When a team goes wire-to-wire as table toppers, it’s very difficult to find much to dislike about the players.
Chelsea’s charge toward its Premier League title is no different, with very few players sinking failing to play an on-field role in the victory.
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Twenty-two players have hit the pitch for Chelsea so far this season. Let’s grade them out in order of import:
INC: Ruben Loftus-Cheek
The youngster got into a single match for Chelsea. Can credit him for accomplishing that feat, and can’t fault him for much else.
D: Mohamed Salah, Filipe Luis, Juan Cuadrado
Luis is right to feel a little slighted here, as appearing in 12 games isn’t a bad thing, but Cuadrado failed to make much of an impact since coming over from Fiorentina in the swap deal for Salah. The latter has been fantastic at Fiorentina, but that’s not Chelsea, is it?
C: Andre Schurrle, John Obi Mikel, Loic Remy, Oscar, Didier Drogba
This is a useful class of players, as Remy and Oscar combined for 11 goals, but ultimately all four fell short of expectations. Some will point to Oscar’s six goals and eight assists as the measure of the man, but he’s hit or miss, brutal in possession and a borderline nothing in defense.
B: Ramires, Thibaut Courtois, Cesar Azpilicueta, Willian, Kurt Zouma, Petr Cech, Gary Cahill
Zouma proved his worth in stepping into a holding mid role when Chelsea needed to slam the door on attack-minded teams, while Ramires moved in for Nemanja Matic and barely missed a beat. Cech could’ve caused a lot of problems in backing up the younger, less-accomplished Courtois but instead further cemented himself as the ultimate gamer. Cahill got a lot of guff from supporters, but was borderline Grade A.
A: Eden Hazard, Nemanja Matic, Cesc Fabregas, John Terry, Diego Costa, Branislav Ivanovic,
Hazard is the most exciting players in the Premier League, a whirling dervish that happens to have the mental acumen to outthink teams as much as he can outmaneuver them. He was also fouled an absurd 105 times, as hurting Hazard was the only plan to slow him (and it didn’t work).
Ivanovic seemed to come up big whenever he was needed, and Costa became the No. 1 villain in the league within minutes of arriving at Stamford Bridge. Terry earned himself another year at Chelsea with his title-carrying season, while Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic made sure that the Blues were in charge at the front and back of the engine room.