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WAGNH Chelsea Player of the Year 2015-16

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Will-i-an has seen the light!

PLAYER RATINGS

All y'all have been diligently rating the Chelsea players all season, casting thousands of votes in 53 post-match initial reactions, starting with the Community Shield loss to Arsenal and ending with the 1-1 draw against champions Leicester City on the final day.

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 even a little bit of joy - distilled into numbers dripping with oodles of subjectivity.

2015-16 player ratings leicester h

This is now the fourth full year for our community player ratings, but the obvious disclaimer to not take these numbers as gospel still applies.  They're sentimental.  They're subjective.  They're just opinions.  It's all just a bit of fun.

TOP 22

Twenty-two players garnered at least ten ratings, the most ever in the four years of Community Ratings, and that includes all three of the heralded and much discussed youth trio of RLC, Kenedy, and Traoré.  By design or by circumstance, there was a bit more rotation in the squad this time around than recently.

Here are the top 22, ranked in descending order by their overall season averages.  We have a new winner this year, joining two time winner Eden Hazard (2014-15 and 2012-13) and Nemanja Matic (2013-14).

1. WILLIAN - AM 6.8
Highest9.5
Lowest4.3
8.0 or higher7
7.0 or higher25
5.0 or lower6

Man of the Match10
49 rated appearances.  10th last year (7.1), 8th the year before (6.8).

Just as Eden Hazard was consensus winner of every Player of the Year award last season, there was really only one choice for the winner this season as well.  That's not to say that Willian of this year played like the Hazard of last year, but the former Shakhtar-man was perhaps unique among all Chelsea players in not suffering a precipitous drop in form during the summer break.  Combine that with a ridiculous hot streak from free kicks and the associated confidence boost, and for most of the season, Willian looked not only the runaway winner of this award, but basically the only choice.  He had cut a slightly more tired and more frustrated figure the last couple months, but his performances were still good enough to hold on to first place.

Congrats, Willian!

Willian's highlight of the season, and his highest rating was the match against Dynamo Kiev at the Bridge, with one of the most perfect free kicks you'll ever see.  He hit his lowest mark twice, in the home loss to Crystal Palace in September and the recent 3-2 loss up at Sunderland.

2. RUBEN LOFTUS-CHEEK - MC, AMC 6.7
Highest8.4
Lowest5.1
8.0 or higher3
7.0 or higher5
5.0 or lower0

Man of the Match3
17 rated appearances.

Loftus-Cheek made his Chelsea debut last season, but played only 4 times.  This season's 17 appearances (7 starts) are a massive improvement then, as were some of his performances.  Now no longer a teenager, Loftus-Cheek needs to keep getting opportunities to continue his development (see the usual comparisons with Dele Alli & Co for what can happen when players get opportunities), needs to continue impressing (gotta kick that 'lazy' narrative), and needs to figure out his best position (both club and country continue to insist on playing him as a No.10 for some reason).

His highest rated game was the long-awaited start against Maccabi Tel-Aviv at home.  His lowest came in our penultimate match of the season, the 1-1 draw at Anfield.

3. ASMIR BEGOVIĆ - GK 6.6
Highest8.0
Lowest5.2
8.0 or higher1
7.0 or higher8
5.0 or lower0

Man of the Match4
25 rated appearances.

Another new kid on the player ratings block, most of Begovic's starts came when Courtois was injured or suspended, which I suppose is the job definition of a backup goalkeeper.  Begovic held his own well enough to create some uncertainty over whether Courtois is truly all that he's cracked up to be.

Begovic's highest rated game was an otherwise terrible day for Chelsea, the 3-0 loss at the Etihad in the second match of the season.  Conversely, his worst rated game was an otherwise decent result, the 1-1 against Liverpool, but where he single-handedly gifted the equalizer to the Reds.

4. KURT ZOUMA - DC 6.6
Highest8.7
Lowest4.5
8.0 or higher3
7.0 or higher14
5.0 or lower3

Man of the Match3
32 rated appearances.  7th last year (7.3).

