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HomeFive of the BestFive who played for both - Aston Villa and Chelsea

Five who played for both – Aston Villa and Chelsea

Aston Villa face Chelsea in the Premier League this evening, as Unai Emery’s team look to continue their push for a top-four finish.

The Villans are aiming to secure Champions League qualification for the first time, ahead of facing a Chelsea team who have struggled for consistent results during the current campaign.

Ahead of their clash at Villa Park, we’ve remembered five of the best players to have represented both clubs.

Andy Townsend

Andy Townsend represented both clubs during the Premier League era and racked up over a century of league appearances for each. The midfielder signed for Chelsea from Norwich in 1990 after impressing for the Republic of Ireland at that summer’s World Cup and was later appointed captain after shining in the club’s engine room.

He made 138 appearances for the West Londoners, scoring 12 times, though failed to win silverware as Chelsea languished in mid-table throughout his time at the club.

Townsend moved on to sign for Aston Villa in a deal worth Β£2.1m in 1993 and won the League Cup in his debut season, before captaining the club to a second League Cup win in 1996.

He also captained Ireland at the 1994 World Cup and won 70 caps for The Boys in Green.

Joe Cole

Chelsea capitalised on the relegation of London neighbours West Ham to sign Joe Cole in 2003, with the highly-rated young midfielder becoming one of the first signings of the Roman Abramovich era at Stamford Bridge.

Cole spent seven seasons with Chelsea and won a wealth of honours, including three Premier League titles, two FA Cups, a League Cup, and Chelsea’s Player of the Year award as the club reached the Champions League final in 2008.

A technically gifted player with a street footballer style, Cole was forced to adapt under the more rigid management of Jose Mourinho, though was named in the PFA Team of the Year during the second of back-to-back league titles won under the ‘Special One’ in 2005/06.

After spells with Liverpool, Lille and a return to West Ham, Cole signed for Aston Villa on a free transfer in 2014. However, he made just 12 league appearances during an injury-hit spell.

Gary Cahill

Gary Cahill came through the ranks at Aston Villa and earned a first-team role after an impressive loan spell at Burnley.

The centre-back scored his first goal for the club in spectacular fashion, as he netted a sensational overhead kick against arch-rivals Birmingham City.

However, Cahill failed to nail down a regular role with The Villans and was sold to Bolton, a decision Villa would come to regret. After impressing in Lancashire, he signed for Chelsea and went on to enjoy a distinguished career with the Blues.

Cahill won two Premier League titles, two FA Cups, the League Cup, Europa League and Champions League with Chelsea while earning inclusion in the PFA Team of the Year on three occasions. He also won 61 caps for England, scoring five goals, and Villa’s decision to sell the defender for just Β£5m must still rankle.

John Terry

John Terry is so synonymous with Chelsea that it’s easy to forget the centre-back did not end his career as a one-club man. Captain, leader, legend is how Terry is remembered at Stamford Bridge, having risen through the ranks to lead the club through its greatest era.

A five-time winner of the Premier League, he was named PFA Player of the Year as Chelsea won their first title for 50 years in 2004/05, conceding a record low of just 15 goals. He remains one of just three defenders to have won the award in the Premier League era and is recognised as one of the greatest centre-backs and captains the division has seen.

After 717 appearances for Chelsea and 15 major trophies won, Terry finished his career with a single-season spell at Aston Villa. Then in the second tier, he helped Villa to the play-off final, where the club lost to Fulham, before moving into the coaching staff upon retirement.

Tammy Abraham

Chelsea’s academy system has been a hotbed of talent across the last decade and Tammy Abraham came through the ranks alongside fellow future England internationals Mason Mount, Fikayo Tomori and Reece James.

The forward was sent on loan to Bristol City and Swansea to develop with mixed success before a second-tier stint at Aston Villa proved Abraham was ready for the top flight.

He scored 26 goals in all competitions to fire Villa to promotion to the Premier League, before earning a chance at Chelsea under Frank Lampard. Abraham’s first full season with the Blues saw him end the campaign as the club’s leading scorer, netting 15 top-flight goals as Chelsea secured a top-four finish.

Abraham’s role reduced the following campaign and he departed to sign for Roma in a Β£34m deal in 2021. He left having scored 30 goals in 82 appearances for the West Londoners.

Read –Β Joe Cole, the cheeky magician who showed us glimpses of greatness

See more –Β 90s Gold: The underappreciated brilliance of Aston Villa’s 1996 League Cup heroes

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