Frank Lampard has chosen his best combined side from Chelsea’s title winning seasons of 2004/05 and 2016/17, leaving out Didier Drogba for Diego Costa.
Lampard played a key role in the Blues’ first Premier League title win under Jose Mourinho just over a decade ago, and was asked by the Premier League to select a combined XI of players from that side and members of Antonio Conte’s recent winners.
“I’ve chosen a back four because it helped me get the players I wanted to get into the team,” he said.
“I played with [William] Gallas, [Ricardo] Carvalho and [John] Terry in that team, and they were so strong. I didn’t want to change that too much, but I just had to get [Cesar] Azpilicueta in there. I think he’s been brilliant in his seasons at Chelsea. He’s improving all the time, professional, can do that solid right-back job. He’s one of the best in the world.”
Owen Hargreaves, who helped select the side, explained the midfield selection of Claude Makelele and N’Golo Kante.
“He’s got the perfect two hoovers in behind in Makelele and Kante,” said the pundit, referring to Lampard’s position as an attacking midfielder.
“These two do a job for the balance of the team. Then you think about Frank and Robben and Hazard and Costa. Drogba, at this time, hadn’t regularly featured.”
Lampard explained further the omission of Drogba.
“If you ask me the best players and teams over a period of time, Didier Drogba is in there every day of the week. But if we are looking at that first year, Didier played some games, Eidur Gudjohnsen played some games, so for the consistency of this season, I’ll go for Costa.”
He added: “The biggest problem I had was with myself really. This wasn’t my favourite position.
“I don’t see where I would have played with the back three at Chelsea now. He’s got pace in the team with Hazard and Pedro or Willian, and I didn’t have that much pace!”
Frank Lampard’s combined Chelsea 2004/05 and 2016/17 XI
Azpilicueta Terry Carvalho Gallas
Robben Lampard Hazard