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Chelsea player ratings: Premier League champions’ dip in form hard to fathom

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IT was just under six months ago we embarked on a player ratings series, grading the stars at the big six Premier League clubs at the end of last season.

For Chelsea supporters, it made glorious reading.

How quickly life can change.

“If you’re looking at key players, the spine of last year’s team, Cahill and Terry were the absolute anchors in that team. In midfield Matic and Fabregas, up front Costa and Hazard,” Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville said on Monday Night Football in the UK this week.

“If you think about the dip, it’s unexplainable. They really are disastrous stats from a football point of view. I can’t think of one Chelsea player at the moment who is playing well. I can’t think of one that’s playing to their standard.

“As a player you have a responsibility to reach your standard, simple as that. Forget about what the manager is doing, you have a responsibility to reach your standard in terms of work ethic, level of performance, doing the right things.

“These players, six months ago, I talked about them dominating English football for the next three or four years. I couldn’t see how anyone could get near them.

“If I was a Chelsea fan I would be really worried, I’d be worried if I was Jose Mourinho, and I’m sure he is, about players like Fabregas, Hazard, Costa.”

Ahead of the crunch UEFA Champions League clash with Dynamo Kiev at Stamford Bridge, we compare the Blues, then champions, and now wildly off the pace.

GOALKEEPERS

ASMIR BEGOVIC – 6

He’s no Petr Cech, but the Bosnia and Herzegovina international has been far from Chelsea’s worst. In fact, Mourinho is fortunate he brought someone in of such calibre given Thibaut Courtois’s long term absence.

THIBAUT COURTOIS: Last season – 8, this year so far – N/A

The Belgian has only played three games and was sent off in one of them.

DEFENDERS

BRANISLAV IVANOVIC – 3

Last season – 8.5

The right back has been a pillar of strength for Chelsea previously. This year, he has simply lost his legs, and has been mocked for becoming a turnstile down the right hand side. Retained his spot, and even took the armband, until succumbing to injury on international duty. Is no longer a threat going forward, either.

JOHN TERRY – 4

Last season – 9

A fading force who has been made the symbol of the side’s slump by going from not missing a minute last year to losing his spot early this season. His tackles and aerial duels won per game are down on last season, and his pace has left a lot to be desired.

GARY CAHILL – 5

Last season – 7

The Englishman’s key metrics aren’t as down as some of his colleagues’ but the impenetrable combination he formed with Terry is no longer there.

Cesc Fabregas, Gary Cahill, Kurt Zouma and John Terry.

KURT ZOUMA – 5

Last season – 6

The highly-rated defender has been thrown in the deep end and didn’t provide any immediate remedy. Indeed, it heightened why Mourinho was so desperate for John Stones. Has been tried instead of Terry, at right back and as a screener in midfield.

CESAR AZPILICUETA – 6

Last season – 7.5

The Spaniard’s drop hasn’t been as startling as the others’ but he’s gone from a stoic left-sided defender who rarely got beaten, and who could get forward as well, to something far more anonymous. He has still started all 11 games.

Chelsea Manager Jose Mourinho.

MIDFIELDERS

NEMANJA MATIC – 3

Last season – 8.5

Scored one good goal, but his dip has been an underrated factor in Chelsea’s slump. Last season he broke up opponents’ play, kept the Chelsea tempo moving with simple passing and protected the back four. Topped by ill-discipline, he is doing none of that this term and has been made a scapegoat.

CESC FABREGAS – 3

Last season – 8.5

This time last year, he had nine assists. True, that was extraordinary. But it’s been the other extreme this season, with just one – from a set piece, while also being exposed for a lack of defensive discipline. All his key passing indicators have dropped, and so was he, against Liverpool.

JON OBI MIKEL – 4

Last season – 4

Mourinho hoped the Nigerian’s defensive sensibilities would bail the team out when Matic had dipped in form. It hasn’t helped.

OSCAR – 5

Last season – 6.5

The Brazilian’s star has been fading for a while; he actually had three goals and two assists this time last year, but this time, it’s just two chances created, to go with one goal. At a time Chelsea desperately want a creative spark, he hasn’t stepped up yet in his five games.

KENEDY – 6

The 19-year-old has been seen as somewhat of a last hope, thrown in by Mourinho three times in the Premier League to try and inject some enthusiasm, pace and quality. A tough task.

RAMIRES – 6.5

Last season – 6

One of the few players to have not damaged his reputation. Ramires’s no frills style of play has helped plug a few gaps, and he has scored two goals too. But he’s not the type of player who can turn Chelsea’s season around.

EDEN HAZARD – 3

Last season – 10

What else is there left to say? He wanted to be Ronaldo or Messi. He hasn’t even scored yet in the Premier League, and is dribbling 2.4 times less a game.

PEDRO – 6

Started well when thrown in after the transfer window but was never going to be a panacea and has had injury troubles in recent weeks.

WILLIAN – 7

Last season – 7

The only player who can say he’s had a decent season. The Brazilian’s work rate is as solid as ever, and importantly, he’s chipped in with desperately-needed goals. Almost the first man picked at the moment.

RUBEN LOFTUS-CHEEK – 5

Like Kenedy, much expected. A player of immense talent.

STRIKERS

DIEGO COSTA – 3

Last season – 8

Two goals so far, averaging just 1.8 shots a game (down from 3.1), and contributing just 1.1 chances per game – to go with a reputation being damaged for his off the ball petulance being more lethal than his goal scoring. Had 10 goals in nine games last term.

Chelsea's Diego Costa gestures across the field during a training session.

RADAMEL FALCAO – 2

Scored a goal against Crystal Palace but hardly sighted.

LOIC REMY – 3

Last season – 5.5

Scored the goal to take the Capital One Cup tie against Stoke to extra-time, but is not trusted by Mourinho.

© 2015 Fox Sports | This article was written by David Weiner and originally appeared on Fox Sports on 4 November 2015.

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