PHILADELPHIA – Depending on who you ask, you are bound to get a different answer.
Which Chelsea team is stronger: the one that lost to the 2006 All-Stars or the European champions who take on MLS’ best on Wednesday night at PPL Park?
Blues captain Frank Lampard (above) was part of both those teams and was asked that question at Tuesday's press conference. And although he didn’t necessarily pick a side, he sees a distinct difference between the two squads.
“It’s literally two different eras,” Lampard said. “This year, we’re maybe a slightly different team because of the fact that we have some more young players coming in and there might not be the settled togetherness that we had on the pitch at that stage [in 2006] because we had been together a long time. But there’s an excitement about our team [in 2012] which is probably the main difference.”
Who do you take? The veteran-laden 2006 squad – Arjen Robben, Michael Ballack and Andriy Shevchenko played on that team – succumbed to the MLS All-Stars on a Dwayne De Rosario’s goal at Toyota Park.
The 2012 edition is bolstered by younger stars like David Luiz, Ramires, Eden Hazard and Gary Cahill. They come into Wednesday’s AT&T MLS All-Star Game with a UEFA Champions League crown in tow, something José Mourinho’s Chelsea could never achieve.
2006 Chelsea: Carlo Cudicini – Geremi, Paulo Ferreira, John Terry, Wayne Bridge – Michael Essien, Michael Ballack, Frank Lampard, Shaun Wright-Phillips – Didier Drogba, Andriy Shevchenko
Others: Hilário, Salomon Kalou, Lassan Diarra, Arjen Robben, Joe Cole, Ricardo Carvalho, John Obi Mikel
Manager: José Mourinho
2012 Chelsea: Petr Cech – Paulo Ferreira, David Luiz, John Terry, Ashley Cole – Marko Marin, John Obi Mikel, Frank Lampard, Ramires – Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku
Others: Hilário, Gary Cahill, Fernando Torres, Juan Mata (Olympics), Kevin De Bruyne, Daniel Sturridge (Olympics), Raul Mereiles, Michael Essien
Manager: Roberto Di Matteo