Chelsea’s strength was made abundantly clear in their cantering to the Premier League title last season, so identifying a secret weapon in the Blues ranks is a tough task.
There’s a prominent case to be made for Radamel Falcao or Kurt Zouma, but their claiming the mantle hinges on others sustaining injury.
A certain element of this applies to the player we’ve selected, though his versatility, reliability and, above all else, high quality makes him the standout contender in the ‘secret weapon’ stakes.
The player in question is Ramires.
Despite finding himself very much on the outskirts of the first team for much of the previous season, when Jose Mourinho did call upon the Blue Kenyan, his side often fared better for it.
Able to play out wide or in the centre of midfield, whether it be in an attacking or defensive capacity, the Brazilian’s unrelenting energy makes him the ideal partner for Nemanja Matic in games when Cesc Fabregas can’t be trusted to safely screen the rearguard.
Ramires started just 17 matches across all competitions last term and only once did he finish on the losing side, which was in the freak defeat against Bradford in the FA Cup third round.
This means Chelsea suffered 75% of their 2015/16 reverses with the former Benfica man starting on the bench or in the stand.
Their win percentage is improved without Ramires, but the nature of the games he tended to be selected for – away trips to the likes of Manchester City and Arsenal – victory didn’t tend to be main priority.
However, Chelsea did win seven of the last ten matches where he was included from the off, while four of the last seven saw them keep clean sheets.
Despite starting just 11 games, he still found the time to score two goals and assist a further four.
A pragmatist with a touch of technical brilliance, Ramires is one of the most vital members of Chelsea’s squad, even if he isn’t utilised as regularly as others.