N’Golo Kante (2016/17)
Kante has enjoyed unprecedented success during the course of his short stint in the Premier League. He was instrumental in helping Leicester City win their first league title last season and has performed a similarly influential role at Chelsea as they are on course to win the league title and possibly also collect the FA Cup, having reached the final of the domestic cup competition.
The Frenchman has been an impenetrable presence in front of the Chelsea defence and his 3.4 tackles and 2.5 interceptions per game tell a story of their own. Although he has scored only one goal, his role in Chelsea’s season cannot be underestimated.
Ryan Giggs (2008/09)
The 2008/09 campaign was one of the most successful ones for Manchester United. They started the season by winning the Community Shield and became the first English team to win the Club World Cup after beating LDU Quito in the final in December. Sir Alex Ferguson went on to win the League Cup after defeating Tottenham Hotspur in the final. They also reached the last four of the FA Cup.
Moreover, they had a chance to end the campaign with the Champions League win but Ferguson’s outfit were outsmarted by Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona in the final. Giggs with his prominent role in midfield was the driving force behind the success of the Red Devils and was aptly rewarded for his efforts with the individual accolade.
Steven Gerrard (2005/06)
Liverpool enjoyed one of their more concerted Premier League challenges but they still came up short as Chelsea romped home with 91 points. Manchester United came second with 83 points as the Reds finished with a point fewer. However, they won the FA Cup after defeating West Ham in the final following a penalty shootout and also won the European Super Cup having defeated CSKA Moscow 3-1 in the final.
Gerrard enjoyed one the best seasons of his storied career and finished as his team’s highest goalscorer with a haul of 23 strikes in all competitions. But more than the goals it was his contribution in running the midfield that made the biggest difference to Liverpool’s fortunes.
John Terry (2004/05)
The 2004/05 was the beginning of Jose Mourinho era at Chelsea and no player is more emblematic of the Portuguese’s time at the club better than his captain John Terry. And the duo combined to bring Chelsea their first title in over half a century. There was also the League Cup to boot.
It was Terry’s leadership in defence that saw the Blues set season records like most clean sheets (25), most wins (29), fewest away goals conceded (9) and most points (95).
Roy Keane (1999/00)
The Red Devils were coming off a treble-winning season and the expectations were high. Keane led the team admirably through the course of the season as they went on to win the Intercontinental Cup after beating Palmeiras 3-1 in the final.
But more importantly, they successfully defended the league title and did so in swashbuckling fashion as they finished 18 points ahead of second-placed Arsenal.