Chelsea FC, owned by billionaire businessman Roman Abramovich, are a team with riches at their fingertips. Abramovich took over Chelsea in June 2003, and has turned the club into one of the most formidable teams in, not only English football, but around the world. During his reign as chairman, Chelsea have brought in some of the footballing world’s biggest names, such as Dutchman Arjen Robben, who currently plays for German side FC Bayern Munich, and have made players’ into club legends. Didier Drogba spent the majority of his career at Chelsea, and holds a great love for the club who turned him into a superstar. The club have also brought in some very talented youth, including Belgian winger Eden Hazard, who is widely regarded as one of the world’s biggest prospects, and his performances have matched this.
As you may be able to tell from this, the facilities at the club are beyond brilliant, and the youth teams possess some excellent prospects.Chelsea have also been notorious for hiring and sacking their managers frequently, with Jose Mourinho, labelled ‘The Special One’ by himself during his managerial career, their most successful manager since the take-over. However, it was interim manager, Roberto Di Matteo was the one who brought the Champions League, finally, to Stamford Bridge.
Can you emulate their successes, or go one better, and make the club the best in the world?
Finances and BudgetAs the billionaire status of their chairman suggests, Chelsea are an extremely rich club, and so money should not be an obstacle in your quest for success. However, the hopes that Abramovich has for the side are equally high. At the very least, he will expect you to challenge for the title, for which he will give you a transfer budget of £38.5M, and a wage budget of £2.8M. This is enough to build up your team a decent standard while filling in the gaps, however, if you want to bring in some very big names, you should choose the other option, in which he expects you to win the title, which, in exchange for, he will supply you with a very hefty £52M budget, and a £3.2M wage budget, which is more than enough for you to make all the deals you could want, especially after you sell some deadwood, which will increase it.
4-2-3-1 FluidChelsea’s tactic in real life under the last few managers, which has led them to great success, also works very well in Football Manager. The two defensive midfielders are key to this formation, with one of them tending to be more defensive, whilst the other is more free to attack. This allows them to move from defence into their strong midfield areas easily. The central attacking midfield player is also vital, as he can distribute the ball the both wingers, or to the lone striker, who will need to be a good finisher for this tactic to work efficiently. This tactic works well with a control style, such as how Chelsea play in real life, dominating possession.
4-3-3 FluidAnother tactic that works very well for Chelsea, and still utilizes wingers, is this. Wingers are incredibly important to this formation, and allow you to play a wider game. Central midfielders, however, are key. The three midfielders will have to control the whole park if the wingers do not get back to defend, so it is vital that they up their game when this tactic is used. This tactic will also work best with a control style, as the midfielders will do well not to get too far forward, in fear of counter attacks.
4-4-1-1 BalancedThe third tactic we recommend here, is one, which is not one Chelsea have used much in recent times, but is still good enough to do the job, especially against sides which are vulnerable to through balls. This tactic is slightly more defensive that the others, with a man to man style marking in the midfield and defence, whilst the CAM is very useful in order for you to counter, as he can hold up the play waiting for support or also play the striker through. Like the other 2 tactics, the lone striker is again key, as you will be relying on his for most of the goals.
First 11 Positional AnalysisGoalkeeper - Petr Čech is another Didier Drogba type player. Chelsea bought the Czech goalkeeper and he has gone on to establish himself as a legend among ‘Blues’ fans. He is your safest bet between the sticks, with his reflexes second to none. He will do a fantastic job in goal, and you should look no further than the 31-year-old, who should be in the peak of his career. Backup to Čech comes in the shape of Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, with the veteran shot-stopper being snapped up on a free transfer from Fulham in the Summer transfer window. He is one of the league’s most underrated goalkeepers, but his age may be a concern to you, so you may want to bring in a long term replacement. Or, you could turn your attentions to Thibaut Courtois, who is currently on loan at La Liga side Atlético Madrid. Despite the Belgian being so young, the 21-year-old is thought to be one of the world’s best keepers, so you should look to utilize him on his return. In order to keep Čech happy, however, you may want to rotate the two in the second season, as an unhappy Čech may mean unhappy fans.
Right Backs - This position has been held for many years by Serbian international, Branislav Ivanovic. The 29 year old is both very solid defensively, but has shown that he can pose a threat on the overlap, attackingly. His age however, may tempt you to look at your other main option, Spaniard, Cesar Azpilicueta. He is a much younger player, and can play in a multitude of roles, as he has shown in real life, where he has filled in, and potentially taken over for Ashley Cole, whilst he has been injured, in the LB role. He will offer you more of a threat going forward, but he is less of a physical presence. which also comes in play regarding set pieces, where Ivanovic’s height and strength can be very useful.
