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Nemanja Matic wins WAGNH Community Player of the Year honor

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The games have been played and the votes have been counted. We laughed, we cried. There was anger, there was joy. In the end, Matić pipped Hazard to the top. Surprised?

Mike Hewitt

PLAYER RATINGS

All y'all have been diligently rating the Chelsea players all season, casting thousands of votes in 57 post-match initial reactions.

If you've been following the post-match updates throughout the season, the chart below will look familiar. Feel free to click, peruse, and marvel at it. That's nine months of emotion - hopes, disappointment, anger, and joy - distilled into numbers dripping with oodles of subjectivity.

201314-05-24_-_ratings__final_medium

The obvious disclaimer is to not take these numbers as gospel. It's all just a bit of fun.

TOP 21

Twenty-one players garnered at least ten ratings.  Interestingly, if you compare it with last season, we've used one more player in nine fewer matches:  last season only 20 players had ten or more ratings in 66 matches.  Mourinho may have taken some flack for his tendency to not rotate out of winning combinations, but based just on this simple metric, he still utilized his squad better than his predecessor at Chelsea.

Here are the top 21, ranked in descending order by their overall season averages:

1. NEMANJA MATIĆ - MC 7.3
Highest9.1
Lowest4.2
8.0 or higher8
7.0 or higher12
5.0 or lower1

Man of the Match2
He came in like a wrecking ball, he broke down all our walls.  Or, actually, he built up all of our walls and made us nigh impenetrable.  With Matić in center midfield, Chelsea only conceded twice in his 10 Stamford Bridge appearances.  (Unfortunately both of those came against Sunderland.)

In 19 rated appearances, he finished in the top three 10 times.  Only once was he rated less than 5.0 (away to Crystal Palace).  His best performance, and this should come as no surprise, was when he properly announced his return to Chelsea, and outclassed Yaya Touré at the Etihad.

With a full season to look forward to with Matić - wherein he's eligible for all competitions as well - 2014/15 should be fun.  He's a player who's got it all.  Now we just need to find a partner for him.

2. EDEN HAZARD - AML 7.1
Highest9.7
Lowest4.1
8.0 or higher15
7.0 or higher26
5.0 or lower3

Man of the Match12
Until the last few weeks of the season, Hazard looked a shoo-in for a second successive WAGNH Community Player of the Year, but an injury and a string of lackluster performances dropped him to the second spot.  Despite the injury, he finished second on the team with 49 appearances, one behind Ivanovic's 50.

His undoubted best came against Newcastle at the Bridge with his hat trick of epic proportions.  Sadly, in retrospect that was more of an apex rather than a plateau, which does leave plenty of room for improvement this coming season.

Hazard had a somewhat slow start to the season as well; his lowest rating coming in the home defeat to FC Basel in the Champions League group stages.

3. CÉSAR AZPILICUETA - DL, DR 7.1
Highest8.9
Lowest4.7
8.0 or higher10
7.0 or higher25
5.0 or lower3

Man of the Match2
And to think, Azpilicueta only started three of the first 16 matches.  And then spent most of the season playing left back for the first time in his career.  And spending a lot of time on defense, after being mostly known for his offense in the year preivous.  Dave is amazing; bring on the clone army!

Azpilicueta hit 8.9 twice this season, both coming late towards the business end.  First, there was the 6-0 drubbing of Arsenal (against whom, earlier in the season in the League Cup, he scored his first ever Chelsea goal) and then there was the 2-0 comeback against PSG, where he supplied the assist for the winning goal.

His lowest rating came courtesy of Mike Dean's whistle, in the cavalcade of ineptitude that was the home loss to Sunderland.  Dave was adjudged to have fouled Jozy Altidore, though replays later showed that it was in fact the Sunderland forward who stepped on and tripped over the defender.

4. MARK SCHWARZER - GK 7.0
Highest9.0
Lowest3.3
8.0 or higher2
7.0 or higher9
5.0 or lower1

Man of the Match3
Schwarzer's being helped out a bit by his low sample size.  Before Čech's injury, it looked like he would finish in the single digits, but he ended the year with 12 appearances, conceding just 8 times (4 of those to Sunderland, of all teams).

That being said, outside of his unfortunate loose rebound at home against Sunderland, he was dependable, reliable, and largely non-derpy.  What more could you ask for from your backup veteran goalkeeper?

Schwarzer's best was the clean sheet against Liverpool, while his worst was the aforementioned Sunderland match.

