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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 May 2007, 21:01 GMT 22:01 UK
Chelsea's strengths and weaknesses
By Mandeep Sanghera

Chelsea have lost their Premiership crown and failed again in their Champions League quest.

The limited recriminations to date have stopped short of naming and shaming players but, reading between the lines, it is clear changes will be made or the law laid down to certain players.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has hinted he feels let down by some of his squad while Frank Lampard believes some at Stamford Bridge have failed to grasp the Chelsea team ethic.

BBC Sport looks at the main first-team squad and where they stand.

THE MANAGER

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho

JOSE MOURINHO The speculation over Mourinho's future has quelled after an apparent compromising of his ways to appease club owner Roman Abramovich. He has already started talking about his plans for next season.

UNTOUCHABLES

Petr Cech

PETR CECH The keeper's return from more than three months out injured was welcomed with Mourinho saying it was like having a new player worth 50m. He is crucial to the Chelsea cause.

Ashley Cole

ASHLEY COLE Left-back Cole has yet to show his best for the Blues but still seen as first-choice. His protracted switch from Arsenal means Chelsea will allow him to build on a transitional season.

Claude Makelele

CLAUDE MAKELELE The French holding midfielder may be ageing but his experience is vital and he is needed for his wherewithal as well as being a mentor to his successor Mikel John Obi.

Michael Essien

MICHAEL ESSIEN A powerhouse who is at his best and most lethal in midfield but has filled in effectively at right-back and centre-back. His drive and relentlessness has hidden the failings of others.

Ricardo Carvalho

RICARDO CARVALHO Mourinho praised the centre-back for carrying the defence while John Terry was injured and he came into his own. Linked with Real Madrid, but will not be allowed to go.

Frank Lampard

FRANK LAMPARD Mr Reliable as he delivers more often than not for Chelsea but tiredness and lack of quality cover have seen the midfielder suffer. Has yet to sign a new deal which is a worry.

Joe Cole

JOE COLE Not as valuable as Petr Cech as his return was injury was only likened to having a new player worth 49m by Mourinho. Chelsea badly missed his vision and imagination this season.

Didier Drogba

DIDIER DROGBA So good he made Andriy Shevchenko look worse than the Ukrainian striker may have been. His goals kept Chelsea in the title hunt and he epitomises a one-for-all, all-for-one team spirit.

John Terry

JOHN TERRY The player Mourinho will be holding up as an example of commitment and desire you need if you are to succeed at Chelsea. Another one who is in contract negotiations.

JURY'S OUT

Andriy Shevchenko

ANDRIY SHEVCHENKO - He has not adapted to the Premiership or it seems to the Chelsea way. He may be seen as more trouble than he is worth, although he could come good like Drogba.

Michael Ballack

MICHAEL BALLACK - The German midfielder's status appears to have fallen out of the untouchable bracket. Yet to convince and the row over his recent ankle operation has put a question mark over his loyalties.

Arjen Robben

ARJEN ROBBEN - He is a mesmeric player who can win a game in a flash, although he is injury-prone and been accused of lacking the stomach for a fight. But his positives outweigh the negatives.

Wayne Bridge

WAYNE BRIDGE - Does he want to keep playing second fiddle to Ashley Cole? He showed his quality when given the chance and Chelsea may want to keep him but it depends on his ambitions.

Paulo Ferreira

PAULO FERREIRA - The right-back has gone from a regular to a peripheral figure at Stamford Bridge. But a reliable performer, he is unlikely to lose his place in the 23-man squad.

Shaun Wright-Phillips

SHAUN WRIGHT-PHILLIPS - He was linked with a move in January and his future may depend on whether he has done enough during glimpses of quality when given rare outings.

Henrique Hilario

HENRIQUE HILARIO - He seemed to be ahead of Cudicini at one point this season. Did not cover himself in glory as he took Cech's place but the Czech Republic keeper is a hard act to follow.

UNDER THREAT

Khalid Boulahrouz

KHALID BOULAHROUZ - The Cannibal looked out of his depth and the fact that Mourinho used Essien at the back instead of the Dutchman indicates he does not have the confidence of his manager.

Geremi

GEREMI - Appears to be content with the limited appearances he is given and, while he has proved useful in the past, his impact seems to be waning and his time could be up.

Carlo Cudicini

CARLO CUDICINI - His chance for a regular run out was dashed when he got injured in the same Reading game as Cech. When he returned he struggled to get the nod ahead of Hilario.

Magnus Hedman

MAGNUS HEDMAN - Brought in as cover when Chelsea had a shortage of keepers but no appearances may mean no future at the club.

UP-AND-COMING

Lassana Diarra

LASSANA DIARRA - There were doubts about his attitude early on in the season. But he has since showed plenty of promise and quality when given more first-team football.

Salomon Kalou

SALOMON KALOU - He has been given a more of a chance because of Shevchenko's struggles. He has shown a knack of scoring goals but is unlikely to have done enough to stop another striker arrival.

Jon Obi Mikel

MIKEL JOHN OBI - He had his problems in the early part of the campaign and, although there is still work to be done, has taken on the mantle of filling Makelele's boots and mature beyond his 20 years.

NEW ARRIVALS

The sale of William Gallas on transfer deadline day in August 2006 left Chelsea short in the centre-back department.

Boulahrouz proved not to be the answer and, while the Dutchman may be kept as extra defensive cover, the arrival of a centre-back appears to be high on Mourinho's list.

606: DEBATE

He was linked with Bolton's Tal Ben Haim and Micah Richards during the January transfer window and the two will again be in the frame for a move to Stamford Bridge.

Brazilian Alex could fill the gap. He was loaned to PSV Eindhoven because he could not get a work permit and he may arrive if Chelsea can rectify the matter.

Reading midfielder Steve Sidwell is out of contract and seemed set to move to Newcastle but Chelsea have reportedly stepped in to sign him and he would provide valuable cover in order to rest players.

Chelsea have also been consistently linked with a striker and Dimitar Berbatov, David Villa and Fernando Torres are just three of the many names that have been mooted.



SEE ALSO
Ferguson plots next move
09 May 07 |  Man Utd
Chelsea 0-0 Man Utd
09 May 07 |  Premiership
Shevchenko not in Mourinho elite
08 Dec 06 |  Chelsea
Alex hopeful over Chelsea return
01 May 07 |  Chelsea


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