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Arsenal vs Chelsea – All-time Premier League Combined XI

Arsenal and Chelsea have competed for the title of the capital’s biggest club in the Premier League era with the London neighbours having been home to some of the division’s greatest-ever talent.

Ahead of their meeting at the Emirates this evening, we’ve attempted to select a Combined XI of the best players to have represented Arsenal and Chelsea in the Premier League.

Goalkeeper: Petr Cech – Chelsea and Arsenal

Petr Cech represented both clubs in the Premier League and, in the process, cemented a reputation as one of the Premier League’s greatest guardians of the goal. A £7m snip when signed from Rennes, he helped Chelsea to a maiden Premier League title in his debut campaign, one of four he won at Stamford Bridge, with a record-low of 15 goals conceded.

His finest triumph came in 2012 when he starred in Chelsea’s Champions League final win over Bayern Munich. After saving a penalty from Arjen Robben in extra-time, he saved two more in the shootout as the Blues became the first London side to win the trophy.

After 13 major trophies, he signed for Arsenal and added an FA Cup and Premier League Golden Glove with the Gunners. No goalkeeper has ever kept more Premier League clean sheets (202).

Right-back: Branislav Ivanovic – Chelsea

Branislav Ivanovic bounced back from a slow start to become a cult figure at Chelsea. The right-back was a rugged and rampaging right-back, using sheer strength to bulldoze opposition wingers from possession.

Only John Terry has ever scored more goals for Chelsea among defenders, with his penchant for big goals including a Champions League brace at Anfield and a last-gasp winner in the 2013 Europa League final against Benfica.

Centre-back: Tony Adams – Arsenal

Arsenal’s legendary leader holds the unique distinction of being the only player to captain title-winning teams in three different decades. After leading Arsenal to the First Division title in 1989 and 1991, he remained integral to the north Londoners during the first decade of the Premier League.

Under Arsene Wenger, he proved the conduit between the old and new, maintaining the defensive discipline of the past regime as the French manager developed a more aesthetic Arsenal. Domestic double triumphs in 1998 and 2002 rounded out an iconic one-club career, in which Adams made 672 appearances to become a Gunners great.

Centre-back: John Terry – Chelsea

Captain. Leader. Legend.

That is how Chelsea fans remember John Terry, the homegrown hero who came through the ranks to lead the club’s most decorated era. As the billionaire-backed Blues invested record-breaking sums in the early noughties, Terry remained front and centre of the new era, leading the side to five Premier League titles, five FA Cups, and the Champions League among his honours.

In 2004/05, he was named PFA Player of the Year as Chelsea won a first title in 50 years, conceding just 15 goals all season. He is one of only three defenders to win the award in the Premier League era.

Left-back: Ashley Cole – Chelsea and Arsenal

The greatest left-back of the Premier League era.

Cole came through the ranks at Arsenal before later completing a controversial move to Chelsea, winning a wealth of honours on either side of their capital divide. Part of Arsenal’s title-winning teams in 2002 and 2004, the latter was achieved in unbeaten fashion as Cole became an Invincible under Arsene Wenger.

After moving to Chelsea, he won another Premier League title, the Champions League, Europa League, League Cup and four FA Cups at Stamford Bridge. A nightmare for opposition wingers with his one-on-one defending, he holds the record for most FA Cup wins (7).

Midfield: N’Golo Kante – Chelsea

N’Golo Kante arrived in the Premier League as an unknown and departed as one of the most influential midfielders of the modern era. The box-to-box dynamo in Leicester’s shock title success in 2015/16, he signed for Chelsea in a £32m deal that summer.

A debut campaign at Chelsea ended with a second Premier League winner’s medal and Kante was coronated as the PFA Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year. His ability to cover every blade of grass often made opposition teams take a double take, with midfielders left scratching their heads as to how the Frenchman could be everywhere.

After a World Cup win with France in 2018, he was at his dynamic and destructive best as Chelsea won the Champions League in 2021, with a run of man-of-the-match performances in the knockout rounds.

Midfield: Patrick Vieira – Arsenal

They don’t make ’em like this anymore.

Patrick Vieira’s powerhouse performances in the Arsenal midfield are among the defining imagery of the Premier League era, a box-to-box force of nature who won the ball brilliantly and distributed it even better. The long-legged stride of the Frenchman ate up the ground, while his sheer will to win saw him lead by example in the combat of midfield battles.

The captain of the club’s Invincibles side, he won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups with the Gunners. One of the most respected leaders of his era.

Midfield: Frank Lampard – Chelsea

When Frank Lampard crossed the capital to sign for Chelsea from West Ham, few envisaged the player he would become. In over a decade at Chelsea, Lampard created an argument to be considered the club’s greatest-ever player.

A club-record 211 goals from midfield and a catalogue of trophy successes add weight to those claims, with Lampard a marauding force and the greatest goalscoring midfielder the league has seen.

He won the FWA Footballer of the Year as Chelsea won the title in 2004/05 and went on to win 13 trophies with the Blues. No player has ever crashed the box better, with Lampard reaching 20+ goals in all competitions in five straight seasons at his peak.

Forward: Dennis Bergkamp – Arsenal

In a bid to cram in as much centre-forward talent as possible, we’re shunning wingers (Sorry, Eden Hazard).

There’s a statue of Dennis Bergkamp outside the Emirates for good reason. The Dutchman delighted north London crowds during his time in the Premier League, with velvet touches and glorious goals. The inspiration behind the club’s double-winning team of 1997/98, he added a second double four years later, and an Invincible campaign in 2004.

An elegant artist who knitted together Arsenal attacks, Bergkamp’s brilliance made him one of the most transformative signings of the Gunners’ modern history.

Golazo Merchants: Arsenal’s non-flying Dutchman, Dennis Bergkamp

Forward: Didier Drogba – Chelsea

Has a player ever handled the expectation of big games better than Didier Drogba?

Chelsea’s cup final king came to the club’s rescue on countless occasions, with the Ivorian often decisive in their hour of need. Having arrived from Marseille in a £24m deal in 2004, Drogba became the one-man forward line who spearheaded Chelsea’s trophy-winning era.

He won four Premier League titles, two Golden Boots, and a host of domestic cups while cementing his legend with a 2012 Champions League final performance. After an 88th-minute equaliser rescued Chelsea against Bayern Munich, he converted the winning spot-kick to crown the club champions of Europe for the first time.

Noughties Nines: Didier Drogba – Cup final King

Forward: Thierry Henry – Arsenal

For fans of a certain vintage, the consensus is clear when asked for the Premier League GOAT: Thierry Henry.

The Frenchman was without peer during his time at Arsenal, setting records and leaving defenders in his wake. A record four Premier League Golden Boots. The most assists in a single campaign. An aesthetic and swagger in his game that no footballer before or since in the Premier League has matched. When Henry hit the throttle, little could stop him.

Read – Five of the best – Chelsea vs Arsenal goals

See more – Premier League: Five talking points ahead of the midweek action

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