Young Kurt Happy Zouma built on his promising debut season to establish himself as one of the first names on the team sheet at just age 21.  He wasn't perfect by any means (hardly expected at such a tender age), but his physical attributes alone were something to behold.  Once he learns to control them, he'll be amazing.  And then he probably also won't break his ACL again by jumping too high.  Get well soon!

Zouma was at his best when he shut down Arsenal and scored a goal, too, in our 2-0 win at the Bridge.  His lowest was, perhaps fittingly, Mourinho's final game in charge, the 2-1 loss at eventual champions Leicester City.

5. CÉSAR AZPILICUETA - DL, DR 6.5
Highest8.0
Lowest3.9
8.0 or higher2
7.0 or higher15
5.0 or lower3

Man of the Match0
49 rated appearances.  9th last year (7.2), 3rd the year before (7.1), 7th in 2012-13 (6.5).

Azpilicueta is the only player other than Willian to not set a Chelsea-career low for season rating.  Willian matched his 6.8 from his debut season in 2013-14, and now Dave matched his 6.5 from his debut season.  Maybe he should stick to playing left back?  (Just kidding; he wasn't very good at left back either this season.)

Azpilicueta hit 8.0 twice this season, once away to West Brom and once at home to Newcastle.  Not coincidentally, he made rare, telling contributions at the attacking end in both.  His lowest rated game, just like Zouma's, was the loss to Leicester, when Mourinho told the world how his players betrayed all his plans and their hard work in preparation (i.e. poor execution).

6. DIEGO COSTA - FC 6.5
Highest8.9
Lowest3.3
8.0 or higher6
7.0 or higher19
5.0 or lower9

Man of the Match5
41 rated appearances.  5th last year (7.3).

Costa's early season goal drought was a major reason for Chelsea's struggles, but just when he was about to become the next Torres, something clicked and he went on a healthy streak of scoring goals and mostly staying out of trouble.  The timing was unfortunate in a way (right after Jose was sacked), but also fortunate in others (avoided any relegation drama).  Despite his poor form, Costa still finished with 16 goals in all competitions to lead the team.

Costa hit 8.9 twice, in the 1-0 away win over Arsenal and the 5-1 home trouncing of Newcastle.  His lowest was also at the lowest point of the season, that Leicester loss.

7. THIBAUT COURTOIS - GK 6.5
Highest8.2
Lowest4.6
8.0 or higher2
7.0 or higher10
5.0 or lower3

Man of the Match5
30 rated appearances.  3rd last season (7.5).

The Courtois who dominated the goalmouth in recent years took a backseat to a more insecure, a more haphazard, a more error-prone Courtois this season.  Let's hope it's just a sophomore slump.  And if it does take a new goalkeeping coach for Courtois to start catching the ball again, then so be it, let's get a new goalkeeping coach.

Courtois's duel with David De Gea in our 1-1 draw at the Bridge was certainly a highlight; he matched that 8.2 in the win against West Brom when he saved a penalty kick and, just for a second, looked to have saved our season.  Courtois's run-in was nothing special unfortunately and he hit sub-5 ratings three times in his last 6 appearances, including the matching 4.6s against West Ham United and Sunderland.

8. EDEN HAZARD - AM 6.4
Highest9.5
Lowest2.9
8.0 or higher7
7.0 or higher16
5.0 or lower6

Man of the Match5
43 rated appearances.  1st last year (7.9); 2nd the year before (7.1); 1st in 2012-13 (7.1).

Easily Hazard's worst season as a professional; injuries are only half the story.  The less said about this, the better, though he did improve towards the end.

Hazard did win Man of the Match in three of our last four games, including the home draw with Spurs and his Chelsea Goal of the Year that decided the Premier League title race.  Unsurprisingly, that's his highest rated game.  His lowest was the 3-1 loss to Liverpool in Klopp's first visit to the Bridge that followed his fatal penalty miss in the shootout against Stoke City in the League Cup.

9. KENEDY - DL, AML 6.4
Highest8.8
Lowest4.3
8.0 or higher1
7.0 or higher8
5.0 or lower1

Man of the Match5
20 rated appearances.

