Mateo Kovacic Named Chelsea Player of The Season

Mateo Kovacic has been chosen by fans as the winner of the 2019/20 Chelsea men’s team Player of the Season award, presented by Yokohama Tyres.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the club’s annual awards are being unveiled exclusively online rather than at the usual ceremony dinner. Following the conclusion of the season, supporters cast their votes and today’s series of announcements culminates with Kovacic revealed as our men’s winner.

He will be presented with the trophy at Cobham having topped the voting after an outstanding 2019/20. He was a key member of our midfield in his first season as a fully-fledged Blue, having made his loan move from Real Madrid a permanent switch to Stamford Bridge last summer.

CHELSEA FC PLAYER OF THE YEAR 2020
CHELSEA FC PLAYER OF THE YEAR 2020

Only two players made more than Kovacic’s 47 appearances over the course of the season, a fact made even more impressive by the fierce competition for places and frequent rotation in midfield. He also scored his first two goals for the club, both low drives from the edge of the box, in consecutive weeks in November against Valencia and Everton.

Over the course of the campaign the Austrian-born Croatia international seemed to have a telepathic understanding with his team-mates, whoever he was playing alongside in midfield, whether as part of a central three or a deep-lying pair.

SMILES AFTER A WIN AT WATFORD

He began the season in fine form, starting seven of our first eight matches, and even when left out of the line-up as part of Frank Lampard’s rotation, he still managed to make his mark, with his impact from the bench key in helping us break down a stubborn Newcastle side at Stamford Bridge in October.

It was as we entered the winter that it really became clear how important a player Kovacic was going to be for our season, though, as his precise passing, reading of the game and strong pressing allowed him to dictate the tempo of matches, while his bursts forward carrying the ball from midfield launched countless attacks.

KOVACIC CELEBRATES HIS FIRST GOAL FOR CHELSEA IN VALENCIA

As well as beginning moves, Kovacic has also been helping to finish them, addressing one of the criticisms he faced in his first season in England. In addition to his first two goals he also provided three assists, including one delightful pass to tee-up N’Golo Kante against Manchester City in late November, and he was high up the list in terms of chances created, only behind Willian and Mason Mount for Chelsea when the season was paused during lockdown.

The man wearing our number 17 shirt did his popularity no harm with two stand-out performances against London rivals Tottenham in the Premier League either side of Christmas, and looked likely to be a big miss for Lampard when he limped off with an injury during our FA Cup win over Liverpool in March.

However, the timing of lockdown meant Kovacic was unavailable for just one match, returning from his Achilles problem in time to be named in the starting line-up for our first game when football resumed in June, helping us to make it a winning restart against Aston Villa.

Another injury suffered at the start of July forced him to sit out a couple of games, but when he returned it was in arguably his best form yet for Chelsea

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