Chelsea's Most Improved Player

As the season draws to a close the voting opens to decide who the club’s player and player’s player of the year is, as well as who score...

As the season draws to a close the voting opens to decide who the club’s player and player’s player of the year is, as well as who scored the goal of the season. These are official awards presented by Chelsea, but what I’m interested in today is who our (unofficial) most improved player is.

I’m going to put forward 5 nominations and let you make you choice between them. However, because I don’t think there are 5 deserving nominations from the first team squad (and to make things more interesting,) I’m going to include our loanees in the nominations.

Cesar Azpillicueta

I’ve included Dave in virtue of his growing performances and reliability as the season has progressed. When he first arrived at Chelsea I thought he was a poor to average player going by some of his displays. However he proved that he was simply just finding his feet in a new and physical league and has since gone on to become one of our most solid and consistent players.

I think the best example that proves how much he has improved is his performance against Spurs last week. Bale started playing from the left hand side of the pitch, but after spending the whole of that time in Dave’s back pocket he quickly moved over to the other side. Nullifying Bale was the way to get a result against Spurs and Dave was a big part of that.

Romelu Lukaku

Wow, he has really turned some heads this season. He went into West Brom with virtually no Premier League experience or reputation, but is leaving with what is likely to be a 33 appearance under his belt. He began life at West Brom coming off of their bench to replace the likes of Long and Odemwingie, but after some impressive cameo performances he earned himself a few starts. He managed to impress in those starts and before we had reached the middle of the season he was a regular in the opening line-up.

He is currently on 14 goals for the season with two appearances still to make. A couple of weeks ago he had the best goals to minute rate in the Premier League but after a recent goalless run he may not have that stat anymore. Nonetheless he has performed above and beyond what was expected of him after a season of disappointment with Chelsea that he spent largely on the bench and in the reserves.

David Luiz

He has come on leaps and bounds, and is the one central defender to survive Benitez’s rotation policy. He may have only been with us for two and a half seasons but already it seems as if he lives and dies for Chelsea. He brings a passion and drive to the team that only the likes of Lampard, Terry and Drogba do / did, which has led many to dub him the future Chelsea captain.

It’s incredible to say for a centre back but he is one of our most technically gifted players, and it’s seen him provide a few spectacular goals and assists, as well as a new adapted role in midfield. He’s not everybody’s cup of tea but it would be difficult for any Chelsea fan to deny that you feel more confident in our defence when he's playing, whereas last season you could arguably say the opposite.

Thiabaut Courtois

We already knew that Courtois was a good player, but perhaps we didn’t realise just how good. He has been absolutely extraordinary in La Liga while playing for Athletico Madrid, and he’s given us a horrible, yet beautiful, headache. What are you going to do when you have two fantastic goalkeepers like Cech and Courtois? For now the solution is to loan out Courtois to get him as much experience as possible, but Cech is still young for a goalkeeper so we may well be faced with a difficult decision in the near future.

So far he has 19 clean sheets from 34 for games (already a La Liga record before the season is over) which is four more than last season in 3 less games. Of course this won him Goalkeeper of the year in Spain too. At the age of 20 he has now cemented his reputation as one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Perhaps even THE best.

Juan Mata

He has taken his game to the next level, and he was already our best player. He won our player of the season last year, so you might be surprised that I’ve nominated him for our most improved player this time. However, the fact is he has gone from very good to world class. He has stepped up his game in every way that he could have and is very much the first name on the team sheet.

He has 18 goals and 38 assists (the assists stat changes depending on what is counted as an assist) which means he has been directly involved in 56 goals this season (!!!!!). That is a huge step up from 12 goals and 23 assists, which was already awesome, from last season. Let’s hope that Hazard and Oscar can replicate this level of self-improvement.

My Decision

For me, it has to be Luiz. He used to be frighteningly erratic, but he seems to have calmed down and is now far less likely to make rash decisions that cost us, although there is still room for improvement in this regard. He has become a leader in the frequent absences of Lampard and Terry and there aren’t many players that I love more than him. 

I only wanted to make 5 nominations, but special mentions go to:
- Bertrand for some really impressive performances in the second half of the season in the absence of Ashley Cole. 
- Nathaniel Chalobah for an excellent season with Watford.
- Kevin de Bruyne for advancing with his game in Germany.
- And Torres, for going from woeful to mediocre. 

Follow on twitter: @cody_bound 

Find your Chelsea tickets at Viagogo!

Carefree & KTBFFH!

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