5. JOHN TERRY - DC 6.9
Highest8.6
Lowest4.1
8.0 or higher7
7.0 or higher27
5.0 or lower2

Man of the Match5
After an injury-filled 2012/13 season of mostly poor form, most of us had written off the captain.  Turns out all he needed was a bit of the old magic from José Mourinho to rediscover his own bit of old magic.

Certainly, keeping a compact shape and the speedy Azpilicueta next to him have helped make up for the captain's aging legs, ever-decreasing speed, and ever-increasing turning radius.  But Terry's Renaissance was one of the most welcome developments of the season.  Hopefully he can keep it up a bit longer while the the next generation of Kalas, Zouma, Omeruo, et al. grow into their roles.

Terry's best was the 2-0 against PSG; his worst was the defeat at Crystal Palace where he scored the own goal.

6. PETR ČECH - GK 6.9
Highest9.1
Lowest3.7
8.0 or higher8
7.0 or higher26
5.0 or lower4

Man of the Match5
We're so familiar with Čech that it's hard for him to impress us nowadays (unlike, say, Thibaut Courtois).  Yet, especially early on in the season, Čech was often immense.  His shoulder injury came at the worst time, and combined with Hazard's injury, really put the damper on the season's end.

That being said, Chelsea can delay the Courtois-Čech decision only so much longer.

Petr's best was the UEFA Super Cup against Bayern (he loves to play against the German champions, doesn't he?); his worst were the twin 3.7 ratings against PSG (away) and Stoke City (away), in both of which he gave up three goals courtesy of some less than stellar plays.

7. GARY CAHILL - DC 6.9
Highest9.0
Lowest4.3
8.0 or higher7
7.0 or higher26
5.0 or lower3

Man of the Match1
In a virtual tie with Čech, even Cahill has managed to have himself a season few thought him capable of.  Credit to Mourinho, sure, especially for managing to convince Cahill to ditch his natural tendency to just back down in 1-v-1 situations.

Selling David Luiz puts our immediate defensive future into the hands of the Cahill-Terry partnership, after which Cahill will probably be expected to be the veteran Terry-esque leader.  That's still not a future that fills me with confidence, but your mileage may vary.

Cahill's best was the season-changing 1-0 win away to Manchester City, while his lowest rated appearance came in the 3-2 loss to Stoke City.

8. WILLIAN - AMR, AMC 6.8
Highest8.7
Lowest4.8
8.0 or higher9
7.0 or higher19
5.0 or lower1

Man of the Match1
Willian and his afro divides opinion (seems to be a common theme for afros), though it's mostly along the lines of whether he's done enough to justify his transfer fee.  While we could probably use a few more goals and maybe a couple more (primary) assists from him, his work-rate and his link play is second-to-none in the squad.  So, for me, he just edges the value proposition.  Plus, he's got the best song.

...and off he went to Stamford Bridge!

Big Willi Style's highest rated performance came in the 3-0 win against Stoke City, while his worst came in the disappointing 2-0 FA Cup loss at the Etihad.  Incidentally, Willian's 4.8 in that match is his only rating lower than 5 in 42 appearances.  It is also the highest low-rating for any player in this countdown, which I think speaks to his consistency.  In a team full of very young players, it's nice to have some consistency.

9. OSCAR - AMC 6.7
Highest8.9
Lowest4.2
8.0 or higher10
7.0 or higher21
5.0 or lower7

Man of the Match5
Ultimately, we can probably call this a somewhat disappointing season from the overworked young man.  Though early on, he was playing some of his best football.  And while Mourinho anointed him our number-10 in the summer, Oscar only started 11 of our last 22 matches after starting 25 of the first 35.

Unsurprisingly, Oscar's highest rated performance came via a brace against Arsenal (6-0), while his worst outing was the 1-0 loss away to FC Basel.

10. JUAN MATA - AMC, AMR 6.6
Highest8.5
Lowest4.6
8.0 or higher2
7.0 or higher6
5.0 or lower2

Man of the Match1
Hey, remember this guy?  Turns out he made 17 appearances during the first half of the season.

Though they were not all starts, obviously, Mourinho was not reticent to use him, especially as an attacking substitution - the 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane comes to mind.

Mata's best performance came a couple weeks after that, when he scored the second goal in the League Cup win away to Arsenal.  His worst was in the 2-1 home loss to FC Basel, who were a bit of a bogey team alongside Sunderland for us this season.

11. ASHLEY COLE - DL 6.6
Highest8.5
Lowest4.4
8.0 or higher2
7.0 or higher8
5.0 or lower3

Man of the Match0
In what is most likely his final season in Chelsea blue, Ashley Cole still played well towards the end.  Unfortunately, he was not that great to start the season and lost his place first to Ryan Bertrand and then to César Azpilicueta.  Now 33, the slowdown is not unexpected.

