Maurizio Sarri’s first year in charge of Chelsea in the Premier League has finally reached its conclusion and finishing 3rd in the Premier League table behind two of the best sides the Premier League has ever seen is in no way an underachievement.
It was a rollercoaster season for Chelsea and Sarri in particular. Defeating a Manchester City side who were invincible until the point to the whole Kepa-Sarri debacle in the Carabao Cup final to the 4-0 and 6-0 drubbing away from home, it was one hell of a ride for the fans. But they ultimately managed to secure a top 4 place while also reaching a European final.
Here are the Chelsea players rating for the Premier League season 2018/19:
Kepa Arrizabalaga: A seemingly panic buy at the start of the season post the departure of Thibaut Courtois to Real Madrid, Kepa has made sure the fans don’t miss the Belgian one bit. There have been minor hiccups along the way but his confident shot-stopping and command of the area have been integral to how Sarri wants his team to play. Grade – A.
Cesar Azpilicueta: Azpilicueta, being one of the veterans in this Blues’ side, has been dependable. Although his offensive contribution has seen a dip from previous campaigns, he is still the no. 1 for Sarri in the RB position. Grade – B+
Antonio Rudiger: Rudiger, along with David Luiz, formed a resolute partnership at the back for Chelsea. Despite suffering an injury in the latter part of the season, Rudiger is one of the main reasons Chelsea finished third. No one can forget his late equaliser against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge which helped the Blues avoid a major defeat against their rivals at home. Grade – B+
David Luiz: The Brazillian has been a key player in the Sarriball style of play. Whatever he lacks in defence, he makes up with his distribution, tackling and reading of the game. No wonder the Italian stuck by Luiz even when he wasn’t performing at his best. Grade – B+
Marcos Alonso: Probably the biggest disappointment of the season, Marcos Alonso hasn’t adjusted well to Sarri’s style of play. He eventually lost his place to Emerson who has fared well in the LB role. Grade- E
Jorginho: Jorginho turned down the reigning champions Manchester City and Pep Guardiola at the start of the season which mustn’t have been an easy decision by any means. The Italian preferred his former manager from Napoli and his faith in the Italian manager somewhat paid off. Jorginho had a difficult start to the season but looked better as the games went by. One thing is for sure, without a player like Jorginho in this current Chelsea squad, there is no Sarriball. Grade – B+
N’golo Kante: The Frenchman adjusted to his new role like no other. He did have his fair share of problems at times but overall, collectively, Kante has been nothing but good for the majority of the season. Grade – A
Ruben-Loftus Cheek: The English International only surfaced in the second half of the season and seems to have cemented his place in the starting lineup. His goals and linkup play with Eden Hazard have been a special feature and he is expected to develop into one of Chelsea’s finest midfielders. Grade – B+
Ross Barkley: Barkley has seen his career going downhill ever since he left Everton for Chelsea. A prolific midfielder at one point saw his career getting back on track when he scored some important goals for the Blues but the English International has once again dropped to the bench with the rise of Ruben Loftus Cheek. Grade- B
Mateo Kovacic: The Croatian is on loan at Chelsea from Real Madrid and was a starter for the Blues for a large chunk of the season but the resurgence of Ross Barkley and Ruben-Loftus Cheek has seen Kovacic fall by the wayside. Grade – B
Eden Hazard: Head and shoulders above everyone else in the team, Eden Hazard is arguably the sole reason Chelsea managed to secure a top 4 finish. With the strikers misfiring and the wingers off-colour, he came up with the required goals (15) and assists (16), which has probably saved Sarri’s job. Grade – A+
Willian: The Brazillian started enough games to make a lasting impression but has failed to do so. With the amount of experience he has under his belt, Sarri will expect more from him if he stays on next season. Grade – B
Pedro: Pedro’s time at Chelsea has been full of ups and downs. Although his effort cannot be questioned, consistency has been an issue which has stopped him from nailing down a starting spot. Grade – B
Higuain: Sarri made a move for Higuain in the winter transfer window after loaning Morata to Atletico Madrid. Even though the Argentine hasn’t made a significant difference in terms of goals, his presence in the starting XI has made things a tad bit easier for the Italian to implement his system. Grade – B