Honorable Mentions: Matic, Oscar, Terry, Azpilicueta
*Willian missed 2 games making him ineligible*
Victor Moses is perhaps the biggest surprise inclusion into the top 5 performers. The reason he gets the nod over the players in the honorable mention category is due to his performance given the playing time he’s received.
The Nigerian winger has been used as a second half substitute in all the Premier League games thus far. Only in the EFL Cup did Moses receive starting berth.
He is currently the biggest representation of the positive effects of Chelsea’s loan system. When he was signed from Wigan, he wasn’t ready to make instant impact in the team. On each loan spell, the Nigerian gained skill and confidence.
Always making a splash in preseason, Moses never seemed to do enough to find his name on the Chelsea squad, until this season.
It is under Chelsea’s new manager, Antonio Conte, that the Nigerian has been given a chance and so far he’s taking it.
With just 37 minutes in 3 Premier League appearances, Moses picked up a goal, along with consistently making an impact in his short time on the pitch.
The winger also managed to score during his appearance in the EFL cup, proving a vital member in the side that beat Bristol Rovers.
Overall, Moses is demonstrating exactly why Conte recalled the Nigerian into the side. There is finally a winger to push Hazard and Willian. He is right on the heels of Pedro as he seeks to replace the Spaniard as the third choice winger.
This season will prove exactly what Moses is made of. So far so good for the Nigerian.
Another Chelsea player that makes the list because of his performance-to-minutes ratio is Michy Batshuayi. Chelsea’s newest striker seems to be hitting the ground running.
The Belgian has only played 32 minutes in 3 substitute appearances in the Premier League. In that time, “Batman” has picked up a goal and an assist. One was a match-winning assist and the other a game-tying goal.
In the EFL Cup, the Belgian struck twice in a 90-minute appearance against Bristol Rovers.
Michy comes to Chelsea with a great scoring record in France. The striker scored 23 goals in all competitions last season, with 17 in Ligue 1.
With his future bright, it’ll be interesting to see how long Conte can keep “Batman” out of the starting lineup. However, with Diego Costa playing so well, the Belgian may have his work cut out for him.
Perhaps a two-striker system may be the best way to incorporate both prolific forwards.
The introduction of N’Golo Kante into Chelsea’s squad has been nothing short of brilliance for Conte and his Blues. The French midfielder has revolutionized the way the West Londoners play.
No longer are they reliant on Nemanja Matic to shield their backline. With the Serbian playing higher up the pitch in a box-to-box role, Kante is free to roam Chelsea’s midfield, intercepting passes, making tackles and shielding the back four from opposing harm.
And so far, he’s doing his job splendidly.
The goals that Chelsea let in last season are becoming less and less of an issue. Ideally, the Blues capture another centreback and left-back before the transfer window closes, and the leaks are dried up completely.
However, without a move, Chelsea will still be much safer with Kante than last season without the Frenchman.
Kante is also known for his ability to pass the ball from deep in the midfield. He can help move the ball swiftly across the pitch and dictate the play.
His ability to pass the ball has means that Cesc Fabregas has become slightly less needed in Chelsea’s pivot. If the Frenchman can pass the ball as well as defend, he combines Matic’s strength and Fabregas’s passing ability.
Kante is certainly a major reason for Chelsea’s perfect start to the season. At just 25, he’s on his way to being the best defensive midfielder in the world.
Ever since Didier Drogba departed the Blues, Chelsea have been craving a striker as prolific as the Ivorian. Enter Diego Costa.
The Spaniard has been as close to replicating Drogba’s success as possible. Putting aside his negative behavioral issues with the FA, some of which he’s harshly accused, Costa is exactly who Chelsea need leading their line.
What makes Costa the best man to lead the team is his work ethic. The striker is often found making runs into channels, in behind defenders and playing off the shoulder of the last centreback.
In his first 2 Premier League matches, Costa played the hero in each, scoring in the last few minutes to win both games for Conte’s Blues.
In his third match, Costa went unrewarded for his hard work, though the Spaniard could have very easily scored 3.
Early on, he’s linking with Hazard, creating his own opportunities and finishing the chances created by his teammates. If Costa can focus on his playing and staying on the pitch, he will rival the league’s top scorers for Golden Boot.
With the right moves in the transfer market on the defensive side of the ball, Costa may very well fire Chelsea to the Premier League title.
It’s great to find Hazard at the top of this list and even better to realize how much he deserves to be there. Chelsea’s best player is performing the best thus far this season.
Though it may be dangerous to say he’s looking like the Hazard of 2 seasons ago, he absolutely is. The Belgian is getting on the ball more often and looks a lot more threatening when he does so.
He is picking out deadly passes along with creating opportunities himself. The 25-year-old is carving out his own chances from nothing, best exemplified by his opening goal against Burnley at the weekend.
He beat a few defenders off the dribble, exploded into space and then essentially passed the ball into the corner of the goal, around the Burnley keeper, Tom Heaton.
If Hazard continues to play like this, the sky is the limit for Conte and his Blues. Right now, he’s one of the best players in the Premier League.
A commentator during the preseason summed up Hazard perfect:
“When Hazard is at his best, he is most likely the best player on the pitch. If Chelsea aren’t playing Real Madrid, Barcelona, or maybe Bayern Munich, Hazard is the best player on the pitch when he’s at his best. That’s what he means to Chelsea.”
If Conte can continue to keep Hazard firing and training hard, this Chelsea team may very well go the distance. One thing is for sure, with Hazard playing like he is thus far, there is no ceiling for Conte’s men.