Arsenal and Chelsea’s ‘then and now’ sides make for interesting reading
Chelsea and Arsenal will face each other in the Emirates FA Cup Final this Saturday evening in a repeat of their 2002 showdown.
And while the pair regularly come up against each other in the Premier League, it’s now been eight years since they last met in the world’s oldest cup competition.
But how far have both teams come since then?
We’ve picked out our best combined XIs between the Arsenal and Chelsea sides which started that match in 2009 and now, and the results might shock you…
To make things easy, we’ve highlighted our chosen XI and placed them alongside the player who they beat to make the teamsheet…
Goalkeeper – Petr Cech/Lukas Fabianski
To be fair to the Polish goalkeeper, he’s come on leaps and bounds since leaving Arsenal for Swansea back in 2014 but we’d still side with Cech between the sticks.
Defenders – Hector Bellerin/Emmanuel Eboue Kolo Toure/Shkodran Mustafi Laurent Koscielny/Mikael Silvestre Nacho Monreal/Kieran Gibbs
Between them, we reckon our chosen back four boast a perfect combination of pace, power and experience. The hardest call was probably on the left-hand side, but Monreal just edged it for us.
Midfielders – Francis Coquelin/Abou Diaby Granit Xhaka/Denilson Cesc Fabregas/Aaron Ramsey
Similarly to our back four, we think this trio would be an exciting group to watch in Arsenal’s engine room.
An energetic Coquelin would provide solid cover for Xhaka and Fabregas to push forward and cause havoc for opposing defenders.
Forwards – Mesut Ozil/Emmanuel Adebayor Alexis Sanchez/Theo Walcott Robin van Persie/Danny Welbeck
We’ve had to switch things around a little here. Back in 2009, Wenger opted for two wide forwards and a central striker in Adebayor.
We’re taking the Togo out and replacing him with Ozil, who will slot into the number 10 role.
Ahead of him would sit one of the deadliest hypothetical strike partnerships in Van Persie and Sanchez.
Current Players = 8 Past Players = 3
Agree with our picks? Have your say in the comments section below!
Goalkeeper – Petr Cech/Thibaut Courtois
It was around this time that Cech was truly at his best for Chelsea. In fact, the Czech Republic legend conceded just 24 goals in the 2008-09 campaign, a figure which hasn’t been beaten in the last eight seasons.
It was a close call, but Cech gets the nod (again).
Defenders – Branislav Ivanovic/Cesar Azpilicueta John Terry/Gary Cahill David Luiz/Alex Ashley Cole/Marcos Alonso
It was always going to be difficult for any current Chelsea defender to break into this line-up. After all, we’re talking about one of the most solid units in Premier League history. And if you’d have asked us during David Luiz’s first spell with the Blues, it would have been a clean sweep from the 2009 team.
But the Brazilian has been a standout player under Antonio Conte, and we think he deserves a place in this XI.
Midfielders – N’Golo Kante/Michael Essien Michael Ballack/Nemanja Matic Frank Lampard/Cesc Fabregas
In truth, there’s an argument for every player in this section to have a place in this trio.
But breaking it down, Kante (2016-17’s PFA Player of the Year) has to get in ahead of Essien, while Michael Ballack probably just edges it over Matic.
And as for Lampard, we just couldn’t leave him out.
Forwards – Nicolas Anelka/Pedro Eden Hazard/Florent Malouda Didier Drogba/Diego Costa
Yep, as far as we’re concerned only Hazard from this current Chelsea side would get anywhere near the 2009 squad – although even that was a tough decision, given how effective Malouda was operating from the left wing alongside Drogba and Anelka.
This was the year Anelka finished as Chelsea’s top scorer, and was actually the most prolific season in front of goal of his professional career.
As for Drogba, you’d do well to convince us he doesn’t deserve a place in this team!
Current Players = 3 Past Players = 8
How would your Chelsea side look? Let us know in the comments section below!
All odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing