Goal takes a look at the three most important men for Antonio Conte’s side in the Premier League and picks the best of the bunch
With just one win needed from their last three Premier League games to secure the sixth top flight title in their history, Chelsea have had a remarkable season.
Antonio Conte has transformed the fortunes of the side who finished 10th last season to put them at the top of the pile in the English top flight. Chelsea have been competing with local rivals Tottenham, but they now look almost guarenteed to become champions once again.
Players like David Luiz, Diego Costa, Marcos Alonso, Victor Moses, Willian, Cesc Fabregas and Pedro have all been important as Chelsea close in on a league and cup double. Goal runs through the top three performers for the London club in 2016-17 in descending order…
3. CESAR AZPILICUETA
The versatile defender has been utilised in five different positions this season and excelled in almost every one. He has played as both a wing back and full back on both sides, as well as adapting brilliantly to being a right sided centre-back in Conte’s three man defence.
Azpilicueta has also shown great leadership on the pitch, in a season where John Terry has taken a step back from his automatic starting role. Gary Cahill has mainly taken over captaincy duties but the Spain international is a commanding force on the pitch and led Chelsea out for the first time in a 4-2 FA Cup semi-final win over Tottenham.
He is the only Chelsea player to have played in every single minute of their league campaign and he has produced more passes than any other player in the Premier League, so far, this season.
2. EDEN HAZARD
Eden Hazard is Chelsea’s most exciting player and has produced several moments that have been vital to his side’s resurgent season. His 19 goals match his haul from the 2014-15 season in which Chelsea claimed the title, as Hazard earned individual glory by being awarded the PFA Player of the Year award.
He is the second most fouled player in the league this season having been brought down 89 times as he attempts, on average, four dribbles-per-game.
Conte has got the best out of Hazard in the 3-4-3 formation and the Belgium captain is unlucky to not find himself in the number one spot.
1. N’GOLO KANTE
N’Golo Kante has been Chelsea’s best player this season and he is the Premier League’s best transfer of the season, having made the £32 million move from Leicester City in the summer.
The France international has picked up both of this season’s PFA Player of the Year and the FWA Player of the Year awards, despite his defensive role in the team.
He is the most defensive player to with the PFA’s award since Terry and his impact has been huge in allowing his side to control games in a title winning season.
Both of his goals came against Manchester United, but goals aren’t what he is measured by and he ranks among the highest in the league for tackles and interceptions. His 289 tackles since he moved to England at the start of last season is more than any other player.
Conte and his coaching staff have improved his passing and he ranks seventh for completed balls this year.