Coming out of nowhere to announce himself in the pre-season friendly against Barcelona, where he big boy'd Luis Suarez repeatedly, young Kenedy was one of the feel-good stories of the year.  Ostensibly an attacking midfielder with an eye for a goal and plenty of excitement in the dribble, Kenedy's tenacity and willingness to work and learn saw him deployed as a left back, too, by both managers this season.  There's certainly a scenario here, however likely or unlikely, where new boss Conte exploits this two-way ability in a wing back role.

Kenedy's highest rated game was his full debut, the 4-1 over Walsall in the League Cup, where he scored and provided an assist as well.  His lowest, the only 5.0 or lower outing in 20 tries was his non-impactful substitute appearance in the 3-1 loss at Everton.

10. BERTRAND TRAORÉ - AMR, FC 6.3
Highest7.8
Lowest4.2
8.0 or higher0
7.0 or higher5
5.0 or lower3

Man of the Match1
16 rated appearances.

Limited to rare substitute appearances in the first half of the season, Guus Hiddink finally gave the young Eredivisie star a proper shot, and there's plenty here to be excited about for the future.  The kid looks a little light weight, but his movement's good and he's not afraid to take a shot, and sometimes that's all you need.  He scored almost as many goals (4) as Rémy, Falcao, and Pato combined (5).

Both of Traoré's 7.8s came in matching 5-1 wins, where he scored the fifth goal both times. His lowest rating was a substitute appearance in the home 1-0 loss to Bournemouth, which all but sealed Mourinho's fate.

11. PEDRO - AM 6.2
Highest9.2
Lowest3.5
8.0 or higher4
7.0 or higher8
5.0 or lower6

Man of the Match2
40 rated appearances.

Safe to say that Pedro didn't quite live up to his Barcelona street cred, but I suppose we had a few decent moments. A trainwreck of a season is not exactly ideal conditions for trying to adapt to a new league, in fairness.

Pedro's highest rating was his debut, the 3-2 win over WBA at the Hawthorns.  His lowest was his substitute appearance in the 3-1 home loss to Southampton.  So many home losses!

12. CESC FÀBREGAS - MC, AMC 6.1
Highest9.6
Lowest2.5
8.0 or higher5
7.0 or higher16
5.0 or lower13

Man of the Match3
49 rated appearances.  6th last season (7.3).

As Diego went, so did Cesc.  As Cesc went, so did Diego.  That Spanish axis that served us so well the season before now was one of the major culprits for why Chelsea were so drastically underachieving.  Like Diego, Cesc found some form in the second half of the season, and after waging a successful campaign against the whole "rat" narrative, turned into one of our more outwardly passionate (and thus "caring") players.

Fàbregas was at his absolute best in the 4-1 destruction of Bournemouth at the end of April.  Early in the season, Cesc went on a run of 9 games out of 15 with a 5.0 or lower rating, hitting his nadir in the 3-1 home loss to Southampton.

13. JOHN TERRY - DC 6.1
Highest7.7
Lowes3.5
8.0 or higher0
7.0 or higher8
5.0 or lower7

Man of the Match0
33 rated appearances.  8th last year (7.3), 5th the year before (6.9), 13th in 2012-13 (6.3).

After a renaissance campaign to end all renaissance campaigns in our title-winning season, JT fell hard back to Earth and has yet to recover.  Will he ever recover?  He's got his new one-year contract to try and do so.

JT actually had a decent run just before and just after the mid-season regime change, including two 7.7s against Norwich City and FC Porto, both at the Bridge.  His lowest rate game, like for many others, was the Southampton loss.

14. BABA RAHMAN - DL 6.1
Highest7.8
Lowest3.5
8.0 or higher0
7.0 or higher7
5.0 or lower6

Man of the Match1
23 rated appearances..

Filipe Luís's replacement ended up playing almost as much (23 app's) as Filipe did last season (25 app's).  Neither managed to impress all that greatly (though Filipe's obviously doing quite well back at Atlético, much to our chagrin), but Baba's still young and he can basically only improve.  If he can build on some of his late season success, he might just prove useful.

