Player-by-Player Guide to Chelsea's 2013-14 Premier League Squad

Rowanne WesthenryFeatured ColumnistAugust 14, 2013

Player-by-Player Guide to Chelsea's 2013-14 Premier League Squad

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    With less than a week to go until Chelsea’s first Premier League match of 2013-14 against Hull at Stamford Bridge, Jose Mourinho will be looking to finalise his 25-man squad. Although this list does not need to be confirmed until after the transfer window closes on September 2, The Especially Happy One will already have a good idea of the players he wants to use.

    Here is a brief introduction to each of the 25 players who will be pulling on a Chelsea shirt at some point next season, and the roles they will play within the side.

Petr Cech

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    Squad number: 1

    Position: Goalkeeper

    Premier League Appearances: 292

    Premier League Clean Sheets: 142

    Cech’s heroics have seen him rated the third-best Premier League ‘keeper of all time by some, with far fewer appearances than the players in front of him.

    One of Mourinho’s original squad members having signed for Chelsea in 2004, Cech is the only player to have had no real competition for his place in the starting 11. As Thibaut Courtois is spending another season on loan at Atletico Madrid, this will remain the case throughout 2013-14.

Branislav Ivanovic

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    Squad number: 2

    Position: Right-back/Defender

    Premier League Appearances: 141

    Premier League Goals: 13

    After scoring the winner in the Europa League final, Ivanovic has spent preseason alternating with Cesar Azpilicueta on the right side of the back four. Competition between the two right-backs will be fierce throughout the season as Ivanovic looks to add to his goals tally and Azpilicueta chases a place in the Spanish World Cup squad.

    Although Mourinho has expressed a preference for Ivanovic returning to right-back permanently on the club website, his ability to play at centre-half will offer cover should Chelsea suffer a similar injury crisis to the one that hit the back four in 2012-13.

Ashley Cole

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    Squad number: 3

    Position: Left-Back

    Premier League Appearances: 212 (plus 156 for Arsenal)

    Premier League Goals: 7 (plus 8 for Arsenal)

    Ashley Cole has been ever-present in the Chelsea side since his 2006 move across London. His seven years at Chelsea have allowed him to fulfil his ambition to win trophies, and he is the only man to have seven FA Cup winners’ medals in his collection.

    The 32-year-old will see less playing time in 2013-14 as Mourinho looks to transition Ryan Bertrand into a first-team regular. Finding the balance will be tricky, but Cole’s continued mentoring of the youngster will certainly aid the process, while his experience in big games will add balance to the squad.

David Luiz

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    Squad number: 4

    Position: Defender/Defensive midfield

    Premier League Appearances: 62

    Premier League Goals: 6

    David Luiz has been the subject of intense transfer speculation this summer. Following an impressive display at the Confederations Cup, Barcelona have registered an interest in the 25-year old defender. However, according to Massimo Marioni in Metro, Mourinho has made it clear that Luiz is not going anywhere, and that he is a key part of his plans for the future with Chelsea.

    This is unsurprising, as Luiz’s role evolved throughout the 2012-13 season from a slightly calamitous centre-half to an assured defensive midfielder. Although Mourinho has stated he sees Luiz’s future in the back four, his ability to drive further up the pitch could prove to be vital in the season ahead.

    Touted as a future captain and adored by the supporters, Luiz is looking forward to a long and successful future at Stamford Bridge.

Michael Essien

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    Squad number: 5

    Position: Midfield

    Premier League Appearances: 163

    Premier League Goals: 17

    Michael Essien has followed his “daddy” back to Stamford Bridge following a season-long loan at Real Madrid. Once nicknamed “The Bison” for his strength and unstoppable runs through midfield, a series of injuries have seen him sidelined in recent seasons.

    He will provide experience as a squad player, but regular game time will continue to elude the 30-year-old as he nears the end of his playing career.

Ramires

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    Squad number: 7

    Position: Midfield

    Premier League Appearances: 94

    Premier League Goals: 12

    Ramires was one of Chelsea’s most improved players in 2012-13, as he appeared in all but three of their Premier League fixtures. His preseason performances have carried on from last season with four goals from seven appearances, most notably against Real Madrid.