When he does leave officially, his eight seasons and 338 appearances and many, many trophies will be a source of great celebration.

Cole was at his best in the 2-0 title-race shake-up at Anfield.  On the other hand, like for a few others already, the 2-1 loss to FC Basel was not a good day.

12. ANDRÉ SCHÜRRLE - AML, AMR, FC 6.6
Highest9.3
Lowest4.6
8.0 or higher8
7.0 or higher12
5.0 or lower5

Man of the Match5
Even when he's not at his inconsistent best, I find it really hard to be mad at young André.  Of any of the new generation, he's the one that seems to "get" Chelsea the most.  One of us!

It also helps that unlike all the other attacking midfielders on the team, he is direct and unafraid to shoot, which makes him a good option either as a starter or as a game-changing substitution.

Schürrle's best game was when he got pressed into action against PSG as an early injury sub for Hazard.  His worst game came early, in the 1-0 defeat away to Everton.

13. BRANISLAV IVANOVIĆ - DR, DC 6.6
Highest8.9
Lowest4.3
8.0 or higher4
7.0 or higher22
5.0 or lower5

Man of the Match0
For the second straight season, Ivanović led the team (exc. goalkeepers) in minutes played.  Though unlike last season, he spent the vast majority of it at right full back, to mixed reviews.  Yet, for all the criticism, we always know what we'll get with Bane:  consistency, veteran leadership, passion, threat from set pieces, weakness to diagonals over his head, and several maddening crosses pumped into the first man.

Invaluable, really.

Ivanovic's best day was the famous win at the Etihad where he scored the only goal (left-footed, too!).  His lowest rating was 4.3, achieved four times (away losses to Stoke, Palace, and Basel and the home 2-2 draw with WBA).

14. DAVID LUIZ - DC, MC 6.5
Highest9.1
Lowest4.4
8.0 or higher4
7.0 or higher12
5.0 or lower4

Man of the Match0
Oh.  David.

Sadsies.  The worst part is that we have three months to dwell on this before we can start the healing process with some real football.

Sideshow had himself an erratic, injury-filled season, but still found time to come up with some scintillating performances.  His best was when he single-handedly dominated PSG's midfield in the second leg of the Champions League quarterfinal.  His worst was the ineffective outing in the FA Cup against Manchester City.

15. MIKEL - MC 6.4
Highest8.8
Lowest4.6
8.0 or higher3
7.0 or higher9
5.0 or lower5

Man of the Match2
Much like Ivanović, Mikel isn't likely to surprise with an unexpected performance.  Except of course when he decides to score his first ever league goal for Chelsea in eight seasons!  Where were you when Mikel scored?!

Unsurprisingly, Mikel's goal was the catalyst behind his highest rating of the season (2-0 vs. Fulham).  His lowest rating came in the 1-1 draw away to West Bromwich Albion.  I told you to not pass it sideways, Michael!

16. RAMIRES - MC, AMR 6.3
Highest8.9
Lowest3.4
8.0 or higher1
7.0 or higher15
5.0 or lower10

Man of the Match1
Has any other player regressed as much as Ramires did this season?  It's been a season to forget and forget quickly for the Brazilian.

Largely ineffective at either defensive wing of central midfield - and that's before his indiscipline caused him to be suspended for six of the last eight Premier League matches of the season - hopefully Mourinho isn't counting on Ramires to be the first-choice partner to Matić next season.

Ramires did have good days, his best coming as the Man of the Match in the 4-0 win away to Steaua.  But alongside Torres and Ba, he also led the team with 10 rated appearances of 5.0 or lower, the worst of which came against Sunderland in the loss that broke Mourinho's Stamford Bridge streak.

17. MOHAMED SALAH - AMR, AML 6.3
Highest8.8
Lowest4.3
8.0 or higher2
7.0 or higher4
5.0 or lower5

Man of the Match1
The new kid on the block, Mo Salah barely made enough appearances to sneak onto this list.  But I think we've seen enough glimpses of quality in those 11 appearances to give us hope that the young Egyptian will find ways to contribute in the seasons to follow - if in no other way than as an impact sub off the bench with his electric speed.

Salah's highest rated game was the 3-0 win against Stoke City, while his lowest rated one was the 2-0 loss against Manchester City in the FA Cup.

18. FERNANDO TORRES - FC 6.2
Highest9.2
Lowest2.8
8.0 or higher6
7.0 or higher13
5.0 or lower10

Man of the Match5
Torres probably should get a few bonus points for somehow managing to outlast David Luiz as a Chelsea player.  Then again, he's getting paid enough (hey, there's the reason!) to not need any more bonuses.