Baba's undisputed best game was the first leg against PSG in the Champions League first knockout round (and then he wasn't even picked in the 2nd leg because reasons).  His low point of the season was the Sunderland loss that confirmed the Black Cats' Premier League status for another season, and featured a tragically bad substitute appearance from our left back.

15. GARY CAHILL - DC 6.1
Highest7.6
Lowest3.4
8.0 or higher0
7.0 or higher9
5.0 or lower9

Man of the Match0
37 rated appearances.  15th last year (6.7), 7th the year before (6.9), 9th in 2012-13 (6.4).

Back-to-back 15th places for England's vice-captain.  Sounds about right, though for some reason we gave him a new long-term contract just days before he turned 30.  "Veteran".  "Leadership".  "Buzzwords".

Back-to-back seasons without a Man of the Match for Cahill; he hit 7.6 twice, in the 4-0 away win over Maccabi and the 5-1 home win over Newcastle.  His lowest rating was also in the 3-1 home loss to Southampton.

16. JOHN OBI MIKEL - MC 6.1
Highest8.5
Lowest3.5
8.0 or higher1
7.0 or higher7
5.0 or lower4

Man of the Match0
33 rated appearances.  18th last year (6.6), 15th the year before (6.4), 14th in 2012-13 (6.3).

Consistency for the squad's most consistent member, who looked to be well on his way out of Chelsea after a decade of service before Hiddink brought him back into the fold.  With the interim manager set to continue in an advisory role, could their bromance last a few more years into the future?

Mikel had a tremendously prolific season by scoring one goal, though his highest rated game, surprisingly, wasn't that one.  Instead, it was the 3-0 away win over Crystal Palace in Hiddink's third game in charge.  Mikel's lowest rating came in the 3-0 loss at the Etihad late in the year, a game in which hardly anyone really tried.

17. RAMIRES - MC 6.0
Highest8.4
Lowest3.9
8.0 or higher2
7.0 or higher5
5.0 or lower3

Man of the Match1
21 rated appearances.  17th last year (6.6), 16th the year before (6.3), 12th in 2012-13 (6.4).

Gone but never forgotten, Ramires left on what seemed like a moment's notice in January.  Apparently he really didn't get along with Hiddink and took the money from China instead.  Can't blame him for one final payday.  We'll always have Barcelona.

In his half-season of action, Ramires's highest rating came against Newcastle, in the 2-2 draw up north where his substitute appearance started the Chelsea comeback.  Ramires's lowest rated match came two games later: the Southampton loss.

18. OSCAR - AM 6.0
Highest9.5
Lowest3.5
8.0 or higher3
7.0 or higher9
5.0 or lower8

Man of the Match3
40 rated appearances.  11th last year (7.1), 9th the season before (6.7), 5th in 2012-13 (6.6).

Finding Oscar this far down the list would be biggest surprise, were it not for the man following him in 19th.  As for Oscar himself, unless he's sold in the summer, next season with Conte in charge will no doubt be better, but one feels it'll also be a make or break season for him at 25 years of age.  5th to 9th to 11th to 18th is not a good trend.

Even at his most inconsistent, Oscar could always pop up with tremendous performances, such as his hat-trick against MK Dons in the FA Cup.  His lowest rating, fittingly enough, came in the Leicester loss, the last match for the man who once anointed Oscar as the kid around whom we'll build the next great Chelsea generation.

19. NEMANJA MATIĆ - MC 5.8
Highest8.0
Lowest2.9
8.0 or higher1
7.0 or higher6
5.0 or lower12

Man of the Match2
43 rated appearances.  4th last year (7.3); 1st the year before (7.3).

The Yeti.  Bigfoot.  Loch Ness Monster.  Spontaneous combustion.  Bermuda Triangle.  Ghosts.  Nemanja Matic's 2015-16 season.

Just to make things even more weird, Matic followed up his best performance of the season (the 0-0 draw away to Dynamo Kiev) with the worst (the 2-1 away defeat at West Ham United).  Matic was also named Man of the Match on the final day of the seaon, so maybe there's hope?

