Chelsea and Arsenal combined XI – Who would make it?

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Updated: April 24, 2015

In the build up to Arsenal v Chelsea this Sunday, I asked friend and fellow writer over at Fresh Arsenal, Curt Goff, to help me pick a combined Chelsea and Arsenal XI.

Having often exchanged arguments over which player is better, which team is better, and countless other topics for conflict, we thought let’s attempt to settle this once and for all.

Before we get in to the meat of the XI we thought let’s wet the whistle with a summary of each other’s team. We did a quick overview of the season, I evaluated Curt’s beloved Arsenal’s season, whilst he broke down Chelsea’s. Then we picked one player from opposing teams we’d most like in to have in our respective squads.

How do you evaluate Arsenal’s season?

Rob:

A second placed finish and another FA Cup triumph has to be considered a successful season for Arsenal. But it’s only a slight improvement on last year’s FA Cup win and fourth place finish. Arsenal fans will be the first to tell you don’t get a trophy for finishing fourth, the same applies to second or third.

With the squad they have there is no reason why they aren’t challenging for the title. I don’t see the big difference between the two squads, I feel Arsenal lack a bit of belief in the big games and that costs them throughout the season. I said it last year, but I’d be very surprised if Arsenal weren’t challenging for the title well in to the final few games of next season.

How do you evaluate Chelsea’s season?

Curt:

When it comes down to their season objectives, you have to examine the high expectations that surround this Chelsea side. Currently top of the Premier League and a Capital One Cup already in the bag, it hasn’t exactly been a boring journey for the fans this year.

However, a 4-2 defeat to Bradford in the FA Cup was the first dent in their season, shortly followed by crashing out of the Champions League knock-out stages in spectacular style. With the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa linking up at Stamford Bridge in the summer, there is no excuse for not challenging further in Europe’s biggest competition. I think the fans know that, and if it wasn’t for the shortcomings of Arsenal and City in the league then they could be facing a proper fight for the title.

But a squad like Chelsea has not only survived on individual talent, it’s the squad depth that has safely secured their consistency. Ultimately the least they deserve is the Premier League. This season could be the starting block for years to come, and next year they will want to add something slightly bigger than a domestic trophy.

Which Arsenal player would you most like in the Chelsea team?

Rob:

That’s a really tough one. Koscielny is one of the best defenders in the league, and he would be a great partner for Terry. Then there is Giroud, he was oddly criticised in his first season, but I’ve always thought he’s a big threat up front, he’s proven that this season. Ramsey has class in abundance and Santi Cazorla’s vision and quality of pass reminds me of another Spaniard I’m fond of, Juan Mata.

But the player who stands out is the ever-present Chilean, Alexis Sanchez. He is so pleasing on the eye, when he is on the ball it always looks like something is going to happen. He runs at defenders and forces them to commit to the tackle. Plus he can score all types of goals, whether it is tap-ins, screamers, you name it he can probably score it. But, what I like the most is his a tireless work rate off the ball, if he loses the ball he makes sure he is the first to try and win it back. Having him and Hazard on opposite wings would be as good as any partnership in the world.

Which Chelsea player would you most like in the Arsenal team?

His goals are fitting proof of his quality, but I simply don’t like his attitude.

Curt:

Obviously the talents of John Terry have been unquestionable yet again, and the fact he’s played in every one of Chelsea’s 32 games in the league is yet more evidence of his consistency.

You can’t ignore the nature of Diego Costa as well, he’s lit up the league in his first season, which is even further proof of a player that can adapt so well. His goals are fitting proof of his quality, but I simply don’t like his attitude. People argue he’s just a ‘winner’ but I get the impression he doesn’t do it for the team, which I know is an opinion which will rile Chelsea fans.

You’ve also got Eden Hazard and the equally talented Oscar to consider, but the player I’d most appreciate having in the Arsenal squad is a rather familiar face.

I would take Cesc Fabregas back in a heartbeat, and not just for the way he conducts himself on the pitch. Since coming through the ranks at the Gunners he has matured year upon year, and is a complete professional on and off the field. His versatility to play defensive and attacking football is what makes him stand out from other players, and I sincerely hope he gets a good reception on Sunday afternoon.

@RobBaney25 and @Curt_goff pick their combined Chelsea-Arsenal XI

Goalkeeper

Thibaut Courtois

Rob: Courtois is a no brainer. Neither Ospina nor Szczesny fill me with too much confidence whilst Courtois is up there with De Gea as the leagues best.

Curt: The talents of the Belgian keeper first came to light at Atletico Madrid, and since returning from his loan move he’s barely put a foot wrong.

Right Back

Branislav Ivanovic

Rob: I like both Debuchy and Bellerin but I don’t think they have the all round game of Branislav Ivanovic.

Curt: He’s been one of the most consistent defenders in his respective position for the last five years, and when it comes to balancing defence and attack, Ivanovic gets the nod.

