FA Cup final: Arsenal and Chelsea players who starred for both, including Cole, Cech, Luiz, Giroud and Fabregas

ARSENAL and Chelsea go head-to-head in the FA Cup final on Saturday with players playing who have starred for both clubs.

David Luiz, who moved from West London to North London last summer, will be at the heart of the Gunners defence.

David Luiz swapped West London for North last summer

Willian’s Chelsea future is up in the air with Arsenal interested in the Brazilian

While former Arsenal centre-forward Olivier Giroud is likely to be leading the line for the Blues.

And it appears Willian will be playing his final game for Chelsea this weekend.

The Brazilian has a number of offers on the table, including a deal with Arsenal and will make a decision on his future after the cup final.

But who else has swapped red for blue or blue for red? And who got the better deal?



The brilliant left-back exploded onto the scene at Arsenal, linking up with Robert Pires and Thierry Henry to form a formidable attacking threat.

He played 228 games for the Gunners, scoring nine goals and was more renowned for getting forward than his defensive displays.

Cole won two league titles with Arsenal and three FA Cups, plus was a member of ‘The Invincibles’.

In 2006 he moved to Chelsea in a swap deal with William Gallas, and added European silverware including a Champions League and Europa League to his honours.

Ashley Cole emerged on the scene with Arsenal

Cole won the Champions League with Chelsea

With the Blues he played 338 times, scoring seven times, and was recognised as a better defender for his stint working with Jose Mourinho.

Verdict: Better at Chelsea, helping the club become European champions.


When Arsene Wenger signed Nicolas Anelka as a 17-year-old for £500,000, Arsenal fans were left asking ‘Nic, who?’

A year later he was one of the most exciting players in football – scoring 17 league goals in his second season at the club.

The explosive striker left London before his career really took off for Real Madrid in 1999, where he proved to be a flop.

In 2007, Anelka signed for Chelsea for £15million from Bolton – and won the Golden Boot in 2009.

A year later he added another Premier League medal (his first was with Arsenal in 1998) to his honours list.

VERDICT: Winning the Golden Boot edges it at Chelsea.

Arsene Wenger discovered Nicolas Anelka with Arsenal

Anelka won the Golden Boot at Chelsea


Arsene Wenger brought Petit to our shores from Monaco for a bargain £2.5million.

And in his first season he formed a steely midfield partnership with Patrick Vieira – winning the double in 1998.

Petit returned to London in 2001 after a stint at Barcelona in a £7.5million deal, but in truth his best days were behind him.

After a disappointing first year, that included a FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal, he improved in his second.

But a series of knee injuries hampered at his time at Stamford Bridge, and he was released on a free transfer in 2004.

Verdict: Arsenal got the better end of the deal, with Petit struggling to live up to expectations in West London.

Emmanuel Petit’s best years in the Premier League came at Arsenal


Arsenal gave Fabregas his chance as a 16-year-old, after scooping him up from Barcelona’s youth academy.

And he blossomed into the one of the Premier League’s classiest midfielders, eventually captaining the side before moving back to the Catalans for £30million 303 games later.

Chelsea splashed £33million on Fabregas in 2014 and got a 28-year-old footballer in his prime.

League titles that evaded him at Arsenal came at Chelsea, while he also won an FA Cup and League Cup.

Verdict: Tough call, but it’s his stint at Chelsea where he won more trophies and became a better team player.

Cesc Fabregas won two Premier League titles at Chelsea


‘Rocky’ was so good for Arsenal former vice chairman David Dein revealed to his wife in 1983: “We’ve got a boy who could be Brazilian… and he comes from Lewisham.”

The silky midfielder played 228 times for Arsenal scoring 34 goals – with many being worldies.

He was surprisingly sold to Leeds United after his best season with the club by George Graham in 1992.

In 1994, after playing for Manchester City, Rocastle returned to London with the Blues.

Injuries restricted him to just 29 appearances in four years at the club.

Verdict: Arsenal win this one, with Rocastle being a cult hero in their two First Division and League Cup successes.

David Rocastle was a cult hero among Gunners fans

Rocastle’s time at Chelsea was hampered by injuries


With Giroud, you always got the feeling he was underrated by Gunners fans.

But 105 goals from 253 games as a target man showed his pedigree, winning the FA Cup three times.

Chelsea moved for the Frenchman in January transfer window in 2018, and it took him time to get going.

His second season, with just two league goals was a disaster, but now he seems to be enjoying a new lease of life.

Worth noting, he also set the Blues on their way to a Europa League final win last season over… Arsenal in their 4-1 win.

Verdict: Jury’s out for now, but Arsenal may have seen the best of Giroud.

Olivier Giroud scored 105 times 253 games for Arsenal

Giroud helped Chelsea win last season’s Europa League against Arsenal


The classy midfielder joined the Gunners in 1974 as an apprentice.

He quickly displaced fans’ favourite George Armstrong on the left wing and formed an impressive partnership with Liam Brady.

Famously, Rix assisted Alan Sunderland’s last-minute winner against Manchester United in the 1979 FA Cup final.

Rix became a youth coach at Chelsea in 1993, and was two-years retired when he had to step in during an injury crisis.

As irony would have it, the Premier League match was against Arsenal and Rix came on with eight minutes to see out a 2-1 win.

Verdict: Rix’s best years were at Arsenal, where he played 464 times.

Graham Rix provided an assist for the winning goal in the 1979 FA Cup final


Chelsea signed Graham in 1964 from Aston Villa.

