Chelsea ended the season as FA Cup winners, but it was a troubled campaign for last year’s title winners, who this time around failed to qualify for the Champions League.
Nevertheless, several players still consistently performed to a high standard, while others suggested that there could be more to come from them in the future.
Here’s how we rated each Blues player….
Thibaut Courtois: 7.5
He kept 18 clean sheets from 46 club appearances and had a fine – if not truly spectacular – season, especially considering the team’s defensive problems. Courtois made crucial saves in the FA Cup final win over Manchester United when it mattered most, while mistakes were rare and he has become more commanding and much improved with his distribution.
Willy Caballero: 6
Caballero made a crucial contribution in the FA Cup run, as a penalty shoot-out hero in the win over Norwich and making an astonishing save in the semi-final victory over Southampton. But he is far from convincing and remains prone to an error as shown in the 1-1 home draw against Huddersfield. He doesn’t inspire confidence in the fans and those around him and is a decent back-up keeper with good experience, but no more than that.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 8
The ever-reliable defender played 52 club games for the Blues, maintaining a consistently excellent standard that has become the norm. Azpilicueta missed just one league match and brought stability and a willingness to lead by example in a relatively inexperienced rearguard. He also developed and involved himself more as an attacking force, providing countless chances and numerous assists for Alvaro Morata.
Antonio Rudiger: 8.5
Already a cult hero, the summer signing has made big impact. He has pace, looks more and more comfortable on the ball with each game and has an aggressive high-tempo style that has won over the fans. He was superb in the FA Cup final against Manchester United and arguably Chelsea best performer in the closing stages of the season.
Gary Cahill: 5.5
A strong end to the season when he lifted the FA Cup showed the Chelsea captain’s resilience, spirit and attitude remains spot on, but does not hide the fact he was way off his best for much of the campaign. A dreadful start saw him sent off against Burnley in the opening game, which set the tone and saw Cahill lose his automatic starting place. There were more mistakes than usual and his confidence appeared to be knocked, but he showed just how important an influence he can be against United at Wembley and has earned a place in England’s World Cup squad.
Andreas Christensen: 7.5
Two seasons of hugely impressive performances while on loan with Borussia Monchengladbach earned the Dane a place in the squad and he quickly became the first-choice central defender in the three-man backline. Christensen has been one of the biggest plus points of the season having excelled for the most part in a position that is probably the toughest for a young player to break through when every mistake is magnified. A couple of high-profile errors – notably against Barcelona and Tottenham – not only proved costly but saw him heavily criticised. But it should not detract from a fine season. His passing is generally exceptional, his positional play excellent for a 22-year-old and his ability to anticipate and instigate attacks make a priceless asset. Next season could be a fabulous one. There is so much more to come.
David Luiz: 5
A scapegoat for the shambolic second-half display in the Champions League defeat against Roma, and the equally inept defensive showing against Watford, Luiz started the season but quickly fell out of favour under Antonio Conte despite being so crucial to last season’s title win. He only started nine Premier League matches, and although much of the time he was classed as injured, he fell way down the pecking order and looks likely to leave in the summer – unless Conte leaves first.
Ethan Ampadu: 7
Seven appearances as 17-year-old show how highly regarded Ampadu is and the fact he got a decent amount of game time and was regularly involved just about justified the decision not to send him out on loan. The Welsh teenager is astonishingly composed, strong in the tackle and did not seem overawed in any way. His emergence, along with Christensen’s progression, means Chelsea’s defence looks in great hands for years to come.
Victor Moses: 6.5
A season full of energetic performances, strong running, fine approach play – but misplaced passes and crosses in the final third. Moses is so close to be being a wonderful wing-back but too often lacks the quality in his decision-making and final pass. Defensively he is more than decent, although his concentration can be suspect on the odd occasion, he just needs to make his final ball a telling one more often than he does.
Davide Zappacosta: 6.5
An outrageous full-debut goal against Qarabag highlighted his energy, enthusiasm and desire to get forward and he tended to make an impact in attack either coming on or when playing from the start. He provides a viable alternative to Moses but still has not quite done enough defensively to become first choice. He is decent on the ball, direct and positive and brings an effervescence to the side when selected.
Marcos Alonso: 8.5
A player of immense quality who remains one of Chelsea’s most potent attacking threats. Alonso was Chelsea fourth-highest scorer, with eight goals, and created countless chances with his thoughtful delivery and relentless running down the left. The nature of his role, and the need to bomb on, means he is sometimes caught out of position and gets unfairly criticised. He provides balance, composure and goals and was a key player in many of the best moments of the season, notably with his match-winning double against Tottenham at Wembley.