Centre Backs - Chelsea have always been a very strong defensive side, since their takeover, to the modern day. This has been heavily down to their very capable central defence. The man who has been there since the beginning, is club captain, and legend, John Terry. The 32 year old has been a rock at the heart of the Chelsea defence, and his immense leadership and physical presence should warrant him a starting role in your team. He has two main potential partners, both with very different playing styles. Firstly, there is Gary Cahill, a traditional English, strong, tall centre back. The 27 year old can again be very useful in set pieces, and will be good against stronger strikers. The other option you have is the Brazilian, David Luiz. The iconic hair of Luiz can be seen anywhere on the pitch, with his tendency to roam forward sometimes a problem against teams which like to counter. However, his great skill with the ball, as well as his great free kicks and ability to create a spark when he goes forward is something which you might consider very helpful. The fact that Luiz is a year younger might persuade you to pick him, but be wary, he could leave gaps at the back if you are not careful. In terms of youth in this position, you have a good choice, with versatile Czech, Tomas Kalas able to play there, as well as two very promising talents out on loan, in the shape of new signing Kurt Zouma, who was courted by the likes of Arsenal and Real, and Nathaniel Chalobah.
Left Backs - Ashley Cole may be approaching the later stages of his career, but he hasn’t lost any of his ability. The Englishman is still one of the league’s finest talents in his position, but one aspect you may want to consider is the defender’s wages. At £120,000 per week, many argue that the wages do not befit the 32-year-old’s playing time in real life, with some also saying that he is too old to be earning such a high amount of money. You may wish to sell him in order to free up some more wage budget. Cesar Azpilicueta should be considered a rotation option with Cole, and you may even prefer to choose the Spaniard as a first team regular. He is an excellent player, both offensively and defensively, and the player can deliver some killer crosses, as well as the ability to launch huge throw-ins into the area. Your third option for this role is another Englishman. Considered by a few to be one of the worst players’ to win a UEFA Champions League winners medal, Ryan Bertrand is actually a very solid fullback, and will perform to a more than acceptable standard in the first team. You will, however, be without his services in your first season, with the 24-year-old spending the current season on loan at Aston Villa.
Defensive Midfielders - Chelsea have a good amount of options in the defensive midfield areas, which is very useful if you choose to play the 4-2-3-1 tactic with two 2 DM’s. Primarily, there is the Nigerian, John Obi Mikel. Infamous for his lack of goals during his spell at the club, the 26 year old is very strong defensively, and should be able to hold down one of the DM spots, allowing his partner to roam forward. He is however wanted at the start of the game, and selling him would give you some money which you can reinvest in another, potentially younger and more versatile player in this position. New signing, Nemanja Matic can also play here, and whilst he is more someone for the future, he can still do a decent job if you chose him to start. David Luiz can also play here, and this is a good choice, if you are looking for someone who is fairly solid defensively, but is a bright spark on the attack. Finally,although he is primarily a CM, and is more effective there, Brazilian star Ramires can be played here if need be, and his immense pace and stamina is an asset to any team.
Central Midfielders - Chelsea legend Frank Lampard should have a secure place in your first team squad. The Englishman’s level of fitness is a fantastic attribute, especially given the former West Ham players’ age. The 35-year-old is not getting any younger, but his control of the game is still talked about by many, and he has captured the hearts of Chelsea fans. A long term replacement may be wise. Ramires is another fantastically skilled player in this position, and the Brazilian will do a brilliant job. He is known for his aggressive nature, but he more than makes up for this with his pace and stamina. Stamford Bridge returnee Matic has some attributes that put him right up there with the ability of the other two. Your last option is John Obi Mikel. The Nigerian, typically a defensive midfielder, has a fantastic mentality and will serve the team well in big matches.
Left Midfielder/Winger - This is the position where you have, the player, which is widely considering the best in your team, and one of the best players in the league. The Belgian, Eden Hazard, has been magnificent since his big move to London, and in real life, has been the club’s standout performer. Whilst he can also play as a CAM, his primary position is on the left, where he can utilise his outstanding dribbling, pace and creativity to wreak havoc on your oppositions defence. Considering the fact that he is only 21, you should be trying to mould him into one of the worlds best, as his outstanding potential, when nurtured, is invaluable. Hazard is your clear starter, but incase of an unfortunate injury, or if you just want to rotate in cup matches etc, your backup is still very talented, and comes primarily in the shape of German, Andre Schurrle. Another 22 year old, he is extremely capable, and also has good potential. His hard work is one of his outstanding qualities, and he is also very versatile, as he can play across the attacking midfield areas, as well as up front, where he has been played several times by manager Jose Mourinho, in key matches this season. Willian is also capable of playing here, but should only be used in extreme circumstances, as Hazard and Schurrle are more than capable of holding down this role between them.
