Canvas opinion among respected pundits and many will tell you that after the dust has settled from the blockbuster transfers this summer, that it is two pairings, which have continued to mature over the past three seasons that rival one another for the title of Europe's best centre midfield.
There is no doubt that, given time, Diego and Melo, Alonso and Diarra, maybe even Hargreaves and Anderson, will all mix it with the best, yet as it stands, only two pairings can square up to each other, almost parallel, while offering something that the other does not.
Having met on several occasions in the champions’ league, Ballack/Lampard and Xavi/Iniesta, the holders of their club steering wheels, have provided enthralling head to heads, going tooth and nail, one like an artist, the other a sculpture.
The smaller Barca pairing's stable diet of velvet touches and intricate passes, makes them potentially the better midfield on the ground, with ball at feet. But the broad shouldered London duo, both over six feet provide comparatively more muscle and possess a much greater aerial threat.
Both sets score goals, inside and outside the box, while all four are also very competent at orchestrating set pieces. Yes the Spaniards have better chemistry but would they match the other two in physics?
Pound for pound, either could stake a claim for being the better centre midfield. Barcelona has the titles to prove it, while the blues are regular challengers in arguably Europe's toughest domestic league.
If there had to be a clear central midfield winner, it would maybe just tip towards Chelsea. Why you might ask, not because of the four players mentioned, but because both teams operate with three man midfields, each containing a foot soldier to back them up. Although Yaya Toure's reputation continues to grow, in Michael Essien Chelsea have probably the best cover - attacking centres could ever hope for...
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!