1. ANTONIO RÜDIGER (8.7)
In the fine tradition of Diego Costa, just to name a recent example, Rüdiger channeled his inner rage to drag Chelsea up by the bootstraps and inspire us to a crucial victory. When it looked like all the forces of the football universe were conspiring against us, Toni bundled in a goal, snatched away some souls with a pirouette, and then picked a fight at the end to help settle a score as well.
(Incidentally, Rüdiger scored twice against Leicester last year. His last three goals and nearly half of the seven he’s scored in his four-year career at Chelsea have come against the Foxes.)
All the while, Toni has been excellent in defense, and thanks to his string of rather good-to-great performances (just 1 rating below 6.6 in his last 16 appearances, starting with the first leg against Atletico), he’s now joined the WAGNH Player of the Year conversation, alongside N’Golo Kanté, Mason Mount, Thiago Silva, and Édouard Mendy. Kanté has a slim lead with two games left.
2. THIAGO SILVA (7.8)
Not nearly as headline-grabbing as Toni, but Thiago’s influence all season cannot be overstated. He’s been everything advertised and expected, and probably more. While we don’t really know what the defense will look like next season or beyond, if the likes of Rüdiger, Christensen, and Zouma are to continue long-term, they will owe plenty to Silva in terms of their development and successes.
3. REECE JAMES (7.5)
Just beating out Timo Werner and Ben Chilwell, James gets rewarded for yet another fine job in the office at right-center back, keeping Jamie Vardy quiet and adding further support for the idea that this position may actually be the best for him long-term.
vs. LEICESTER CITY (PL, H, W 2-1)
EXCEPTIONAL (9.0+): —
EXCELLENT (8.0-8.9): Rüdiger (8.7)
GOOD (7.0-7.9): Silva (7.8), James (7.5), Chilwell (7.4), Werner (7.4), Mount (7.2), Mendy (7.1), Jorginho (7.1), Azpilicueta (7.0)
AVERAGE (6.0-6.9): Pulisic (6.9), Kanté (6.8). Kovacic (6.5, sub), Zouma (6.1, sub)
POOR (5.0-5.9): Giroud (5.9, sub)
BAD (4.0-4.9): —
TERRIBLE (3.0-3.9): —