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Sadly, when picking out Chelsea’s best player so far this season, there is not a wide selection.
Rather than a full Christmas buffet, trying to cram together a delicious meal like Todd Boehly in Barcelona, this is like turning up to Tesco before closing time on Christmas Eve and finding that the shelves are empty.
As part of The Big Club Forum, football.london is tackling some of the big questions surrounding Chelsea. Thoughts on the new ownership? Is Graham Potter the right man to take Chelsea forward? Who are the best and worst of the new signings? You can also get involved and share your thoughts on the survey, as there are many big debates before 2022 wraps up.
Chelsea reporters Adam Newson and Daniel Childs have teamed up to select their best player so far this season and yes, they were struggling.
Breaking for the World Cup in eighth place, off three consecutive Premier League defeats and a pretty miserable mood around the club, Graham Potter has failed to find many trusted members of his squad in a challenging run.
Players have had their flurries of bright form and good runs have been halted by cruel injury blows, most notably Reece James and Kepa Arrizabalaga. While the frequent rotation has hurt Chelsea’s ability to form strong chemistry and certainty on the pitch.
Let’s see who both have chosen for their standout so far in 2022/23:
Adam Newson – Trevoh Chalobah
Had Reece James remained fit until the World Cup break, the academy graduate would have been the obvious choice. Kepa Arrizabalaga may have also been in with a shout given his performances after returning to the starting XI, but plantar fasciitis impacted his selection.
So really it is down to two players: Thiago Silva and Trevoh Chalobah. And I have opted for the latter for a couple of reasons. The first is that despite his undoubted age-defying brilliance, there have been a couple of notable slip-ups from Silva, who has been pushed to the limit this season.
The second reason is because of how quickly Chalobah had to step in and deliver. He spent the early weeks of the campaign stuck on the substitutes bench under Thomas Tuchel; his only outing under the German coach was in the Premier League victory over West Ham United.
(Image: Photo by Roland Krivec/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
So when Chalobah was introduced against AC Milan for the injured Wesley Fofana, he was not match-fit and up against the irrepressible Rafael Leao. The 23-year-old handled his business that night well and went on to play 90 minutes in every match over the following month, the only player to do so.
The only ‘break’ Chalobah had before the World Cup was the final 20 minutes of the Carabao Cup defeat against Manchester City. He was otherwise an ever-present and performed well in the right of a back three, in the middle of a back three, and as a centre-back in a four.
So for his versatility and consistency, the academy graduate gets my vote for Player of the Season so far. But let’s hope that come May, the list of potential candidates for the award has lengthened.
Daniel Childs – Thiago Silva
Chalobah is a very valid shout, particularly when you factor in how little he played under Thomas Tuchel at the start of this season – and the fact he was taken out at the back end of the last term too without much apparent reason.
But I’m going with the Benjamin Button of football: Thiago Button. Passed 38 years old but still offers a level of performance many deemed unthinkable when he originally joined in 2020.
Silva epitomises the best of this current Chelsea side, he is not only defying the expectations of his age but is setting a standard sadly few of his peers have managed to match. He is still a pleasure to watch defend at the highest level, offering a blend of leadership and anticipation few will replicate.
Potter, like Tuchel, h…