Central Attacking Midfielders - Chelsea are blessed with a heavily talented attacking midfield, and their CAM role is no exception. The man who should be starting most of your games in this position is Brazilian, Oscar. Another youngster, the 21 year old has a great future ahead of him, and it is up to you to try and help him reach his great potential. At the moment, his stunning passing, creativity, and movement makes him one of the first names on the teamsheet, and he can, and should, play a huge role in your title bid. Eden Hazard is also extremely capable in this role, but you should primarily utilise him out on the left, and leave Oscar to start in the center. In terms of backup, Willian is again a good option. The versatile midfielder can play all the attacking midfield roles, and he might have to start on the right, where you are slightly lacking, in terms of depth. Youngster Marco van Ginkel can fill in here, and his high potential, might convince you to start him in cup matches. He can play well in the starting lineup if injuries or fitness affect your team, but other than that Oscar should be your first choice by a far in this role.
Right Midfielder/Winger - Willian is the main choice here for Mourinho in real life, and the player who joined from Anzhi is a very skillful player. His trickery will be too much for plenty of Premier League defenders, and his pace will match this. Chelsea fans have warmed to him over the 2013-2014 season, and if he gives the same kind of performances in your saves, the in-game fans will as well. His Brazilian counterpart, Oscar, normally an attacking midfielder, can also play here, and possesses an equal amount of skill. New recruit Mohamed Salah, branded ‘the Egyptian Messi’ during his time with FC Basel, had impressed Chelsea on several occasions in UEFA Champions League matches against them, and he should be a fantastic player for you. Other than these three, Chelsea are not heavily armed in this position, and it may be worth considering bringing in more right sided midfielders, even if it is just to add to the squad depth.
Striker - Chelsea have been notorious in recent times of being in the transfer market for a new striker, after their manager, Jose Mourinho said his current options were not enough. It is fairly clear you will need to strengthen here, but you do have a few options at the club you will want to consider. Firstly, there is Cameronian veteran striker Samuel Eto’o. The 32 year old is still a good player, considering his age, and will most likely suffice as backup. However, if you want to bring in some big names, and his fairly high wages are a prime candidate for him to be sold to clear up some of your wage budget, and since he is only on a 1 year contract, selling how now would be your only real chance of making a solid profit on him. Next there is Spaniard, Fernando Torres, who famously signed for Chelsea for a BPL record fee of 50M, and failed to settle and start scoring. Torres has incredibly high wages of 175K, the 2nd highest in your team. These wages do not reflect his ability, and it is advised that you sell him while you can, before he turns 30. The last option in your team is Demba Ba, unlike his counterparts in his role, is not on high wages compared to the rest of your team, but he is seemingly less capable than the other two. He should not be starting for you, but as backup he may do, depending on if you play with a target man style forward, or a more passing, movement focused striker, where his skills are wasted, and where he will be extremely ineffective. Finally, you also have talented Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku on loan at Everton, and when he comes back next season, he should definitely be in your plans, as his potential is very high is trained and used properly.
Positions to StrengthenStriker - The obvious gap in your team in terms of quality comes up front, and is the first area you should look to improve on. In real life, Chelsea have publicly gone after Atletico Madrid star, Diego Costa, who has been a star for them. FM have rewarded him in the latest update, with good attributes. However, this comes at a cost, as Atletico won’t let go of their star for anything less than his release clause of 32M. If you do not wish to pay that much, there are other options such as Real Madrid man Karim Benzema, or even Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud.
Right Midfielder/Winger - While you are well stocked in the other two attacking roles, this role does lack some depth, and a player who prefers to play here as his first position. Barcelona star Pedro often moves to Chelsea under Jose Mourinho, and he is someone you should take a look at signing as well, as he could be available for around 20M. Another, cheaper option, is Schalke winger Jefferson Farfan, whose signature you can acquire for 12.75M, due to his release clause.
Centre Back - This position can seem bare, especially if you would rather David Luiz play higher up the field, you find yourself with only 2 remaining first team options, one of which (John Terry) is getting old. For this reason, you should look to replace Terry during his window, with a younger face. The big upcoming central defensive star is Real Madrid man Raphael Varane. The Frenchman has incredible potential, but will take a large sum out of your wallet, costing around 35M. If you are not willing to spend that much, look again in Span, this time to Barcelona youngster Marc Bartra. While the Spaniard may not have as high of a potential, he is still very good, and you can sign him for around 15M, making him a more viable option financially.
ConclusionSo after reading this guide, I hope you have taken away some vital information about how you will be able to use your tactics, squad, and transfer budget to the best of your ability. I urge you if you are unsure about something, to give it a go, and see how your experiences differentiate from the ones in this guide.
If you have any questions, feel free to comment below.
THIS GUIDE IS FOR THE 14.3.0 UPDATE OF FOOTBALL MANAGER 2014