History

Chelsea’s left-footed XI

The 11 players selected by Frank Lampard for our most recent Premier League game are predominantly right-footed, so we try to redress the balance by reminding you of some of the best left-footers to represent the club over the years.

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to see a team made of players favouring their right-hand side, as it is thought that roughly one in five footballers are left-footed.

Of the current men's first-team squad listed on chelseafc.com, that ratio drops even further; of the 25 players listed, only four (Marcos Alonso, Michy Batshuayi, Olivier Giroud and Emerson Palmieri) are lefties. None of that quartet featured against Burnley.

However, throughout our history we’ve had plenty of left-footers who have made a big impression on the supporters at Stamford Bridge and we’ve picked out a starting XI – lining up in a 4-1-3-2 formation – who did the club proud. And yes, we’ll get the cliché out of the way early: some of them had a ‘wand for a left peg’…

Petr Cech

An easy selection between the posts; indeed, we’d wager he would be in most fans' best-ever XI, let alone a left-footed team. Cech won the lot and was a key player in most of those triumphs, mainly for what he did with his hands, although he did claim a couple of Premier League assists.

Graeme Le Saux

Cesar Azpilicueta is just one of the many right-sided players to feature at left-back in the modern game, so we’re cheating slightly to shoehorn one of our best defensive left-footers in this team. The mistake of selling Sauxy was later rectified when we brought him back to the club at the cost of a then-British record fee for a defender.

Micky Droy

When looking back at footage of this man mountain of a centre-back, who played during the barren years of the late 1970s and early Eighties, most of his best work was done with his head! That was English football for you, but he definitely favoured his left when the ball was on the deck.

Colin Pates

That leads us nicely onto another former Blues captain, who came through alongside Droy and stood out in a long-ball era as someone who could get the ball down and play. He even captained us to glory in a Wembley cup final, albeit in the Full Members Cup.

Ashley Cole

Much like Cech, Cole can lay claim to being the club’s greatest in his position. As well as making many a vital challenge with his left foot, he also used to it good effect in the attacking third and once scored our Goal of the Season, which was a dinked finish against Sunderland in 2010.

Nemanja Matic

The Serbian midfielder was the man who kept things ticking over at the base of midfielder in two Premier League-winning sides for the Blues, in 2015 and 2017, but as one strike against Everton showed, he could certainly use that booming left foot for more than just short passes.

Arjen Robben

The sight of the twinkle-toed Dutchman cutting in from the right and curling home a left-footed shot was seen countless times throughout a career he recently called time on. Though he is best known for his time with Bayern Munich, he had his moments early on during an all-too-brief stay at the Bridge.

Juan Mata

A Chelsea Player of the Year winner in both of his two full seasons in west London, Mata provided the crucial assist for two of our three goals in European finals in 2012 and 2013, including for Drogba’s vital equaliser in the Champions League final. Also whipped home a few stunning free-kicks.

Damien Duff

Peter Houseman, a member of our 1970 FA Cup-winning team, was a strong contender, but in the end we’ve opted to retain the dual left-footed wing threat of Robben and Duff which sparked a trend for 4-3-3 and inverted wingers in the English game as we won back-to-back Premier League titles.

Jimmy Greaves

Those who saw him play have likened him to Lionel Messi for the manner in which he glided past players and effortlessly stroked the ball home. Like the Barca man, Greavesy’s strongest foot was his left, although he was almost as good with his right, which helped him to a quite ridiculous scoring record.

Bobby Tambling

He may have described himself as “the old banger compared to the Rolls Royce” after taking the scoring mantle from Greaves, but the ever-modest Tambling went on to establish himself as our all-time leading scorer until his record was surpassed by Lampard – and the bulk of his 202 goals came from his left foot.

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