Chelsea may have recently lost a great pass master in Cesc Fabregas but David Luiz proved against Newcastle United on Saturday that we still have players who can set up goals with accurate long passes to team-mates.
Having set up N’Golo Kante’s winner at Crystal Palace last month with a neat chip over the Eagles defence, the Brazilian picked up another brilliant assist with a no-look, 50-metre ball which bypassed the entire Magpies defence to find Pedro for the opening goal in our 2-1 victory.
While the long ball may not be used as regularly by Premier League teams nowadays, it is still a pretty effective way of breaking down your opponents as these other Chelsea players have ably demonstrated in the past.
As Chelsea’s first French import, Frank Leboeuf was a cultured defender who weighed in with his fair share of goals for the Blues, many of them from the penalty spot.
He also had the ability to pick out team-mates with a long ball, which he showed to devastating effect at White Hart Lane in December 1997 when his lofted pass from near the halfway line into the Tottenham Hotspur box found Dan Petrescu, who volleyed past goalkeeper Ian Walker for our third goal in a memorable 6-1 win.
While he was superb at scoring goals, Frank Lampard was just as good at setting them up - particularly for Didier Drogba in FA Cup semi-finals. In 2009, he assisted our late winner against Arsenal by hooking the ball from 20 metres inside his own half towards the Ivorian, who outpaced the Gunners defence and rounded goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski to score.
Three years later against Tottenham, he was even deeper inside his own half when he played another spectacular long pass to Drogba who controlled the ball on his chest before turning and firing home the opener in our 5-1 win.
He may not have meant it at the time but Ashley Cole ended up assisting one of the club’s most memorable goals at the Nou Camp in April 2012. With the Blues resolutely holding out against intense Barcelona pressure in the dying minutes of our Champions League semi-final, the ball fell to Cole who belted it from inside his own box towards Fernando Torres on the halfway line. With no Barca player within 20 metres as he collected the ball, the Spaniard ran clear and rounded goalkeeper Victor Valdes to seal our place in the final.
After joining the Blues in 2014, Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa struck up a wonderful understanding which produced several goals as we marched to the Premier League title. One of the best came against the Spaniard’s former club Arsenal in October 2014, when he spotted the run of his team-mate and lofted over a perfectly-weighted ball from 10 metres inside his own half, which Diego Costa controlled on his chest before lifting an exquisite chip over goalkeeper Wojchich Szczesny to seal a 2-0 win.
He may play for Manchester United now, but Nemanja Matic played a key role in Chelsea’s demolition of the Red Devils at Stamford Bridge in October 2016. With the game not even 30 seconds old, the Serbian sent the ball from the left of the Chelsea half into a corridor of doubt just outside our opponents box, where the United defenders and goalkeeper David De Gea hesitated, allowing Pedro to nip in and tuck the ball into the unguarded net.
N’Golo Kante notched his first assist as a Chelsea player with a brilliant long pass to Eden Hazard for the second goal in our 3-1 win at Bournemouth in April 2017.
With the Cherries looking to respond after falling behind two minutes earlier, the Frenchman caught them out by lofting a precise ball from his own half into the left channel for his Belgian team-mate, who sprinted clear of the home defence and rounded goalkeeper Artur Boruc to score.