azpilicueta just makes the team over Ivanovic, due to his consistency over the last seven years and the unfortunate downfall of Ivanovic in his last season at the club.
Louis Beneventi: It was a really hard choice to make between Ashley Cole and Azpilicueta for my left-back, but Dave edges it for me, but that’s only because he was here for more of this decade. Obviously if this was an all-time XI, Cole walks in. Azpilicueta has been a reliable presence in the side, playing across the whole backline, and has always given a solid performance. In my opinion, until a couple of years ago, this man was one of the most underrated players in the Premier League. Deserved,y in this side.
Chelsea Harper: A Chelsea legend who played such a big role in our early decade success. Arguably one of the best left backs during his time.
Paree: Ashley Cole had to make the team due to being the best English fullback in history.
Daniel Childs: Despite all the furore under Maurizio Sarri, Kante was able to add goals to his game and prove why he’s so much more than just a defensive midfielder. A ball winner, tackling of perfection, can drive, can sprint, can score goals and – at his most rampant – appear to cover every length of grass on a football pitch. Is there anything N’Golo can’t do?
Chelsea Harper: Deemed as one of the greatest in the world, Kante became one of the most important players for Chelsea in this decade.
Shayan Ali: Signed for Chelsea from Leicester in 16/17. Was crucial to Chelsea’s title win. Kante is brilliant at what he does. Brilliant at breaking up play. Never stops running and forces the opposition to make mistakes.
Paree: Kante is struggling this season with Frank playing him in a different role, but he was vital to our title win under Conte and will be known as one of the best midfielders talent wise to ever grace the club.
Louis Beneventi: £32 million. An absolute snip for one of the best midfielders in the world who was so pivotal with Nemanja Matic in the 16/17 Premier League winning season. He has continued to be one of Chelsea’s best players whilst being at the club, and the question that could be raised now is if Kante is better at the Makalélé role than the man himself…
Daniel Childs: There won’t be many who have glided with as much ease across the Stamford Bridge turf like Fabregas. The playmaker caught the imagination of fans with his passing ability, ungodly eye to find the right pass and a connection with a talismanic striker who would storm Chelsea to several titles.
Shayan Ali: Was a massive signing for Chelsea, as helped them win the Premier League in 14/15 and 16/17. Watching him play for Chelsea was a joy. His connection with Diego Costa was something special, and his significance for the side in his first season was massive, where he got 18 assists.
Louis Beneventi: A major coup when we signed this man. Fabregas and Diego Costa were the two missing pieces of Jose Mourinho’s puzzle ahead of the 14/15 season and both were rampant on a run to the Premier League title. Fabregas’ sexy one-touch set-up for Andre Schurrle’s goal against Burnley in the the first game of that season was a tantalising taste of what was to come. Also, Fabregas is magic, he wears a magic hat, he could have signed for Arsenal…
Daniel Childs: Chelsea’s greatest ever player cemented himself with that tag by becoming the highest goalscorer in the club’s history, overtaking Bobby Tambling with 203 when he netted two at Villa Park in 2013. He captained Chelsea in to two European triumphs against Bayern Munich and Benfica. Who can forget the 27-goal season in 2009/10? All of this adds a conclusion to a remarkable career which has now come full circle with his return into the dugout. An irreplaceable talent.
Chelsea Harper: No argument here. Now the head coach, Lampard will always remain as one of the greatest Chelsea heroes.
Shayan Ali: The stats speak for itself. Chelsea’s all time top scorer. Had a brilliant season under Carlo Ancelotti in 2010 as he scored 20+ goals. One of the best midfielders of all time.
Paree: Lampard had to make the team, as he kept his goal scoring form and managed to become the club’s highest goal scorer this decade.
Louis Beneventi: Another one which needs no other comment that, “Frank is in the team…”
Chelsea Harper: The man who delivered the corner for Drogba’a goal in the Champions League final. Sometimes forgotten by Chelsea fans after his move to Manchester United, but he had his career highs in a blue shirt.
Paree: Leaving out Fabregas was hard, but Mata winning player of the year twice meant he had to make the team. He was a magical player to watch.