And he went on to play 72 times, scoring 35 goals playing upfront.

But after a fallout with manager Tommy Docherty, he was sold to Bertie Mee’s Arsenal in 1966.

He was the top scorer for the Gunners in his first two seasons, before he was moved out wide to accommodate John Radford.

In 1971, Graham won the double with Arsenal – playing a starring role in the FA Cup final win over Liverpool.

Verdict: Although he was successful at both, Graham’s time at Arsenal winning the double to become a club legend shades it.

George Graham was prolific at Chelsea

With Arsenal George Graham won the double


Born and brought up near the King’s Road, Hudson lived and breathed Chelsea.

He appeared for the club in 1969, nine months after injury had robbed him of his debut at 16, which would’ve made him their youngest ever player.

A flair player, he was instrumental in Chelsea’s replayed European Cup Winners’ Cup final win over Real Madrid.

Hudson signed for Arsenal in December, 1976 for £200,000, and played 47 times for the club without scoring.

But a fallout with manager Terry Neil meant he moved to Seattle Sounders of the NASL at just 27 a few years later.

Verdict: No doubt, victory over Real Madrid and 189 silky performances mean he’s Chelsea’s.

Alan Hudson, playing against Arsenal, was Chelsea born and bred


A centre half originally from Wimbledon, Pates played 281 times for the Blues during their most turbulent years in the second division.

In 1984, he led the club to promotion to the First Division as captain, but was surprisingly sold to Charlton for £400,000 four years later.

Arsenal snapped Pates up in 1990 as a squad player, where he played once in their First Division title win a year later.

But he struggled to shift the old guard of Tony Adams and Steve Bould, and fell further down the pecking order with the emergence of Andy Linighan.

In 1993 Pates left Arsenal for Brighton.

Verdict: Chelsea enjoyed Pates’ best years, albeit at a lower level.

Colin Pates captained Chelsea during their more turbulent years


Here’s where no one won.

Chelsea were the first to take a punt on utility player Diarra, seeing him as a potential replacement for Claude Makelele.

But he failed to break into the team, and when he did get his chance was used at right-back rather than his preferred central midfield role.

Diarra signed for Arsenal in 2007, but found himself playing second fiddle to Mathieu Flamini.

He was sold a year later to Portsmouth for £5.5million.

Verdict: A score draw, his potential was never fulfilled at either club.

Lassana Diarra failed to establish himself at both Arsenal and Chelsea


Part of the in-famous transfer deal that took Ashley Cole to Chelsea, Arsenal fans struggled to warm to Gallas.

In 2008, Arsenal, who were five points clear at the top, dropped precious points away at Birmingham City following a last-minute equaliser.

Gallas kicked advertising hoardings and sat in the middle of the pitch in a huge public tantrum that polarised his team-mates and derailed Arsenal’s title bid.

At Chelsea, the defender was part of Jose Mourinho’s team that won back-to-back Premier League titles.

However, he refused to sign a new contract with the club after failing to agree terms, with Chelsea issuing a statement that he threatened to score own goals if he was not allowed to leave.

Verdict: Chelsea got the best of a tempestuous pro with those back-to-back titles.

Williams Gallas famously sulked on the pitch after Arsenal drew with Birminghan City


The defender who divides opinion.

Luiz was a cult hero at Stamford Bridge in two spells – winning the Premier League, FA Cup twice, Champions League and Europa League twice.

Last summer, Frank Lampard saw that the Brazilian had no future under him and he was sold to Arsenal for £8million.

So far, things haven’t gone exactly to plan – he set an unwanted Premier League record after conceding his fifth penalty of the season during Arsenal’s game against Watford.

But his epic performance in the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City showed he can turn it on when he wants.

Verdict: Even if he helps Arsenal lift the FA Cup, there’s no way he will have the success he had with the Blues in his prime.

David Luiz conceded more penalties in Premier League history than any other player this season


A bit-part player for Chelsea, the Israeli was signed from Liverpool for £5.5million in 2010.

But the winger couldn’t find his feet in West London, mostly appearing from the bench in his three seasons at the club.

And it didn’t get much better when he joined Arsenal on a season-long loan deal in-between that spell.

However, Arsenal fans were left purring when he starred in a 5-2 rout of Tottenham, after going 2-0 down.

Benayoun managed six goals in 25 games for Arsenal, which was five more than he scored at Chelsea playing one less game.

Verdict: Can’t pick a winner here, no one saw what Benayoun was capable of.

Yossi Benayoun signed for Chelsea in a £5.5million deal


Cech played 494 games for Chelsea and was at the peak of his powers lifting four Premier League titles with the club in 11 seasons.

He was a Champions League winner, Europa League winner and broke several records.

In Cech’s first 180 games for the club he kept 100 clean sheets, the fastest goalie to do so.

He also holds the record of most clean sheets in the Premier League of all-time – 202.

Arsenal fans will say that at 34 his best days were behind him when he crossed over from West to North London.

In 2018, Cech lost his place to Bern Leno under new manager Unai Emery prompting his retirement from the game a year later.

Verdict: A faded force at Arsenal, where mistakes crept into his game, his time at Chelsea turned him into a Premier League legend.

Petr Cech holds the record for most Premier League sheets of all-time



By: Jon Boon
Title: FA Cup final: Arsenal and Chelsea players who starred for both, including Cole, Cech, Luiz, Giroud and Fabregas
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Published Date: Fri, 31 Jul 2020 06:31:23 +0000

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