Premier League 25 years XI: Part one
Guest Fan Blog Wed 16 Aug 2017
2017 marks 25 years since the beginning of the Premier League, and in that time, Chelsea have been crowned champions on five occasions.
Since its inception in 1992, many players have passed through Stamford Bridge, but some stand out.
Here is my favourite Premier League Chelsea XI…
Joining Chelsea in 2004, Petr Cech made 333 league appearances for the Blues, keeping 166 clean sheets. There was always a sense of reassurance with him in goal, and some saves would leave you wondering how on earth he made them. He may play for the red side of London now, but to me he will always be a Chelsea legend.
‘Dave’ is the first of two current Chelsea players who have made my chosen XI. The Spaniard is a consistent, reliable right-back who just gets on with the job, with no fuss. He played every minute of every league game last season, becoming only the fourth ever outfield player to do so in a title-winning campaign.
For six years Desailly was the mainstay of our defence, with strong, rock-solid performances week in week out. Joining from AC Milan in 1998, Marcel made 158 league appearances for Chelsea, forming a great partnership with his French compatriot, Frank Leboeuf. He was quick, powerful and smart with the ball.
Our former captain, leader, legend would perhaps feature in any Chelsea fan’s favourite Premier League XI, for obvious reasons. He is Chelsea’s most decorated player, and made a club-record 492 league appearances for us, and is the only individual to have played a part in all five of our Premier League titles. The heart of our defence for the best part of 16 straight seasons, he was the first name on my list.
Joining us from Arsenal in 2006, Ashley Cole was a consistent left-back who had an attacking element to his game. He made several vital goal-line clearances in his time with us, the two most memorable being against Napoli and Barcelona in our 2011-2012 Champions League campaign. He’s also won the FA Cup seven times, more than anyone else in history.
Frenchman Claude Makelele played as holding midfielder during his five seasons with Chelsea, a role he redefined and made entirely his own. Many tried to emulate him but few come close. It’s been nearly 10 years since Makelele last played in the Premier League, but his name still consistently crops up when the defensive midfielder position is discussed. He was hard-working, intelligent and had the ability to control games.
It seems strange to think that Arjen Robben only spent three seasons at Chelsea, but in that short time he won the league twice, the League Cup twice, the FA Cup and the Community Shield. The Dutchman is a fast winger with an ability to cut in and dribble past defenders or make accurate crosses into the box. He now resides at Bayern Munich, where he has won the Bundesliga six times.
Our all-time leading goal scorer, Frank Lampard was another obvious choice. In his 11 seasons with Chelsea he made 429 league appearances, scoring 147 goals. He is the only midfielder in Premier League history to have scored more than 150 goals (this includes his time at West Ham and Manchester City). Super Frank was an all-round midfielder who worked tirelessly and with great skill.
Hazard is simply a joy to watch every week. He is fast, creative, and with his mesmerising footwork he makes his own luck. This will be his sixth season at Chelsea, and he has made 174 appearances for us so far. I’m hoping we can hold on to him for many more to come.
A Chelsea legend, Didier Drogba’s defining penalty won us our first Champions League trophy in 2012. This prolific striker terrorised defences and made sure his presence was felt by everyone else on the pitch. He was powerful, good in the air and had a brilliant ability to always deliver on the big occasions. So good, we signed him twice.
My favourite Chelsea player of all time, Gianfranco Zola is the final piece to my favourite Premier League XI. What he lacked in height he made up for in skill, intelligence, control and creative ability. During his seven seasons at Chelsea he made 229 league appearances, and is considered one of the best players in Premier League history.
Deciding on just 11 players from the past 25 years was not an easy task, so I’ve chosen a bench as well.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.
By Hannah Kurzawski, Chelsea fan.