Shayan Ali: Chelsea’s guard. He was re-signed by Mourinho in 2014 from Benfica, and he was the perfect CDM for the team. Teams struggled to get past him and played a huge part in Chelsea’s title success in 2015 and 2017.
Daniel Childs: The player that defined Chelsea in this decade. The then young starlet joining a week after the club’s greatest ever night seemed like the start of a new era. Whilst the spine of the team began to fade with the likes of Cole, Lampard, Cech, and John Terry departing – Hazard was the man tasked to take up the mantle. The Belgian provided the club with a litany of memorable solo-goals. West Ham, Liverpool, Tottenham and many more have been subject to the wizardry of the winger – his best goal surely coming against Arsenal in 2017, where he spun Francis Coquelin to the floor on his marauding charge towards goal.
Chelsea Harper: One of the most talented players in the world – he was absolutely crucial to the team during his time with the club.
Shayan Ali: Chelsea signed Eden hazard from Lille in 2012. He carried this team on his shoulders. Scored magical goals. A defenders nightmare. It would take a second for him to turn the game around. Easily Chelsea’s player of the decade.
Paree: Eden Hazard was the easiest. For me, the most talented player to ever play for this club, and without him I am confident we would’ve won less than half of the trophies we have done this decade.
Louis Beneventi: Despite a rocky start to life at Stamford Bridge, the tricky little Belgian found his feet and did so to great ability. He dragged us kicking and screaming through the decade (other than that one year, but we don’t speak about that), was one of the Premier League’s greatest of the decade and rightly got his move to Real Madrid. Thank you for the memories Eden. You were a joy to watch.
Daniel Childs: A nuisance, a disruptor and eventually too much of a headache for Antonio Conte to handle – but that’s what made the troublesome goal-getter an instant cult hero around SW6. Even if his time in Blue was short, he put himself amongst the greatest strikers to ever play for Chelsea. His physicality might have been his most obvious trait but his technical ability was a sight to behold at his best. With a bundle a goals, lots of boos from opposition fans and heroic qualities that made him one of the most cherished players within the decade by supporters, Diego truly was one of a kind.
Chelsea Harper: Opposing teams absolutely fear this man. His short but brilliant period at Chelsea will be highly regarded by Chelsea fans.
Shayan Ali: Chelsea struggled to replace Costa since he was sold in 2017. He always fought for the badge. The Chelsea fans loved him as he was scoring goals consistently and he never went down without a fight. Him and Fabregas were a deadly duo in the Premier League.
Paree: Costa was an aggressive player, the power who we needed at times and opposition fans hated us more for having him, making every single goal and trophy he was involved in even sweeter.
Louis Beneventi: Absolute basket case, and that’s why we loved him. It’s been impossible to replace this man’s fire and that’s why he goes in my team. He’s the guy you loved when he played for you, and hated when he was against you. A real team player, and an absolute monster that the opposition struggled against. Especially Martin Skrtel.
Daniel Childs: His right foot provided Chelsea fans with not only the greatest moment for the club within this decade, but also the now most iconic memory since Chelsea’s inception in 1905. His performances and important goals in run to European Glory immortalised him forever within Chelsea’s history. He started the decade winning the Golden Boot in Chelsea’s enthralling title triumph under Carlo Ancelotti, netting another final winning goal against Portsmouth from a free-kick to secure the double.
Chelsea Harper: The player who ultimately won us the Champions League trophy. There will never be another quite like Drogba.
Shayan Ali: Didier drogba also known as Mr Wembley. Always reliable and whenever Chelsea needed him he would step up. The man for the big occasion. He was the main reason Chelsea won the UCL in 2012 in Munich.
Paree: Drogba turning up whenever we needed him, and he’ll always be remembered for THAT moment.
Louis Beneventi: Munich. That is all.
The Final XI
So, after much deliberating and reviewing of the options, the team of the decade is named. We combined the votes and unfortunately, Ashley Cole just misses out with Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic. This is the Chelsea Echo’s Team of the 2010’s, and we’re excited to see what the 2020’s hold. Let us know your thoughts of the XI!