This weekend will see the return of the English football season, much to the delight of football fans across the world who like me, have spent the last few months suffering from severe boredom caused by a lack of football to watch and support. Something about this season starting just seems different, it’s tough to pinpoint why but when I turned on Sky Sports News today to see the ’92 Live’ campaign happening, I just think to myself that this season could well be very special….. which brings me to the subject of this article, our very own special one, or the newly named ‘happy one’, Jose Mourinho. Here we will look at the possible starting line ups that Mourinho might use for the opening day of the season against Hull City on August the 18th.

Looking at the squad this season it looks strong, even without the addition of Wayne Rooney that still looks very possible, Sami Khedira and Danielle De Rossi that all still look to be possible. Mourinho will certainly have more strikers at his disposal this season with or without Rooney. Will he look at the possibility of changing the formation to incorporate playing two strikers, perhaps using Mata or Rooney as a supporting striker? I would not rule it out. We have already seen that Mourinho prefers to bulk out the midfield with him using a 4-3-3 formation in pre-season so far. Last season we saw the pro’s and con’s of using the usual 4-2-3-1 with the midfield quite often being over ran and out paced during our opponents counter attacks, leaving us vulnerable at the back. So let’s look at the options.

Realistically it will more than likely be 4-3-3, but who will get the nod on match day one? I believe this could be likely. I feel this team would give us stability, using a re-invented Michael Essien in the holding role for his strength and break up play, Mata having the free role, Oscar will be supporting defence and attack whilst looking to play make in midfield. I believe Hazard and De Bruyne would be very dangerous on either flank, with their pace, direct play and ability to pick out a pass and a cross. Lukaku’s strength, aerial ability and all round bullying style centre forward play, will be ideal to play as a solo front man and will be dangerous on the end of the service from Mata, Hazard, De Bruyne and Oscar. A solid and reliable back four will be Mourinho’s preferred choice I feel.



Ivanovic   Cahill   Terry   Cole


   Mata               Oscar

Hazard                           De Bruyne


Of course, there will be a number of players who will be on the brink of starting this line up and it could just as easily be the below option if Mourinho feels he needs more strength in midfield, more pace from the full backs and more composed play bringing the ball out from the back and perhaps a different option up top. There are also others who will be looked at like Schurrle, Moses, Ba and Van Ginkel who will all be very much in the frame for a starting position. We must also remember that David Luiz might well be used in midfield as he did well doing last season and Van Ginkel could well be preferred to Lampard quite often this season. I think Mourinho will develop Oscar in more of a central role this season, in my opinion this is where his talents suit best and he will come in to his own there this season.


Azpilicueta  Luiz   Terry   Cole


Lampard    Ramires

Mata                             Hazard


So, let’s have a look at where Wayne Rooney would fit if the deal happens. Obviously in this formation he would play as the solo front man and can be effective there, but in my opinion, Rooney likes to dip deep and can be stronger when playing a little deeper, in the hole, in a free role or as a support striker. Here is how it could look with Rooney being used. In my opinion there are two options, the below is 4-2-3-1. Using this formation we would see Mata, Hazard and Rooney constantly interchanging as Mata would not enjoy staying out wide and we would loose his effectiveness, equally Rooney likes to drift wide, gain space and create, so this could work well. We’d have to be disciplined in midfield and I believe our two best men for this role would be Ramires for his battling, strength and pace along with The Bison for his composure, strength and break up play, thus allowing the boys in front of them to play and create.


Ivanovic   Cahill   Terry   Cole

   Essien   Ramires

Mata   Rooney   Hazard


Finally, we might see a total change altogether and flip to a more 4-4-2 looking formation incorporating two strikers, but for me this is highly unlikely.


Azpilicueta   Luiz   Terry   Cole

Moses   Van Ginkel   Ramires   Hazard



This formation would allow Mata to play a much more advanced role and with his ability to finish a chance as well as to make one, this could work well and see him score more goals as he won’t need to worry too much about his defensive duties. The midfield four will have to stay focused and make sure they know their roles, Moses and Hazard will have to learn to play a more defensive part and allow the full backs to go past them whilst they provide the cover. I don’t think we’ll see this and if we do, it could well be Rooney in the support role with Lukaku/Torres ahead of him and Mata might be asked to play wide.

Whatever Mourinho goes for, you know it will be organised and effective, we will see training ground coaching moves time after time and it will be a joy to watch. We have the attacking capabilities to tear teams apart, but I want to see more defending as a unit, more discipline and players knowing their roles and working for each other. Mata will once again be key for us this season, as will the central midfielders whoever they may be. I think Essien could be pinnacle, early signs are that he is getting back to the player he once was and he really has a chance to nail down that holding role for us this year, because that role will be hugely important. Lukaku is the striker we were missing, an old fashioned direct bully who uses power rather than skill and has great aerial ability. If you are playing as a lone striker, you need those traits, you have to solely focus on being a centre forward, playing off the last man and getting on the end of everything. He also has a decent touch to go with that.

The countdown continues and we will soon be gathering around our television screens or heading off to the live matches, singing the Chelsea songs once again, football is back!

Simon Phillips – News Editor – Follow my twitter here for the latest news ->> @CFCneteditor

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