After a gruelling 12 months, the dust has finally settled on Chelsea’s season.
2019/20 was a campaign like no other – for reasons on and off the pitch. Frank Lampard returned as manager and kickstarted the youth revolution, but the coronavirus pandemic halted the game and stretched the season to an incredible 363 days.
In a year filled with inconsistency and uncertainty, there were a score of players who shone brightest. Whether they are seasoned veterans or breakthrough youngsters, many deserve credit for their strong performances in blue.
There are honourable mentions in two experienced players: captain César Azpilicueta, who led by example, and Olivier Giroud, whose goalscoring prowess was significant. But the question remains: who deserves to be named Chelsea’s Player of the Season?
For a player loved by many yet loathed by some, Willian was a key player for Chelsea. In what proved to be his final season at Stamford Bridge, the Brazilian’s experience was a crucial blend with the incoming youngsters, putting in solid performances all season.
A brace at Tottenham was the perfect way to christen Chelsea’s first visit to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, while his penalty expertise saw him convert all four efforts from the spot in ice-cool fashion. He ended the season with 11 goals and nine assists, one of his finest season returns in royal blue.
It is hard to see him join Arsenal after seven years in west London, but Willian certainly bowed out in impressive fashion. He was at his very best when Lampard needed him, and will be missed as he moves across the capital for the next chapter of his career.
4. Christian Pulisic
Pulisic is already proving to be a popular figure in SW6, and it is easy to see why. His dazzling dribbles and clinical finishing were a joy to watch this season, as the American ended his debut season in England with 21 goal contributions – the second-most in the squad, despite enduring a string of injuries.
Had he hit the ground running early on, he would be an even stronger favourite for Player of the Season. But Pulisic struggled to adapt with the English game’s physicality at first, finding tough opposition against the Premier League’s commanding defenders.
That being said, Pulisic’s development and growth throughout the season was wonderful, a testament to his hard work all year long. The American gave a glimpse of what he is capable of, and it is clear that the best is yet to come.
3. Tammy Abraham
Perhaps Chelsea’s most underrated, criticised yet outstanding player this season was Tammy Abraham. Missing the deciding penalty in the Super Cup defeat sparked an onslaught of disgusting racist abuse, but the adversity he showed to overcome it was truly inspirational.
Abraham went on to finish as the Blues’ top scorer with 18 goals, a stunning debut campaign for the south London star. The significance of his goals and assists cannot be underestimated – Chelsea would otherwise have been knocked out in the Champions League group stage and finished 11th in the Premier League.
The winner at Arsenal was the highlight of his season, along with the rest of his classic striker goals in the league. Competition to lead the line will be tough with Timo Werner and Giroud, but Abraham deservedly topped the Blues’ scoring charts in an impressive year under Lampard.
2. Mason Mount
Mount is just pipped to the top spot, but he absolutely deserves to be the runner-up while collecting the award for Young Player of the Season. His Stamford Bridge debut goal against Leicester was the start of a breakthrough season, where he made an unbelievable 53 appearances.
Fourteen goal contributions may not seem world class, but for a 21-year-old in his debut season at Chelsea, that is nothing short of brilliant. He was a breath of fresh air and a positive asset to Lampard’s midfield wealth, putting in stellar performances and turning up in big games after the restart.
The sky is the limit for Mount, whose work ethic, versatility and talent will take him far at the Bridge. He proved that he is ready for the Premier League, and if he continues at this rate, he will surely go down as a Chelsea legend by the end of the decade.
1. Mateo Kovačić
If you had said that Mateo Kovačić would be Chelsea’s Player of the Season 12 months ago, you would be seriously doubted. Yet fast forward a year, and the Croatian is the deserved recipient of the award, after a quite simply outstanding year in west London.
In a season where Chelsea revealed numerous flaws, Kovačić brought something they desperately needed: consistency. Whatever the result, competition or circumstances, he was a solid engine at the heart of midfield. He even scored the odd goal; a true rarity for the man who had not found the back of the net since January 2017.
His performances featured surging runs forward, excellent defensive work and even a bit of Balkan flair, all accumulating to a brilliant season all-round. Kovačić was Chelsea’s most significant, consistent and impressive player, and deserves to be crowned the Blues’ Player of the Season.
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