He would complement Terry far more than Cahill at the heart of the defence

Centre Back

Laurent Koscielny

Rob: Koscielny is one of the best centre backs in the league, he has pace, strong in the air and reads the game well, and he would complement Terry far more than Cahill at the heart of the defence.

Curt: He had a difficult start to his Arsenal career but Koscielny is now in with a shout of making a Premier League starting eleven. The Frenchman has pace, understanding and commitment, all key attributes of a top defender.

Centre Back

John Terry

Rob: I still think Terry is the best, most consistent, defender in the league. He reads the game as well as anyone and as always is not afraid to put his body on the line.

Curt: Possibly the most established defender in the league at present, the former England captain has featured in every Premier League game this season. With Terry in the starting eleven, Chelsea have conceded only 26 goals in 32 games.

Left Back

Cesar Azpillicueta

Rob: Azpillicueta has been pretty solid there all season. Monreal and Gibbs have shown glimpses of what they can do but more in an attacking sense than a defensive one. Azpi is a shoe-in there.

Curt: Cesar Azpillicueta is an exciting prospect and already making headlines. His consistency throughout the season gives him the edge. Gibbs and Monreal have had their moments, but you can’t argue the defensive capabilities of this young man.

The Frenchman outclassed the Chelsea man in every respective field.

Central Midfielder

Francis Coquelin

Rob: Coquelin has been a revelation for Arsenal since returning from his loan spells in the championship. The recent statistic claiming Coquelin was the best defensive-minded midfielder in Europe speaks volumes for his ability. Despite that stat, if choosing just one, I’d still rather have Matic. But I can’t deny having the both of them in front of the back four would provide the perfect platform for the flair players to express themselves.

Curt: Opta recently released their statistics comparing Coquelin and Nemanja Matic, and the Frenchman outclassed the Chelsea man in every respective field. Coquelin knows his job, and avoids getting sucked in to the attack, allowing the front three to be more care-free when it comes to working it around the box.

Central Midfielder

Nemanja Matic

Rob: Wiithout Matic’s power in the midfield Chelsea might not be where there are in the league, he is that important to this side. And he leads from the front in the big games, his performance in the home fixture versus Arsenal was one of his best in a Chelsea shirt.

Curt: Matic has undeniably been just as important as Costa for Chelsea’s season. The midfielder has dropped back this year but still remains a vital cog in this engine as he sits in front of the defence. His pass success rate of 84.9% is just further proof of his abilities when going forward as well.

Right Wing

Alexis Sanchez

Rob: He’s been incredible in his first season in the Premier League, scoring all types of goals. His close control is as good as there is in the league. I was surprised Barcelona let him go and at that price, far more value for money than Di Maria. He could quite easily interchange with the other two attackers behind the striker. He is easily one of the first names on the team sheet.

Curt: Realistically you could throw the Chilean into any Premier League team and he’d make a difference. Since arriving at the Gunners last summer, Alexis has 22 goals in all competitions and has ultimately revived the season for Arsene Wenger, most recently providing a brace to launch Arsenal into an FA Cup final date.

Attacking Midfielder

Cesc Fabregas

Rob: Despite the Spaniard’s performance levels dropping off slightly recently, he has still been phenomenal for us for most of the season. The assist’s column speaks for itself. Coquelin’s selection means to get the Spaniard in the team he has to play further forward and consequently Santi Cazorla was very unfortunate to miss out.

Curt: Let’s be honest here, Fabregas simply has to get a call-up into this team. He’s dropped slightly off the pace in recent fixtures, but ultimately the Spaniard has 16 assists in the 28 league appearances he’s made means he’s got to be in the eleven.

If either player was coming off the bench to win you the game, you know who’d you put your money on.

Left Wing

Eden Hazard

Rob: Hazard is without doubt the first name on the teamsheet. In the big games this year the Belgian has stepped up to produce match-winning moments on numerous occasions. Him and Sanchez would be lethal on opposite wings.

Curt: The Belgian winger has recently been put up for this years PFA Player of the Year award, which means we’d be stupid to not include him. Hazard boasts an impressive 18 goals and 10 assists since the season began, and his versatility means he can feature in any of the front three positions.

Striker

Diego Costa

Rob: He’s been troubled with injury of late but is still only one goal off the top goalscorers in the division. He had an incredible start to the season and has been more than a nuisance to defenders all season. Oliver Giroud has been very good this season, but Costa has that extra desire that sets him apart.

Curt: You can’t deny the talent Costa has provided Chelsea this season. He won’t be troubling us this weekend as he recovers from a slight injury, but the striker is just one goal away from the title of top goalscorer in the league. His hunger and desire to win is what sets him aside from Olivier Giroud, and if either player was coming off the bench to win you the game, you know who you’d put your money on.

The Final XI – Do you agree?

Chelsea-Arsenal combined XI

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