Once again, it’s been a season of many ups and few downs. With the highlights come heroes, and with the low points, scapegoats are created. Week in, week out, you, the CFCnet forum users, have been voting in your droves to ensure that we are given a bigger picture at the end of the season. Yes, it’s that time of the season again, the moment we find out just who will be awarded the prestigious CFCnet Player of the Season award 2009/10.

Based on votes cast in the matchday forum polls, constructed after every win, draw or defeat, the top three from each tally are awarded points. The leader of the pack gets three, with the next two most popular players picking up two and one respectively.

Frank Lampard has been the proud owner of the non-existent trophy for the past two seasons, beating Didier Drogba into second place last year and the departing Joe Cole in 2007/08. Of course, Big Did picked up the official Chelsea Player of the Year award after this campaign, but there are plenty of challengers who could realistically take the CFCnet award.

In reverse order, the results are as follows:

Hilario – 1 point
Ross Turnbull & Sam Hutchinson – 2 each
Jeffrey Bruma – 3
Gael Kakuta – 4
Ricardo Carvalho – 5

No real surprise with the last five places, although the early appearance of Ricardo Carvalho in the list amongst the smattering of youth teamers and fringe players perhaps points to a decline in his fortunes over the last season. Kakuta’s points are also probably cast more out of excitement at seeing that he exists as a footballer and not just the subject of a bizarre transfer wrangle.

Deco and John Mikel Obi – 7 each
Salomon Kalou – 9
Alex, Daniel Sturridge and Michael Ballack – 10
Joe Cole – 11
Michael Essien – 12

Mikel did shine in a few games last season, but he still appears to be struggling to make that holding midfield spot his own. Either that or he’s doing it so well, we don’t notice him. Deco played in his customary three or four good games of the season before fading rapidly in the others, while Kalou has again had to put up with the boo boys at the Bridge. Alex’s low score is a surprise, while the fact that Essien – who played what seems like a sum total of five minutes – picked up more votes than the exit-bound Joe Cole and Ballack speaks volumes.

Yuri Zhirkov – 14
Ashley Cole – 15
Petr Cech – 16
Nicolas Anelka – 21

Now we get to the business end of the voting, and all four of these players are unlucky to miss out on the top five. Zhirkov slotted into the team well in his debut season, even if his defensive abilities were called into question on more than one occasion, while Ashley Cole was exceptional at the back and going forward. Cech was commandeering throughout, while Anelka suffered in the polls for a barren middle period of the season.

And the top five:

Florent Malouda – 23 (7%)

Building on an impressive end to last season, Malouda continued his impressive form throughout the 2009/10 campaign and rightly takes a spot in the top five of the CFCnet poll. His assist for Joe Cole in the Manchester United away game showed that he has strength in abundance, and the lightweight performances of his first years at Chelsea are all but a distant memory now.

Branislav Ivanovic and John Terry – 28 each (8.75%)

Early on in his Chelsea career, a frustrated and constantly over-looked Ivanovic was rumoured to be on the verge of joining AC Milan, then managed of course by Carlo Ancelotti. The fact that he now stands head and shoulders beside the Blues’ captain in the CFCnet poll is testament to the sensational season the Serbian has enjoyed.

Slotting in at right-back in place of the injured Jose Bosingwa, Ivanovic showed attacking verve and defensive solidity, and bagged a place in the PFA Team of the Year for his troubles. The Portuguese star may find he now has a huge fight on his hands.

Terry enjoyed and endured the season in equal measures, but will be remembered by CFCnet readers at least as the man who led us to the double above all else. Although he was stripped of the England captaincy, he has the armband for good at Chelsea and led from the back imperiously for the majority of the campaign. A few shaky games aside, he comfortably ensures that his 2009/10 season will be remembered as a great footballing year.

Frank Lampard – 30 (9%)

Only a special player can keep Frank of the top. Lampard bagged over twenty goals in the season for the fifth consecutive year, knocking in a personal record of 22 in the Premier League alone. He also provided a spark in the midfield when sometimes it seemed to be lacking, and again carried himself in a professional manner.

He’s rightly a fans’ favourite, but after a handful of quiet performances early on while he was settling into Ancelotti’s system, some fans started to question his commitment and even suggested the Italian manager should drop the inspirational midfielder.

By the end of the season he had easily rammed those suggestions back down the throats of the naysayers. The goals flowed, the all round play was cultured and driven, and Frank Lampard was Frank Lampard. Exceptional.

And your winner…

Didier Drogba – 52 (16%)

A staggering margin between first and second, but then again, the Ivorian had a staggeringly good season.

Your CFCnet Player of the Year recorded his highest ever goal tally at the tender age of 32, scoring 37 goals in just 44 matches. It’s a remarkable turnaround from early on in the 2008/09 season, when he looked out of favour and disinterested under Luis Felipe Scolari, and rumoured to be on his way out sharpish.

After managing 14 goals last season, Drogba almost trebled that tally whilst also appearing untouchable on the pitch. He was described as unplayable for opponents, and he proved this week in, week out with a string of imperious performances.

Of course there were still a few strops creeping into games, none more memorable than the huff he got into after Lampard denied him a penalty in the final game of the season when the title was on the line, but he rightly turned his game around in the second-half and bagged a hat-trick – including a penalty of his own – to take the Premier League Golden Boot award.
While the likes of Lampard, Ivanovic, Terry and Malouda challenged, there was only going to be one winner. Didier Drogba was magnificent, and is the 2009/10 CFCnet Player of the Year.

    Team of the Season

Cech;
Ivanovic, Alex, Terry, A. Cole;
Essien, Lampard, Malouda, Zhirkov;
Drogba, Anelka.

Thanks to all those who voted.