Best of the bench
Inside Blue Fri 24 Nov 2017
The last round of Premier League fixtures saw the competition's record for substitute appearances broken, but which players have impressed from the bench for Chelsea?
The new record was set by Peter Crouch, after he was introduced as a substitute for the 143rd time in the Premier League, by Stoke City manager and former Blues striker Mark Hughes during the Potters' 2-2 draw with Brighton & Hove Albion.
Nobody has quite got close to that mammoth figure for the Blues, with the highest number of Premier League substitute appearances in a Chelsea shirt belonging to Didier Drogba, with 67.
That list is dominated by our African Champions League winners, with John Mikel Obi one appearance behind in second and Salomon Kalou, also a team-mate of Drogba's at international level for the Ivory Coast, in third place having come off the bench 62 times in the Premier League, putting him narrowly ahead of Joe Cole and Eidur Gudjohnsen.
However, when you open it up to appearances in all competitions, Kalou is comfortably ahead of anyone else in Chelsea history, coming on 107 times. The next highest are Joe Cole and Drogba, with 93 each.
Legendary striker Drogba is closer to Crouch's tally of 15 goals from the bench in the English top flight, having found the net after coming on 11 times in the Premier League for the Blues, although that figure rises to a club-record 18 when you include all competitions.
The Premier League goals record for Chelsea belongs to one of our best-known supersubs, Tore Andre Flo, who certainly knew how to make an impact when coming on, scoring 13 goals, all in the Premier League. Only two other players have reached double figures for goals from the bench for Chelsea – Kalou on 15 and Gudjohnsen with 11.
The most likely candidates to match those numbers in the future seem to be Michy Batshuayi and Willian, who lead the statistics among the current squad. Both players have scored seven goals for Chelsea from the bench, although Willian's 55 substitute appearances puts him comfortably ahead of Batshuayi's 28, with another Belgian, Eden Hazard, splitting them on 38.
Unfortunately, the first-ever player to come on as a substitute in a competitive match for Chelsea is nowhere near these records. John Boyle may have made history when he replaced George Graham during a west London derby against Fulham on 28 August 1968, but that was one of only 13 substitute appearances, compared to a total of 266 games for the Blues.