    Ramires is guaranteed regular games next season as his work ethic and skill make him the ideal box-to-box player that Mourinho loves, so much so that he tried to sign him for Inter Milan and Real Madrid, according to ESPN's Kevin Palmer.

Frank Lampard

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    Squad number: 8

    Position: Midfield

    Premier League Appearances: 403 (plus 148 for West Ham)

    Premier League Goals: 141 (plus 21 for West Ham)

    Frank Lampard became Chelsea’s all-time top goalscorer in 2012-13 with his 203rd goal for the club.

    An ever-present in the side since 2001, Sky Sports report that Lampard sees "exciting times coming" with Mourinho, although the midfielder will likely play a different role in the squad this season. At the age of 35, he will be restricted to cameo appearances, but his leadership and experience will remain key to any success for the Blues.

Fernando Torres

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    Squad number: 9

    Position: Striker

    Premier League Appearances: 82 (plus 102 for Liverpool)

    Premier League Goals: 15 (plus 65 for Liverpool)

    Fernando Torres has underwhelmed since his £50 million move from Liverpool in January 2011. Although he improved toward the end of 2012-13, his 15-goal return from 82 appearances is simply not good enough for a world-class striker.

    Jose Mourinho has stressed the importance of improving the service to Torres and building the system around him, as Sky Sports reports. Without a drastic improvement in his overall form, El Nino will certainly find himself playing second fiddle to Romelu Lukaku.

Juan Mata

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    Squad Numnber: 10

    Position: Attacking Midfield/Trequarista/Winger

    Premier League Appearances: 69

    Premier League Goals: 18

    Despite all the rumours to the contrary, Juan Mata will be staying at Chelsea for the foreseeable future. The Player of the Year has brushed aside the rumours that Mourinho has no use for him and is set to put pen to paper on a new five-year deal, keeping him at Stamford Bridge until 2018.

    Mata missed the preseason tour of Asia due to his involvement in the Confederations Cup, and a niggling injury could cause him to sit out the opening game of the season against Hull.

    However, Mourinho has underlined the winger’s importance in the season ahead, and according to Sky Sports, the Portuguese envisions him playing on the right. This will open up the central role for the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Oscar, while ensuring that Mata can continue to provide the lion’s share of goals and assists.

Oscar

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    Squad number: 11

    Position: Attacking Midfield/Midfield

    Premier League Appearances: 34

    Premier League Goals: 4

    Oscar proved himself as the most versatile of the Three Amigos during the 2012-13 season, linking the defensive and attacking midfield while scoring some spectacular goals. His work-rate and skill often went unappreciated as Juan Mata and Eden Hazard hogged the headlines, but this will certainly change next season.

    Often deployed on the right during his debut season, Oscar is a far better fit in the centre of midfield. Mourinho will have recognised this and will rotate him with Kevin De Bruyne to avoid the 21-year-old suffering similar levels of exhaustion to last season, which saw him feature in 64 matches for Chelsea.

John Obi Mikel

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    Squad Number: 12

    Position: Defensive Midfield/Midfield

    Premier League Appearances: 182

    Premier League Goals: 0

    John Obi Mikel was one of Mourinho’s marquee signings in 2006. The Special One moved Mikel back to a defensive-midfield role in the hope that he would become the next Claude Makelele.

    Whilst this lofty ambition has not been reached, Mikel has established himself as a key member of the squad and played his best game in Blue in the 2012 Champions League final.

    With more competition for a place in the centre of midfield, expect Mikel to be used as part of a rotation system in 2013-14.

Victor Moses

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    Squad number: 13

    Position: Attacking Midfield/Winger/Striker

    Premier League Appearances: 23 (plus 74 for Wigan)

    Premier League Goals: 1 (plus 8 for Wigan)

    Victor Moses joined Chelsea from Wigan Athletic in August 2012 and scored on his full debut against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the League Cup.

