Every Player to Represent Arsenal & Chelsea This Century – Ranked

Dec 23, 2020, 4:50 PM GMT
Willian, David Luiz
Luiz and Willian have been teammates at Chelsea and Arsenal, and played against one another | Julian Finney/Getty Images

Arsenal and Chelsea are the fiercest of London rivals.

Sure, they do have common enemy Tottenham who they perhaps would like to beat more than anyone, but fierce rivals nevertheless.

Both clubs are steeped in history - Chelsea's more modern than Arsenal's - and both are always in the conversation when you think of who has the best players in the Premier League. Not only do they house the best talent, they often play a bit of swap shop - with a number of players crossing the London divide, particularly of late.

Here, 90min looks at those who have represented both this century - ranked by success, obviously.

11. Yossi Benayoun

Yossi Benayoun
Yossi Benayoun | Phil Cole/Getty Images

The fact that Yossi Benayoun is the worst example we can bring you says a lot. By no means a bad player, Benayoun spent just one season at each club, starting with Chelsea in 2010 before joining the Gunners on loan.

The Israeli was solid without being spectacular and his best days in the Premier League were saved for West Ham and Liverpool, Still, fondly remembered.

10. Lassana Diarra

Lassana Diarra
Lassana Diarra | Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Tipped for great things once upon a time, things actually panned out pretty poorly for Diarra during his time at both Arsenal and Chelsea.

The French defensive midfielder played just a dozen times in three seasons under Jose Mourinho and didn't fair much better when he joined the Gunners in 2007, where he didn't fair much better.

Ended up at Real Madrid via Portsmouth, leaving him with one of the all-time weirdest 'career' sections on Wikipedia.

9. Emmanuel Petit

Emmanuel Petit of Chelsea
Emmanuel Petit at Chelsea | Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Petit joined Arsenal in 1997, winning the Premier League and FA Cup double in his first season. His excellent form continued into the summer of 1998, scoring the third goal in a 3-0 win against Brazil in the World Cup final. You'd be hard-pressed not to call that 'pretty handy'.

The French midfielder moved to Barcelona in 2000, before joining Chelsea the following season. Petit – known for his luscious blonde locks – played over 50 games for the Blues before announcing his retirement in 2004.

8. William Gallas

William Gallas
Gallas' interesting shirt number for Arsenal caught the headlines | Phil Cole/Getty Images

Versatile defender Gallas joined Chelsea in 2001 and was part of the club's renaissance under Jose Mourinho, helping them to two Premier League titles.

He moved to Arsenal in 2006 a deal which – more famously – saw Ashley Cole go in the opposite direction.

It didn't go to plan for the Frenchman though, and he failed to win a trophy during his four years ​at the club. Arguably his most notable moment came when he sat and stropped on the pitch after their title challenge ended in 2008.

7. Willian

Willian - Soccer Player for Chelsea and Brazil
Willian signed a three-year deal with Arsenal in the summer of 2020 | Visionhaus/Getty Images

Willian enjoyed a supremely successful seven-year stint at Chelsea, lifting Premier League, FA Cup and Europa League medals.

A consistent performer, the Brazilian was often called upon in the biggest of games, and he rarely let down the multitude of managers who guided him a Stamford Bridge.

Bizarrely, his love affair with the club ended with a bumper payday trip to Arsenal.

6. Nicolas Anelka

Nicolas Anelka
Anelka had success at both clubs during his long club career | Julian Finney/Getty Images

Anelka was one of Arsene Wenger's first acquisitions at Arsenal, and he hit the ground running as they won the Premier League within three months of him joining.

Two years later, the aptly dubbed 'Le Sulk' was off around Europe with spells at Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool, Manchester City, Fenerbahce and even Bolton before joining Chelsea in 2008.

His most prolific season in a Blues shirt came in 2009/10, when he scored 11 goals and produced ten assists alongside Didier Drogba to help the Blues lift the Premier League title under Carlo Ancelotti.

5. David Luiz

David Luiz has always divided opinion | KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/Getty Images

Luiz left Chelsea for Arsenal last summer after new head coach - and former teammate - Frank Lampard made it clear that the Brazilian wasn't in his long-term plans.

Despite dividing opinion at almost every stage of his career with some gret displays mixed in with some truly shocking days out, his CV is pretty polished.

Capped 56 times by Brazil, he spent a total of six-and-a-half years at Chelsea, winning the Premier League, the Champions League, two Europa League's and two FA Cups. He then headed for north London trying to restore Arsenal to their former glories.

4. Olivier Giroud

Olivier Giroud has always been one of the most underrated forwards in Europe
Olivier Giroud has always been one of the most underrated forwards in Europe | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

World Cup winning Frenchman Giroud joined Arsenal in 2012, where he made 253 appearances for the club and netted 105 goals.

Although he struggled to nail down a regular starting berth, Giroud always delivered when called upon and has scored some of the greatest Premier League goals in recent memory.

If that wasn't enough, he went to Chelsea with the expectation of filling the 'experienced backup' role in 2018 - but quickly became far more influential, even if he was stepping up from the bench.

3. Cesc Fabregas

Cesc Fabregas
Cesc Fabregas has never really been forgiven by the Gunners faithful | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Spanish sensation Fabregas joined Arsenal as a boy and went on to become a bona fide club legend – throwing pizza, laying on assist after assist and captaining the side before he headed to Camp Nou in 2011.

After struggling to establish himself in Barcelona's midfield, he angered Arsenal fans by joining Chelsea three years later. Things went swimmingly for him at Stamford Bridge though; as he played key creative roles in two Premier League titles under Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte.

2. Ashley Cole

Ashley Cole just misses out on top spot
Ashley Cole just misses out on top spot | Ian Walton/Getty Images

Ashley Cole became one of the best full-backs in world football at Arsenal, and was part of the famous 'Invincibles' side of 2003/04.

An England regular at major tournaments for years, 'Cashley', as he became known, then did the unthinkable and joined bitter rivals Chelsea in 2006 to link up with Mourinho at Stamford Bridge.

He flourished at the Blues, winning another Premier League, four FA Cups and the Champions League – scoring a penalty in the shootout that decided the latter.

1. Petr Cech

Cech is a legend of the Premier League
Cech is a legend of the Premier League | Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

One of the greatest goalkeepers in Premier League history, Cech spent 11 glorious years as a Blue – and no goalkeeper has kept more Premier League clean sheets in a single season than the 24 that Cech managed in the title winning season of ​2004/05.

Cech was a part of four Premier League titles, five FA Cups – including one at Arsenal – and that famous Champions League victory over Bayern Munich in 2012, where he saved crucial penalties to ensure the Blues' maiden European crown.