With the season over, bar one very important game, minds inevitably turn to what has taken place over the course of the season, and who shone for the team.
And those that failed to light up games.
The examination of where we failed to take advantage of our stumbling rivals has led to scrutiny over the failings to take maximum points. Those players that slipped at vital moments when attempting to step up and ensure we took advantage.
Our squad will be bereft of some players regardless of who is cleared out, as a combination of pre-signed transfers (Ramsey) and letting players leave on a free without extending (Welbeck) will mean Emery will need to be active in the window without his judgment on who has let him down and who has stood up and been counted.
Then there is Petr Cech.
The legendary keeper has been our cup man this campaign – his last in professional football – and with Bernd Leno justifying his summer transfer with some outstanding performances, Cech is now uncertain of seeing out his stellar career on his terms – with a cup final.
Cech has obviously dipped in performance from the player who created the one-man barrier for Chelsea in Jose Mourinho’s first spell at the club. The keeper who broke the record for most amount of clean sheets in a season.
Make no mistake, Cech has always been the model professional and has never let us down – but it is abundantly clear that Leno represents a clear Number One in our team.
We also have to consider the occasion. The Europa League final is our biggest game for quite some time, and should we win it, the cup would be our biggest in our history. Can we afford to make compromises in order to honour the last game for a retiring player?
Also, with Cech being the model pro – wouldn’t he understand that this game matters too much to leave Leno out?
The stage is set for Cech, with the opponent being the team he made his name with. Should he start – and perhaps even take the armband – and then lift the trophy? It would be the most fitting farewell to one of the most incredible keepers the Premier League has ever seen.
Alternatively, should the game go to penalties and Cech continues his pretty poor record stopping spot kicks? Would we be able to overlook Emery’s decision?
So much rests on Unai and what he chooses.
Who would you play for the Europa League final?