Chelsea and Maurizio Sarri, in particular, have had a strange season. With the Premier League season drawing to an end last weekend, Chelsea managed to secure Champions League football finishing 3rd in the league ahead of the Champions League finalists Tottenham Hotspur.
The season has been a rollercoaster ride for the Chelsea fans who have seen their side go through all sorts of emotions.
From defeating a Manchester City side who looked invincible at that point, to 4-0 and 6-0 humiliations away from home to the Kepa-Sarri debacle in the EFL Cup final; the fans have pretty much seen it all.
The season could take one more turn with one mountain still left to climb – the Europa League final against their fierce rivals, Arsenal, later in the month.
Let’s take a look at three players who have stood out for Chelsea this season.
Kepa arrived at Chelsea in times of distress, as their number one goalkeeper in Thibaut Courtois left for Real Madrid, leaving behind some big shoes to fill.
The Spaniard rose to the occasion and has been a rock between the posts, keeping 23 clean sheets in 53 appearances for the club.
Kepa’s quick reflexes and good distribution have been vital to Sarri’s system. The 24-year-old finished in top 3 goalkeepers in the Premier League in terms of clean sheets only behind the two Brazilians, Ederson Moraes and Alisson Becker.
The Italian midfielder followed in his manager’s footsteps from Napoli to Chelsea turning down the defending champions Pep Guardiola and Manchester City in the process.
The 27-year-old had a slow start to the campaign adjusting to the English football, but has shown significant progress ever since, ending the season on a high.
The midfielder’s lack of goals, assists and defensive side have been under scrutiny for quite some time, but the ones who criticise him simply don’t understand his role.
There is no SarriBall without Jorginho, who fulfils the role of a Regista for the London club.
If there is one name in that Chelsea side that stands out from the rest, it’s Eden Hazard. The Belgian has 35 goal contributions to his name, scoring 19 times in all competitions.
The 28-year-old has been a force to reckon with and Zinedine Zidane’s interest in bringing Hazard to Real Madrid speaks for itself.
Hazard is versatile and has delivered for his manager at every position. Whether it was playing as a false nine in big games when the likes of Giroud, Higuain and Morata weren’t firing or his wonder goal against West Ham United at Stamford Bridge, Hazard was always a handful for the opposition.