Emerson Palmieri: 6
The 23-year-old left wing-back did well enough during his seven appearances. Emerson looked dangerous in attack and solid in defence when deputising for Alonso – and stood out in the win against Burnley. But judgement remains well and truly reserved.
N’Golo Kante: 9.5
It’s hard to find a fault in Kante’s efforts during another remarkable nine months. Rightly named player of the season, he covered a multitude of shortcomings for the team and had it not been for his consistent contribution and presence the season would have been even more of a letdown. His passing and reading of the game went up a level and it’s just his finishing that needs working on.
Tiemoue Bakayoko: 4.5
Encouraging displays in the first few weeks away against Tottenham, Leicester and Atletico Madrid – despite being injured – probably did the Frenchman no favours. He started to struggle after that and soon had the crowd on his back following a series of weak displays full of ponderous midfield play, misplaced passes and a seemingly languid approach. Bakayoko has all the attributes to succeed and showed his potential when he returned to the side at the back end of the season with several powerful performances playing in a more advanced role with less defensive responsibility. Next season will be key for him.
Danny Drinkwater: 5.5
A strange signing that looked like a panic buy just to swell numbers before the season got under way, Drinkwater has shown he is a more than dependable holding midfielder. But has not shown he has the dynamism or creativity to merit the starting place that is up for grabs alongside Kante.
Cesc Fabregas: 7
At times the nous, awareness and ability sets him head and shoulders above anyone else in a Blues midfield and his work-rate is far better than he ever gets credit for. The lack of pace can be noticeable although his positional sense and football brain means he is only very rarely exposed. He had some of his best games playing in advance of two holding midfielders where the greater freedom he was permitted allowed him to drift and dictate play.
Eden Hazard: 9
He was more consistent than ever despite carrying the bulk of the creative responsibilities throughout a poor league season for the club. Hazard’s selflessness continues to shine, as does his strength in possession and ability to withstand the constant harsh treatment dished out to him. His dribbling and awareness sets him apart from his peers and he never hides or stops demanding possession even when double marked. It was fitting that he was the inspiration for the FA Cup win at Wembley, with a goal and a performance that capped a wonderful season on a personal level. He scored 17 goals for the Blues, with three more for Belgium taking his tally to 20.
A player who thrives on being fully sharp, Pedro has the temperament and ability to win matches but seems to find it difficult to flit in and out as much as Conte’s selection policy demands. When he has a consistent run in the side, his considerable pace and direct style causes no end of issues for opponents and his finishing is as good as anyone in a Blues shirt. His future at the club could well be decided by what happens to Willian in the summer. Pedro only started 28 games, with a further 20 coming as a substitute.
At times the Brazilian was unplayable and overshadowed even Hazard, but by the end of the season an increasingly fractious relationship with Conte had taken its toll. Willian only started 20 league games, but appeared in all but two of Chelsea’s 38 matches. He still managed 13 goals from a total of 53 appearances but it was a largely frustrating . Given his quality and level of performance, surely he needs to be a more regular starter. Both Willian and the team seem likely to benefit from the confidence having a more consistent line-up.
Ross Barkley: 5
A player of immense talent, who had very little chance to show it because of injury and the fact he was joining an increasingly disjointed team and was often thrown in to big matches, lacking sharpness and familiarity with his team-mates. Barkley can be a game-changer but needs the sharpness to show the class and creativity so obvious from the early stages of career with Everton. Like many of his team-mates, next season will be huge and promises much if he can have a strong pre-season. He was one of the few players to emerge with any credit from the pitiful showing against Newcastle in the final league game of the season.
Alvaro Morata: 6
A player seemingly lacking the ability to deliver a steady performance, Morata tends to be a matchwinner or bordering on dreadful. He is often too easily wound up and loses his focus but when he is on his game he looks sensational. Awesome in the air, intelligent with his movement and able to run from deep and take on defenders, he offers so much but needs consistency and to be better and bring something to the team when he is not at his best. A hit-and-miss season still brought 11 league goals in 24 starts and 15 goals in a total of 31 starts in all competitions.
Olivier Giroud: 8
He scored a breathtaking goal to set Chelsea on their way in the FA Cup semi-final win against Southampton. And the match-winning two-goal performance in the league win over the same team set the standard in terms of effort and application for Morata to follow. Giroud is already something of a crowd favourite because of his physicality, deft touch and passion. Provides the certainty of touch, presence and ability to hold the ball up, which is vital to the system Conte employs. A perfect example of a player who brings confidence to the team and helps others play.
Michy Batshuayi: 5
A frustrating season all round. Conte clearly lacks faith in his ability to link up play and retain possession playing as the main striker, but his goalscoring record, direct running and instinct give him real potential. He scored some important goals before going out on loan to Borussia Dortmund where he scored nine goals in 13 starts before suffering a serious injury. His Chelsea future remains uncertain.