The 5 most impressive Chelsea players so far| Olusegun Oyedele

Barely a week left for the closure of the transfer window and the commencement of the new Premier League season, former Napoli manager and coach, Maurizio Sarri, took over the steering of the ship at Stamford Bridge from his fellow Italian coach, Antonio Conte. No one knew what was in stock or at stake for Chelsea until the start of preseason games including the International Champions Cup where Chelsea played Olympic Lyonnais, Arsenal and Inter Milan. Maurizio Sarri brought along with him to Chelsea, the interesting attacking football which was named after the brilliant coach, Sarriball. The preseason tour was for adaptation of the new style of football the Chelsea players were to start using but since most players that participated in the World Cup in Russia were not around,  there was nothing much to talk about Sarriball although youngsters like Hudson-Odoi performed wonderfully well in the new style of football.

There were faint hopes and faith in the new style worsens by the fact that Chelsea got beaten by Manchester City in the Community Shield although the Cityzens took advantage of the young squad available to Sarri to clinch their first silverware of the season. The new season started and so far, it seems Maurizio Sarri has finally found the lasting solution to Chelsea’s problems being only the fourth manager to win first five games in the Premier League history.

Thus, under Maurizio Sarri, it is safe to say all the players have adapted well and performed wonderfully but there are five most outstanding players so far: Eden Hazard, Jorginho, N’golo Kante, Cesar Azplicueta and Marcos Alonso. Antonio Rudiger follows these in the hierarchy.

Eden Hazard- Often tipped to be the next best player after five-time Balon d’Or winner, Lionel Messi, Eden Hazard has, once again, proved himself to be the best player in present-day English football. After a wonderful and mouthwatering run of form for his national side, Belgium, which took them to a first ever, well deserved third place in the just concluded World Cup in Russia, the Belgian attacker has shown the whole world what he’s made of. In an interview after the 4-1 victory over Cardiff where he took the match ball home, he jokingly told reporters, when asked about being fouled by opposition players, that he’s “too fast” to be bullied off the ball. The Belgian talisman, after just three Premier League starts, has been directly involved in seven of Chelsea’s fourteen goals this season. His outstanding stats so far include 289 passes completing 259 successfully, fourteen shots on target and he has scored five of the six shots he has on target and has assisted two goals, all in just three starts. He scored his second hat-trick for Chelsea on Saturday against Cardiff City.

Jorginho – The Italian magic feet has been so instrumental in Maurizio Sarri’s style of football at Chelsea because of his embarrassing passing accuracy. In the game against Newcastle, he had more passes than the whole Newcastle team combined. Maurizio Sarri, who has worked together with Jorginho in Napoli knew the importance of the Italian and therefore, urged Chelsea to pay around 57 million Euros for the former Napoli midfielder. Since he arrived at Stamford Bridge, he has taken over the midfield for Chelsea spraying passes like a spraying machine and right now, he is the player with both the highest number of passes in Europe’s top five leagues with a whopping 509 passes and 466 successful. The stats speak for themselves. Besides, he has a hand in two goals for Chelsea this Premier League season.

N’Golo Kante –The Engine Room at Stamford Bridge, N’Golo Kante is a phenomenon on the field of play. The Frenchman dazzles the whole world, even the sore haters of Chelsea with his midfield expertise and humility combined. Kante was nobody until Leicester bought him for one of the lowest transfers for a player of his caliber and surprisingly, alongside other players, led them to an unbelievable Premier League title three seasons ago. This triggered his transfer to London where he helped Chelsea to a first Premier League title under former coach,  Antonio Conte. Now, Maurizio Sarri has taken over and with Jorginho his favorite choice in the defensive midfield. This propounded Maurizio Sarri to push Ngolo Kante to play an advanced role, pairing with either the on-loan Mateo Kovacic or Ross Barkley. His new role, which he has adapted to so quickly, has helped Chelsea greatly,  Kante being a versatile player both in attack and defence. His quick adaptation to the advanced role is a good one and he scored a goal against Huddersfield and he can boast of thirteen tackles, the highest of any Chelsea player so far this season. Thus, his expertise must not be overlooked.

Cesar Azplicueta –Recently, the issue of team captaincy sprung up in Chelsea. Throughout last season, Gary Cahill shared the captaincy with Dave, as he is popularly known by football fans but Cahill couldn’t get himself a place in the starting XI of the new coach with Antonino Rudiger and David Luiz sharing the two central back positions for now. So far, Cesar Azplicueta has been the captain for the Chelsea team and it doesn’t seem that will change because towards the end of the transfer window,  rumors surrounded Stamford Bridge that Eden Hazard was going to Real Madrid and as a way to tie him down,  the captaincy of Chelsea was promised him alongside a new contract. Now, Eden Hazard is no more going and it seems the captaincy still stays with Dave. So far, his coordination of the Chelsea defence and whole team has been effective pairing with either Pedro or Willian in the right wing and it has produced goals.

Marcos Alonso –Finally, one of the big names thriving under Sarri’s management is Marcos Alonso. The Spaniard was one of the most unlikely names to feature under Maurizio Sarri. Often tagged as very slow on the ball and grossly ineffective, Marcos Alonso has come out of the defensive trend of Antonio Conte into the attack minded football of Maurizio Sarri. He, alongside Eden Hazard, secured all three points against a spirited Unai Emery’s side on matchday 2. He’s like the forgotten son who has now planted himself in the left wing of Maurizio Sarri’s defence and without the signing of a world class left back, it will take any left back in the current Chelsea squad to displace him. He has a goal and two assists so far in the Premier League this season with more to come, hopefully.

Maurizio Sarri’s arrival has brought good fortune so far to the Bridge and ultimately, the players are all happy playing in an attack minded Sarriball and so far, it has produced wonderful results as they sit on the top of the Premier League table with fifteen points from an obtainable fifteen,  joint with Liverpool and they can change this by beating West Ham this weekend and beating Liverpool next week!

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