A brilliant XI who played for both Arsenal and Chelsea

Arsenal and Chelsea might contest one of the biggest games in the Premier League, but their London rivalry has not prevented a number of players from representing both clubs.

Throughout the Premier League era a whole host of big names have adorned the colours of both clubs and we’ve attempted to put the very best of them into one star-studded XI.

A brilliant XI who have played for both Arsenal and Chelsea in the Premier League:

Goalkeeper: Petr Cech

Petr Cech is one of the division’s greatest goalkeepers and leads the Premier League’s all-time chart for clean sheets. He spent more than a decade with Chelsea after signing from Rennes and formed part of the team that won back-to-back Premier League titles under Jose Mourinho, the first of which arrived with a record-low of 15 goals conceded.

Cech won four league titles and the Champions League among an extensive collection of honours at Stamford Bridge, before signing for Arsenal in 2015. He won a Premier League Golden Glove – his fourth overall – and the FA Cup during his time with the Gunners.

Right-back: Lassana Diarra

Lassana Diarra never really got a fair crack of the whip at the London duo. He made just 20 league appearances for the two clubs combined, before shining at Portsmouth to earn a move to Real Madrid. The Frenchman never truly settled anywhere in his career, but collected 34 caps for France and won two FA Cups and both La Liga and Ligue 1 titles.

Centre-back: David Luiz

The big-haired Brazilian was a fans’ favourite across two spells at Chelsea, a period which saw the centre-back combine the sublime and the ridiculous. He was a key cog in the club’s Premier League title triumph in 2016/17, and also lifted the Champions League, two FA Cups and two Europa League titles with the Blues.

Luiz signed for Arsenal for a fee of £8m in 2019 and spent two mixed seasons with the Gunners.

Centre-back: William Gallas

William Gallas kicked up a fuss in order to leave Chelsea, having become frustrated with his full-back role despite winning back-to-back league titles with the Blues. Gallas signed for Arsenal as part of a high-profile swap-deal in 2006, where he bizarrely inherited Dennis Bergkamp’s number ten shirt and was later named club captain.

Gallas, however, had a number of controversies at Arsenal, including an infamous sulk on the pitch and a verbal attack on several of his inexperienced teammates. He signed for Tottenham after leaving Arsenal, completing a unique London hat-trick.

Left-back: Ashley Cole

Ashley Cole was at the centre of one of the Premier League’s most controversial transfers, as the left-back left Arsenal for Chelsea as part of the aforementioned deal that took Gallas to the Gunners.

Cole had emerged as the Premier League’s best left-back at Arsenal, where he won two league titles and a hat-trick of FA Cup winners medals. After Chelsea had been fined for tapping up the England international, the Blues eventually got their man in August 2006.

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Cole spent eight years with Chelsea, where he was twice named as the club’s Player of the Year, and won a Premier League, four FA Cups, one League Cup, the Champions League and the Europa League.

Midfield: Emmanuel Petit

Emmanuel Petit joined Arsenal from AS Monaco in 1997 and spent three successful seasons in north London. The midfielder formed a formidable partnership with Patrick Vieira in midfield, a foundation which helped Arsenal to Premier League and FA Cup success in 1997/98, before the duo lifted the World Cup with France that summer.

He moved on to sign for Barcelona in 2000 as part of a double deal involving Marc Overmars, but returned to the Premier League just a year later to sign for Chelsea. Petit made 76 appearances in all competitions for the Blues before retirement.

Iconic Duos: Arsenal’s monstrous midfield partnership, Petit and Vieira

Midfield: Cesc Fabregas

Arsenal plucked the Spanish starlet from Barcelona’s academy and Fabregas wasted little time in making an impact, with the midfielder handed his debut as a teenager before becoming a key figure in the team.

Fabregas evolved into one of the Premier League’s best creators at Arsenal, where he was named captain and twice won the club’s Player of the Season award. He returned to Barcelona in 2011 and won a host of trophies in Spain, before returning to London to join Chelsea.

Fabregas won two Premier League titles, the FA Cup, and League Cup at Chelsea, while his 111 Premier League assists is the second-highest total in the division’s history.

Midfield Magicians: Cesc Fabregas, a Catalan creative genius

Right-wing: Willian

Chelsea hijacked Tottenham’s move to sign Willian in the 2013 transfer window, a move which proved brilliant business for the Blues. The Brazilian spent seven seasons at the club and won five major honours, including two Premier League titles.

He made 336 appearances for Chelsea before a free transfer move to Arsenal, but the winger struggled to make an impact in north London. After a short spell at Corinthians, Willian signed for a third London club after joining Fulham in 2022.

Left-wing: Pierre-Emile Aubameyang

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was a goal machine during his time at Arsenal having signed for the Gunners in a then club-record deal from Borussia Dortmund in 2018.

Aubameyang hit 92 goals in 163 games for the Gunners and won a share of the Premier League’s Golden Boot during the 2018/19 season. He is one of four African players to have won the award, alongside Didier Drogba, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

Despite being the hero of the club’s FA Cup win in 2020, Aubameyang joined Barcelona after a fallout with manager Mikel Arteta. He spent just seven months with the Spaniards before returning to England at Chelsea, but struggled during a disappointing spell at Stamford Bridge. The Gabonese forward signed for Marseille in 2023.

Forward: Olivier Giroud

Olivier Giroud signed for Arsenal after inspiring Montpellier to a stunning Ligue 1 title success. The French forward scored 105 goals for the club and won three FA Cups, but often struggled for first-choice status in north London.

A similar situation emerged after an £18m move to Chelsea, though Giroud was a valuable contributor as the Blues won the FA Cup, Europa League and Champions League during his time in west London.

Giroud is France’s all-time record goalscorer, with 54 goals for the national side.

Forward: Nicolas Anelka

Nicolas Anelka made his name at Arsenal, with the teenager announcing his arrival in the Premier League with some scintillating showings in the late nineties.

He won a domestic double – scoring in the FA Cup final win over Newcastle – during the 1997/98 season and was named as the PFA Young Player of the Year the following campaign.

A big money move to Real Madrid followed, but Anelka struggled in Spain and a disappointing spell kickstarted a nomadic existence that only settled during four seasons spent at Chelsea.

In west London the Frenchman won a Premier League, two FA Cups and the Premier League Golden Boot.

Read – Moments that defined Chelsea and Arsenal’s modern rivalry

See more – Noughties Nines: Nicolas Anelka – Sullen and spectacular

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