Chelsea's five best players of the season so far

Ivanovic

An eventful few months has seen Chelsea fly out of the blocks, before hitting the buffers with a run of poor results that saw them knocked out of the Champions League and struggling in the Premiership title race.

As they look to find their form again under Rafa Benitez, who have been the outstanding players for the Blues so far this season?

Juan Mata

The Spanish midfielder has been one of the stars of the Premier League so far, and his importance to Chelsea's attack cannot be overstated. When Mata is on form, Chelsea can beat anyone, and their poor performances this season have generally coincided with the Spaniard being rested. If Mata's busy international summer doesn't catch up with him, he will be a contender for player of the season, and Chelsea's success this year very much depends on him.

Bransilav Ivanovic

Ivanovic has been the main constant in a defence beset by injuries and uncertain form. Either out on the right or in the centre, the Serbian looks the most composed man in Chelsea's back four, and his fine start to the season has been vital to the club. Whilst Luiz can sometimes overcomplicate things, and Cahill can look of of his depth if isolated by a pacey attacker, Ivanovic has looked assured against all comers, and his attacking contribution from right back has been important to his side as well.

Eden Hazard

Though the Belgian has suffered a prolonged dip in form, he has still been very important to Chelsea so far this season, and on his day he is an unstoppable force in the final third. Chelsea's excellent start to the year was founded on the interplay between Hazard, Mata and Oscar, and the Belgian winger deserves his place in this top five for his performances in the first couple of months of the season.

John Obi Mikel

A unfairly derided figure at Stamford Bridge, Mikel has been consistently good in screening the defence this season. Given the ultra-attacking nature of Chelsea's style under Roberto Di Matteo, Mikel was often the only midfielder sitting deep and he did a solid job. Mikel gets a tough rap, but Chelsea don't really have any other midfielders who can do his job, and he has coped with that pressure well.

Oscar

Though the young Brazilian has struggled for starts under Rafa Benitez he merits his place in this list based on his performances under Di Matteo, especially in the Champions League. Oscar has settled in the Premier League far quicker than anyone expected, and has shown a tenacity and skill level that means he is not bullied out of matches despite his small stature.

image: © Ben Sutherland

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