In any case, another season of Torres being Torres.  At least he scored a few belief goals and even showed some synergy with Schürrle (though with hardly anybody else).

Torres once again has the honor of having the greatest delta between his highest rated and lowest rated performances:  9.2 vs. Manchester City at the Bridge and away to Schalke 04; 2.8 away to Crystal Palace.

19. FRANK LAMPARD - MC 6.2
Highest8.5
Lowest3.6
8.0 or higher3
7.0 or higher11
5.0 or lower7

Man of the Match0
In the first half of the season, the Lampard-Ramires midfield combo brought us several wins and Mourinho stuck with them until they were no longer viable.  Beyond that, unfortunately, it's not been a very good season for Chelsea's vice-captain.

Still a club legend is a club legend, and Lampard could still be effective in limited spot starts, as he showed against Liverpool and PSG at the end of the season.

Lampard's best this season was the 3-0 away win at West Ham (he always seems to raise his game against the Hammers), his worst was the 1-0 loss away to FC Basel.

20. SAMUEL ETO'O - FC 6.2
Highest9.5
Lowest3.4
8.0 or higher6
7.0 or higher11
5.0 or lower8

Man of the Match4
Would you believe that Torres turned out to be our highest rated center forward?  Though all three are in the bottom four, so that doesn't necessarily mean much.  Plus, if we throw out Eto'o first few games, he probably would've edged the Spaniard.  Yet, there's no denying that Eto'o had a weird season - good at Stamford Bridge after the turn of the year, but mostly ineffective and often horrendous elsewhere and at other times.

That being said, it's kind of cool that three of the best African strikers of all time have now all played at Chelsea:  Weah, Drogba, and now Eto'o.

Eto'o's highest rated game was his hat-trick fueled 9.5 against Manchester United.  His worst came in the 3-2 loss at Stoke.

21. DEMBA BA - FC 6.0
Highest9.1
Lowest3.6
8.0 or higher4
7.0 or higher7
5.0 or lower10

Man of the Match2
Lastly, we come to Demba Ba, who redeemed his anonymous, useless season with three games: Spurs, PSG, and Liverpool.  And if the latest rumors are to be believed, he may even stay at the Bridge for next season.  So perhaps we got more hilariously acrobatic and awkward shots in our future.

Ba's best outing is obvious: the comeback against PSG where he scored the goal that ensures his place in Chelsea lore forever.  His worst came just a few games prior, as a sub in the 1-0 loss against Crystal Palace.

And that's the end of your Top 21 of 2013/14. Players without double-digit rated appearances - and thus ineligible for the countdown - included:  Kevin De Bruyne (9), Michael Essien (9), Tomáš Kalas (4), Marco van Ginkel (4), Ryan Bertrand (3), Romelu Lukaku (3), Nathan Aké (1), Lewis Baker (1), John Swift (1).

TOP 5 INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCES

  1. EDEN HAZARD, Newcastle (H), Premier League - 9.7
  2. EDEN HAZARD, Sunderland (A), Premier League - 9.7
  3. SAMUEL ETO'O, Manchester United (H), Premier League - 9.5
  4. ANDRÉ SCHÜRRLE, Paris Saint-Germain (H), Champions League - 9.3
  5. FERNANDO TORRES, Manchester City (H), Premier League - 9.2

BOTTOM 5 INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCES

  1. FERNANDO TORRES, Crystal Palace (A), Premier League - 2.8
  2. MARK SCHWARZER, Sunderland (H), Premier League - 3.3
  3. SAMUEL ETO'O, Stoke City (A), Premier League - 3.4
  4. RAMIRES, Sunderland (H), Premier League - 3.4
  5. SAMEUL ETO'O, Atlético Madrid (H), Champions League - 3.5

TOP 5 CHELSEA PERFORMANCES

  1. Chelsea 2-0 Paris Saint-Germain, Champions League - 8.4
  2. Chelsea 6-0 Arsenal, Premier League - 8.4
  3. Liverpool 0-2 Chelsea, Premier League - 8.4
  4. Manchester City 0-1 Chelsea, Premier League - 8.0
  5. Chelsea 4-0 Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League - 7.5

BOTTOM 5 CHELSEA PERFORMANCES

  1. Crystal Palace 1-0 Chelsea, Premier League - 4.5
  2. Chelsea 1-2 FC Basel, Champions League - 4.9
  3. Manchester City 2-0 Chelsea, FA Cup - 4.9
  4. Chelsea 1-2 Sunderland, Premier League - 4.9
  5. Stoke City 3-2 Chelsea, Premier League - 4.9