Arsenal and Chelsea meet this Saturday in the FA Cup final, with the final bit of domestic silverware up for grabs. The Gunners’ 13 titles leads all other clubs in English football history, whilst Chelsea can probably stake a claim to being their closest rivals in terms of recent cup final victories at Wembley.
Plenty of high class players have turned out for both teams in recent years, but how do they rank alongside side each other? Let’s take a look.
The fact that this guy is bringing up the rear on our list shows the quality of the players ahead of him. 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 midfielder was solid without being spectacular and his best days came at Liverpool before his switch to the Blues, but he is still fondly remembered.
Diarra went on to have a fairly good club career, but was used sparingly in his time at both Arsenal and Chelsea. The French defensive midfielder played just a dozen times in three seasons under Jose Mourinho and 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. He finished his career at PSG in 2019.
Anelka was one of Arsene Wenger’s first acquisitions at Arsenal, and he hit the ground running as the side 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 side to the league title under Carlo Ancelotti.
The most recent player to make the switch across London; Luiz left Chelsea for Arsenal last summer after 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 and having 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 spread across two separate spells; winning the Premier League, the Champions League, two Europa League’s and two FA Cups.
On the other hand…he’s been truly, blindingly awful at Arsenal, getting sent off twice in key games against Chelsea and City on his way to setting a new Premier League record for penalties conceded in a single season.
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.
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. He also went on to join Tottenham, making him a fully-fledged London journeyman.
French World Cup winner Giroud joined Arsenal back in 2012, going on to make 253 appearances for the club and netting 105 goals. He struggled for a starting berth at various points, but 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 and has scored 28 goals – at almost the exact same goals/minute ratio he managed at the Emirates. He scored one and laid on two more against his former side in the Europa League final last season too, which…yeah. That had to be nice.
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, 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 the Blues 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.
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’ did the unthinkable – at the time – and joined bitter rivals Chelsea in 2006 to link up with Mourinho at the Bridge.
He flourished at the Blues, managing to win another Premier League, four FA Cups and the Champions League – scoring a penalty in the shootout that decided the latter.
Still generally unforgiven in north London, Cole had a brief spell in the Championship with Derby last season under current Blues boss Lampard before retiring.
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.
Left for the Emirates in 2015 and remained between the sticks until his retirement last summer. He was a shadow of the version of himself from a decade previous, but the CV he assembled at Chelsea is undeniable.