Saturday 21 April 2018

5 key players in Chelsea's Premier League title success

Eden Hazard, left, Diego Costa, second left, and N'Golo Kante, second right, have been among Chelsea's most influential players this season
Eden Hazard, left, Diego Costa, second left, and N'Golo Kante, second right, have been among Chelsea's most influential players this season

Chelsea have won the Premier League title. Here, Press Association Sport looks at their most influential players this season.

:: N'Golo Kante

The midfielder was a priority signing for Chelsea and swapped surprise champions Leicester for life outside the Champions League. He soon demonstrated his ability and was recognised by his peers as the Professional Footballers' Association player of the year, for his ceaseless energy and intelligence. The France international is the first player since Eric Cantona in 1992 and 1993 to win successive championships with different clubs. Mark Schwarzer did so with Chelsea and Leicester, but did not appear for the Foxes in the league.

:: Eden Hazard

The Belgium playmaker sparkled as Jose Mourinho's Chelsea won the 2014-15 title, but underperformed last season as the Blues finished 10th. A change in management and formation, not to mention the presence of Kante, has given Hazard more freedom going forward and less defensive responsibility. He has thrived with his highest goal return and consistently influential performances which have prompted speculation of a £100million bid from Real Madrid.

:: Diego Costa

The striker enjoyed a hot streak in front of goal in the first half of the season, but his goal return has slowed since his head was apparently turned by a lucrative offer in January from the Chinese Super League. Yet he still scored more than 20 league goals, emulating Didier Drogba and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink as the only Chelsea players to have achieved that feat more than once. As good as the former Atletico Madrid man was at times, Chelsea may welcome an astronomical fee for a player who is 29 in October and at times more liability than lethal.

:: David Luiz

Eyebrows were raised when the Brazil defender was re-signed from Paris St Germain. Many thought Chelsea had performed a minor miracle to sell Luiz for £50m in the first place, particularly after his poor showing at a home World Cup weeks later. But two years on Luiz is a more mature player, more disciplined and the central position in the back three is tailor-made for a player who is so comfortable on the ball that he can saunter forwards into midfield and can splay passes out from the back.

:: John Terry

The club captain has been so central to Chelsea's modern successes that it might be a surprise to see him on this list, given his lack of game time this season. However, while some players might put themselves first and could have disrupted matters, the 36-year-old's professionalism has shone through. Terry has known the end is nigh for some time and he wanted to leave Chelsea as a champion. He has done that.

Press Association

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