"Chelsea Player of the Year" is a distinction held by Peter Bonetti, Peter Osgood, Ruud Gullit, Gianfranco Zola and Didier Drogba just to name a handful; winners can take much pride in its appointment, as to be listed among club greats—and in many respects football legends—is certainly an honour.
The 2013-14 campaign has seen Cesar Azpilicueta, Gary Cahill, Petr Cech, Eden Hazard, Oscar and John Terry stand out as candidates for the prestigious club award. Each has brought their own style to the club's success and with the season nearing its end—why not take a look at their prospects of winning?
*In evaluating their likelihood to win the honour, each player is given a share out of 100 percent.
Of the candidates not mentioned in the above six, you cannot discount the contributions by the likes of Ramires, Branislav Ivanovic or Willian—but the other candidates have individually been a class above.
Chance of Winning: one percent
Having the ability to make Mata redundant, Oscar has clearly established himself as a Jose Mourinho and Chelsea man over the past season.
This year Oscar has been plagued by fatigue. Having featured in the 2012 Olympics, Chelsea's epic 2012-13 season, the 2013 Confederations Cup, World Cup friendlies and Chelsea's 2013-14 campaign, the Brazilian's been one of the more busy footballers on the planet.
Mourinho's seen this and has rested Oscar in spots, but he's too talented to sit in dugouts for extended periods of time.
Chance of Winning: four percent
Petr Cech (Chelsea POY in 2011)
A model of goalkeeping consistency, Cech has been stellar this year. Other than a cheap goal conceded against West Bromwich Albion in November, the Czech international has done everything required.
His blessing and his downfall is the back four in front of him. The back line has been outstanding this season, making Chelsea's defensive record more a collective effort than individual goalkeeping brilliance.
Chance of Winning: five percent
Cahill has been Chelsea's most improved player this year. Whether confidence derived from the Chelsea boss or from training daily with Terry and David Luiz, the English centre-back has played out of his skin this season.
Were it not for the surrounding cast around him, Cahill would stand a better chance—but one suspects at 28 years of age, with three or four years of defensive prime left, he'll gets his hands on a few individual awards yet.
Chance of Winning: five percent
If Cahill's been the most improved, then Azpilicueta is definitely the most surprising. The Spanish full-back has taken to Ashley Cole's left-back position with great aplomb and diligence—endearing himself to the Stamford Bridge faithful.
In an interview with Yahoo's EuroSport, Jose Mourinho lauded Azpilicueta's work ethic by saying: "I think a team with 11 Azpilicuetas probably could win the [Champions League]." High praises from a manager who's won the ultimate prize in European club football twice.
Chance of Winning: 15 percent
John Terry (Chelsea POY in 2001, 2006)
Chelsea's terrific defensive record is what's propelled them to their current position atop the Premier League; every great defence needs an anchor, and Terry has been one for the Blues.
The Chelsea captain has committed only nine fouls in 27 Premier League games this season; by comparison, Ivanovic has committed 38 fouls and Ramires has committed 52 over the same time frame (h/t The Score).
Terry's leadership, dogged mentality and football IQ are what put him ahead of many contenders. He always seems to be in the right position, whether for a header, block or tackle; the former England captain has been nothing short of spectacular this campaign.
Funny, considering Roberto Di Matteo and Rafa Benitez found just 14 league games for Terry last year—my, how things change.
Chance of Winning: 20 percent
The argument will go: With all Chelsea's defending, what does it matter if you can't score goals?
And to be fair it's a logical stance.
The Blues' strike force has been rather inept this season, leaving a staggering amount of work to be done by the midfield.
Hazard has established himself as the point man in Chelsea's offence and, more than anyone, he possesses the ability to take a game by the scruff of the neck and dominate it.
The award would signify an appreciation for the work (15 goals and 10 assists) the Belgian has put in; his productivity has made up for disparities in key areas of the pitch, and should Chelsea win a piece of silverware this season, Hazard's footprints will be found all around.
Chance of Winning: 50 percent
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!