Ranking the 13 players to play for Arsenal & Chelsea in the PL era

·5-min read
Jorginho #20 of Arsenal during the Premier League match Leicester City vs Arsenal at King Power Stadium, Leicester, United Kingdom, 25th February 2023 Credit: Alamy
Jorginho #20 of Arsenal during the Premier League match Leicester City vs Arsenal at King Power Stadium, Leicester, United Kingdom, 25th February 2023 Credit: Alamy

Arsenal and Chelsea are two of London’s most bitter rivals, but that hasn’t stopped several players from representing both clubs over the years.

While some players have struggled to adapt to their new surroundings at their rival club, other players have managed to win over both fanbases.

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We’ve taken a look at the 13 players who have played for both Arsenal and Chelsea in the Premier League era and ranked them from worst to best.

13. Lassana Diarra

The French midfielder spent his early years in London, but never quite established himself as more than a squad player at either Arsenal or Chelsea.

Diarra made a combined 45 appearances for both clubs and spent a total of four years in London. After impressing for Portsmouth, he was picked up by Real Madrid in 2009 and his career took off from there.

12. Yossi Benayoun

The Israeli playmaker was a tidy footballer but like Diarra, he was often utilised as a squad player. He was an unused substitute in Chelsea’s 2013 Europa League triumph against Benfica and he spent just one season on loan with Arsenal.

11. Jorginho

We’re still scratching our heads over how Jorginho managed to finish third in the Ballon d’Or rankings in 2021, but his contribution to Chelsea shouldn’t go unnoticed.

The Italian maestro was signed by Maurizio Sarri in 2018 and formed the base of Chelsea’s midfield for the following four seasons. After making a January switch to Arsenal, time will tell if he has a substantial impact at the Emirates.

10. Willian

By the time he arrived at Arsenal, Willian looked like he was over the hill, but that shouldn’t take away from some great years at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea swooped in at the last minute in 2013 to prize the winger away from Tottenham, who he was originally going to join. Willian had some great moments in a Chelsea shirt, but the less said about his Arsenal stint the better.

9. David Luiz

The hot-headed Brazilian was brilliant to watch on his day, but a subpar ending to his Arsenal career has dropped him down the list. Luiz had two separate spells at Chelsea where he won a total of six trophies.

He also played a helping hand in Arsenal winning the FA Cup in 2019-20, but he seemed to lose his way in his second season with the club. To be fair to Luiz, he always left everything on the pitch.

8. William Gallas

A back-to-back Premier League title winner with Chelsea, Gallas was well-utilised for Jose Mourinho’s side. Capable of playing as a centre-half or left-back, Gallas scored some especially important goals during Chelsea’s 2005–06 Premier League triumph.

The French defender bizarrely took the number 10 shirt when he arrived at Arsenal, which had previously been held by Dennis Bergkamp. There was rarely a dull moment with him around.

William Gallas sits on the floor after Arsenal lost to Birmingham City. Credit: Alamy
William Gallas sits on the floor after Arsenal lost to Birmingham City. Credit: Alamy

READ: William Gallas at Arsenal: Captain of chaos who sat down in a strop

7. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Going purely off his first three seasons with Arsenal, Aubameyang was fantastic. He almost single-handedly carried the club at times when the rest of the squad was lagging in quality.

Scoring 92 goals in 163 games also isn’t to be sniffed at. However, his somewhat controversial exit and stuttering stint at Chelsea drops him down a bit on this list.

6. Olivier Giroud

The king of the audacious, we could watch a Giroud highlight reel all day long. Of course, he had his dips in form at both Arsenal and Chelsea, but he would often respond to the critics with a Puskas-worthy goal.

Having scored over 100 goals for Arsenal and won two European titles with Chelsea, Giroud is a popular figure at both clubs.

5. Nicolas Anelka

“I think Thierry Henry was not at the level of Anelka,” Samuel Eto’o baldly exclaimed via Footballogue last year. While most Arsenal fans would disagree with that statement, there’s no denying the talent that Anelka was.

He spent his formative years with the Gunners and helped them to the Premier League, FA Cup and Charity Shield in 1998. Ten years later and he was donning the blue of Chelsea.

4. Emmanuel Petit

Debut seasons don’t come much better than this.

Emmanuel Petit and Arsene Wenger Credit: Alamy
Emmanuel Petit and Arsene Wenger Credit: Alamy

READ: Remembering Emmanuel Petit’s incredible debut season at Arsenal

3. Petr Cech

Arguably the best goalkeeper of the Premier League era, Cech was at his commanding best during the mid-2000s with Chelsea. His record of 202 Premier League clean sheets is likely to stand the test of time as well.

By the time Cech ended up at Arsenal, he was no longer at the peak of his powers, but he was a dependable shot-stopper nonetheless.

2. Ashley Cole

His switch from Arsenal to Chelsea was perhaps the most controversial of any of these players. Dubbed ‘Cashley Cole’ by Gunners fans, it’s fair to say that they didn’t take the move all too well.

Cole only got better during his time with Chelsea as he went on to win nine trophies with the club. Arguably the best left-back of his generation, he undoubtedly ranks as one of the best-ever Premier League defenders.

1. Cesc Fabregas

The Spanish midfielder is one of the few players who is universally loved by both Arsenal and Chelsea fans. Fabregas broke into Arsenal’s first team as a 16-year-old and enjoyed some of his best days in North London.

After some trophy-filled years with Barcelona, he returned to England and played a key role in Chelsea’s 2014–15 Premier League triumph. With 50 goals and 111 assists from his time at both clubs, Fabregas is a worthy number one.

READ NEXT: Jorginho & the last 12 players Arsenal have signed from their Big Six rivals

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name Arsenal’s XI from their 5-3 win at Chelsea in 2011?

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