20. BRANISLAV IVANOVIĆ - DR, DC 5.4
Highest7.9
Lowest2.4
8.0 or higher0
7.0 or higher7
5.0 or lower16

Man of the Match1
43 rated appearances.  13th last year (7.0); 13th the year before (6.6), 15th in 2012-13 (6.3).

Ivanovic was never rated all that highly in these things, but his status as scapegoat in the early season brought him to new lows.  Chelsea's troubles extended far beyond Ivanovic's struggles, but while he played markedly better after his injury-enforced layoff in October, the team took a lot longer to find their feet.

Ivanovic's highest rating and his only Man of the Match award came in the away win over Southampton, when it looked like Chelsea might complete a remarkable turnaround and achieve European qualification.  Alas.  Bane hit below 3.0 four times in the early going (move over Fernando Torres), including 2.4s in the losses against Crystal Palace and FC Porto.

21. LOÏC RÉMY - FC 5.4
Highest7.3
Lowest3.2
8.0 or higher0
7.0 or higher1
5.0 or lower9

Man of the Match1
20 rated appearances.  14th last year (6.8)

It takes effort to remember that Loïc Rémy is actually still a Chelsea player.  And he even has two more years left on his contract!

Rémy had one good game all season, the 4-1 win over Walsall in the League Cup.  He had many bad ones — almost half of his appearances were rated 5.0 or lower — with the substitute appearance against Everton in our 2-0 FA Cup loss taking the cake.

22. RADAMEL FALCAO - FC 5.0
Highest6.8
Lowest3.6
8.0 or higher0
7.0 or higher0
5.0 or lower6

Man of the Match0
12 rated appearances.

Hahahahahahahahahaha.  What a joke.

Falcao scored a goal that looked to rescue a point (or more) against Palace in the fourth game of the season to garner his highest rating.  It was all downhill from there for all involved.  His lowest rating came as a substitute in the home loss to Liverpool at the end of October, after which he made exactly one appearance the rest of the way, in April, against Swansea.

LOL.

And that's the end of your Top 22 of 2015/16. Players without double-digit rated appearances - and thus ineligible for the countdown - included:  Alexandre Pato (2), Matt Miazga (2), Tammy Abraham (2), Papy Djilobodji (1), Jake Clarke-Salter (1), Fikayo Tomori (1).

TOP 5 INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCES

  1. CESC FÀBREGAS, Bournemouth (A), Premier League - 9.6
  2. WILLIAN, Dynamo Kiev (H), Champions League - 9.5
  3. OSCAR, MK Dons (A), FA Cup - 9.5
  4. EDEN HAZARD, Tottenham (H), Premier League - 9.5
  5. EDEN HAZARD, Liverpool (A), Premier League - 9.4

BOTTOM 5 INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCES

  1. BRANISLAV IVANOVIĆ, FC Porto (A), Champions League - 2.4
  2. BRANISLAV IVANOVIĆ, Crystal Palace (A), Premier League - 2.4
  3. CESC FÀBREGAS, Southampton (A), Premier League - 2.5
  4. BRANISLAV IVANOVIĆ, Everton (A), Premier League - 2.5
  5. BRANISLAV IVANOVIĆ, Southampton (A), Premier League - 2.5

TOP 5 CHELSEA PERFORMANCES

  1. Chelsea 5-1 Newcastle United, Premier League - 7.6
  2. Chelsea 2-0 FC Porto, Champions League - 7.4
  3. Chelsea 5-1 Manchester City, FA Cup - 7.4
  4. MK Dons 1-5 Chelsea, FA Cup - 7.3
  5. Crystal Palace 0-3 Chelsea, Premier League - 7.3

BOTTOM 5 CHELSEA PERFORMANCES

  1. Chelsea 1-3 Southampton, Premier League - 4.0
  2. Everton 2-0 Chelsea, FA Cup - 4.2
  3. Leicester City 2-1 Chelsea, Premier League - 4.4
  4. Everton 3-1 Chelsea, Premier League - 4.6
  5. Manchester City 3-0 Chelsea, Premier League - 4.6