While there’s not been much to scream and shout about at Stamford Bridge this season, it’s not been all doom and gloom for Chelsea. Despite many of their star players flopping in 2015-16, a small cohort of the squad have persisted to battle away in adversity.
Besides, the situation is far from as dire as that of Aston Villa whom have even scrapped their annual awards ceremony in light of their demoralising relegation. Chelsea however, can look to some players who have pulled their weight and deserve to be commended.
Here are five players that the Blues should consider their five finest performers this season and should serve as inspiration that 2016-17 could see a return to form:
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Despite an early season run of form that saw just three league goals before Christmas and a plethora of controversial incidents, Costa’s effort has never waned. You can’t exactly leave out the club’s top scorer this season after all.
For all his faults, the Spaniard is a lethal goal scorer. With 14 strikes in all competitions this campaign, the 27-year-old holds a four goal lead over the next top scorer in Willian.
Considering the burden placed on him by the lack of back-up from Loic Remy and Radamel Falcao, Costa has battled on albeit difficult circumstances. Without the fiery forward’s rush of goals this season, Chelsea would find themselves in a far worse position than where they currently sit.
Having learnt under the wing of John Terry during Chelsea’s title winning season in 2014-15, Zouma has come into his own at Stamford Bridge. Despite still being just 21-years-old, the Frenchman is quickly rising to one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League.
There can be little doubting that his defending still needs refining but few Chelsea players have matched him for passion and determination this year. In addition, his menacing 6’ 3” frame and electric pace has seen him settle into English football effortlessly.
Consequently, Blues fans have a lot to thank their young defender for and they’ll be keen to see him return from long-term injury. Antonio Conte must ensure one of the club’s best performers in 2015-16, continues to excel into 2016-17.
The wildcard on this list comes in the form of young Brazilian winger Kenedy. For a 20-year-old to perform as he has done during his inaugural Premier League campaign should not go unnoticed and few have been able to match him this season.
Chelsea have truly uncovered a gem in a player that can grace the left-back position as well as more offensive postings. While still unreliable at times defensively, his severe introduction to such a harsh league makes this vastly understandable.
The Blues should look forward to what Kenedy may still have to offer after an impressive debut campaign. Having been captured for just £6.3 million, he already appears a classic bargain.
No surprises here with Willian proving the nailed on favourite for Chelsea’s Player of the Year award this season. The Brazilian winger has been far and away the club’s best performer and unlike many has consistently upheld this across the months.
With 11 goals despite his wide position, the 27-year-old’s tally can only be bettered by Costa. Perhaps more impressive though proves the fact that the first six of which were all scored directly from free-kicks.
Furthermore, with six assists the Brazilian has also aided his team mates regularly and his effort can rarely be faulted. Chelsea must hang onto Willian or face losing the man that ensured their 2015-16 season wasn’t as catastrophic as it could easily have been.
The Spanish full-back seems a regular on these lists with his renowned consistency being unfazed by Chelsea’s anarchic season. Azpilicueta has been a calming influence in the back-four and has continued to prove one of the biggest bargains in recent Premier League history.
The 26-year-old has even added a sprinkle of goal scoring to his game in finding the net home and away against West Bromwich Albion. Nonetheless, it proves his ruthless and calculated defensive work that sees Azpilicueta so highly respected at Stamford Bridge.
There should be no confusion as to why he’s garnered an impressive 38 appearances this season and has often proven the first name on the team sheet. If you’re looking for entertainment, Azpilicueta is no Roberto Carlos but he gets the job done albeit in a quiet fashion.
While a list of Chelsea’s worst performers this season would have seen more players in the frame, these five anomalies should undoubtedly be commended. Supporters should be indebted that despite their struggles, certain members of the squad have battled on for the badge.
Who do you think has been Chelsea's best player this season? Have YOUR say in the comment box below!