    Primarily used as an impact substitute, Moses’ goals in the Europa League were key to Chelsea’s progress, and although his form dipped after he returned from the Africa Cup of Nations, he will continue in the same role for the 2013-14 season.

Marco van Ginkel

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    Squad number: 16

    Position: Attacking Midfield/Midfield

    Premier League Appearances: New signing

    Premier League goals: New signing

    Marco van Ginkel joined Chelsea from Vitesse Arnhem this summer, and the 20-year-old has impressed with his performances in preseason. Mourinho has deployed him as a deep-lying playmaker, and his consistency across the seven games will have shown his usefulness as cover for the aging Frank Lampard and Michael Essien.

Andre Schurrle

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    Squad Number: 14

    Position: Attacking Midfield/Striker

    Premier League appearances: New signing

    Premier League goals: New signing

    Andre Schurrle signed for Chelsea earlier this summer for a reported fee of £18 million. An all-round attacking player, Schurrle has had a tough time during preseason. He is suffering from homesickness having left Germany for the first time, and illness has restricted his involvement to cameo appearances.

    Despite this, his versatility will provide Mourinho with options across the attacking midfield as he continues to settle into the squad.

Kevin De Bruyne

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    Squad Number: 15

    Position: Attacking Midfield

    Premier League Appearances: 0

    Premier League goals: 0

    Kevin De Bruyne is one of the many young stars of the future who are looking to make their breakthrough at Chelsea. Having spent last season on loan at Werder Bremen, The Independent's Matt McGeehan reported that the 22-year-old was assured of his place in the Chelsea squad soon after Jose Mourinho returned to the club.

    He impressed on the preseason tour of Asia, scoring his first senior goal in the 4-1 defeat of the Malaysia XI. Injury saw him return to England early, but his swift recovery allowed him to rejoin the squad for the trip to America. He scored his second goal as a Blue against AC Milan, and he will look forward to competing for his place in the attacking midfield for 2013-14.

Eden Hazard

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    Squad number: 17

    Position: Attacking midfield/Winger

    Premier League Appearances: 34

    Premier League goals: 9

    Eden Hazard was one of Chelsea’s stand-out performers in 2012-13. Brought in from Lille for £32 million in the summer of 2012, Hazard bagged one goal and five assists in his first five games. His form dipped halfway through the season as the managerial upheaval and the ensuing turmoil at Stamford Bridge affected him.

    Despite this, his recovery toward the tail-end of the season showed great strength of character, and Jose Mourinho has made it clear that he is a key part of his plans for 2013-14, stating in a press conference following the 2-0 win over Inter Milan “He is a top talent, but it's one thing being a top talent and another being a top player. And I want him to be a top player,” according to Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail.

Romelu Lukaku

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    Squad number: 18

    Position: Striker

    Premier League Appearances: 8 (plus 35 on loan at West Bromwich Albion)

    Premier League goals: 0 (plus 17 on loan at West Bromwich Albion)

    Romelu Lukaku has rejoined Chelsea following a successful season out on loan at West Bromwich Albion. He made the case for his inclusion in the squad with 17 Premier League goals, three of which came on the final day of 2012-13 against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

    His impressive form has continued throughout preseason as he has scored five goals in seven games. Although he found himself isolated in the International Champions Cup final against Real Madrid, his performances have ensured that, as things stand, he will be the first-choice striker at Stamford Bridge next season.

Demba Ba

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    Squad Number: 29

    Position: Striker

    Premier League Appearances: 14 (plus 66 for West Ham and Newcastle)

    Premier League Goals: 2 (plus 36 for West Ham and Newcastle)

    Demba Ba joined Chelsea for £7 million in January 2013 as Daniel Sturridge left for Liverpool. As Fernando Torres continued to stutter in front of goal, Ba struck twice on his debut against Southampton in the FA Cup, going on to score two more in the following rounds against both Manchester clubs.

    His playing time was interrupted by injuries, and his ineligibility for the Europa League further restricted his involvement. However, his goal against BNI Indonesia will have reassured Mourinho of his usefulness as a backup striker.

Mark Schwarzer

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    Squad number: 23

    Position: Goalkeeper

    Premier League Appearances: 0 (plus 504 for Middlesbrough and Fulham)

    Premier League clean sheets: 148

    Mark Schwarzer joined Chelsea as a free agent and will play second fiddle to Petr Cech.

    Only David James has kept more Premier League clean sheets than Schwarzer, and he is hoping to get enough game time to keep his place as Australia’s first-choice ‘keeper for the 2014 World Cup.

Gary Cahill

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    Squad number: 24

    Position: Defender

    Premier League Appearances: 36 (plus 158 for Aston Villa and Bolton Wanderers)

    Premier League goals: 3 (plus 13 for Aston Villa and Bolton)

    Gary Cahill joined Chelsea in January 2012, stating that he had made the move because he wanted to win trophies. He has since won three in the space of 18 months, and he now wants to cement his place at centre-half.

    There are plenty of similarities to be drawn between Cahill and John Terry. Both will go all-out to stop the opposition scoring, and they both have a knack for grabbing goals at the other end. Cahill will likely be among the first names on the teamsheet next season as he works toward securing a place in the England squad for the World Cup.

John Terry

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    Squad number: 26

    Position: Defender (Captain)

    Premier League appearances: 387

    Premier League goals: 32

    John Terry has been ever-present at Chelsea throughout his career. One of Jose Mourinho’s “untouchables” from his first spell in charge, the Blues’ captain has been blighted by injuries in the past two seasons. The years of putting himself on the line for his club have begun to catch up to him, and Mourinho has made it clear to the BBC that Terry is no longer guaranteed a place in the starting 11.

    However, one of the striking observations from last season was the lack of organisation within the team when Terry was missing. While it is certain that he will not feature as regularly for Chelsea as he, and the fans, would like, Terry’s presence in the squad will be key to maintaining the balance between youth and experience.

Cesar Azpilicueta

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    Squad number: 28

    Position: Right-Back

    Premier League Appearances: 27

    Premier League goals: 0

    Cesar Azpilicueta was Chelsea’s bargain signing of 2012, joining from Marseille for a fee in the region of £7 million. He greatly impressed down the right, and his performances pushed Branislav Ivanovic out of the right-back position and into the centre of defence.

    His excellent form for Chelsea led to his inclusion in the Spain squad for the first time, and he will want to ensure that he retains his place ahead of next summer’s World Cup.

Ryan Bertrand

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    Squad number: 34

    Position: Left-Back/Left Wing

    Premier League Appearances: 27

    Premier League Goals: 0

    Ryan Bertrand was an emerging member of the youth team during Jose Mourinho’s first spell in charge at Stamford Bridge. Having been selected by The Special One to join the preseason tour at the age of 16, Bertrand has evolved into a competent understudy for first-choice left-back Ashley Cole.

    His inclusion in the squad provides vital cover both at left-back and on the left wing, and he will be looking to add to his appearances ahead of the 2014 World Cup.

Henrique Hilario

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    Squad number: 40

    Position: Goalkeeper

    Premier League Appearances: 20

    Premier League clean sheets: 7

    Hilario was among the players released by Chelsea at the end of last season, but a change of heart has seen him return to the club for another year. His six years of service as Petr Cech’s understudy have been consistent, and he is quoted by Gill Clark at Goal.com as being “really pleased to be part of this great squad and I'm looking forward to working once again with Jose Mourinho.”

Nathan Ake

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    Squad number: 57

    Position: Defender/Defensive Midfielder

    Premier League Appearances: 3

    Premier League goals: 0

    Nathan Ake was Chelsea’s breakthrough star of 2012-13 as he made the transition from the youth team to the senior squad. He made the bench in the Europa League final having impressed in the quarter final against Rubin Kazan, and made his full Premier League debut on the final game of the season against Everton.

    The 18-year-old recently signed a new five-year deal with the Blues, and although he will likely spend another season straddling the youth and senior squads, Jose Mourinho will be delighted to have such a hot prospect available to him in the years ahead.