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From foes to Chelsea heroes

Hakim Ziyech and Thiago Silva may have caused grief for Chelsea fans when playing against us in the past but like a number of other players, they have made a telling impact for the Blues after moving to Stamford Bridge.

A year and a day after his first appearance at the Bridge, Ziyech came full circle in his transition from Chelsea foe to hero in the Premier League encounter with Sheffield United last weekend.

Last November, the Moroccan helped set up three goals for Ajax in a pulsating Champions League tie which the Dutch club led 4-1 before the home side rallied to earn a point from a 4-4 draw. But against the Blades, he again helped create three goals as the Blues secured a 4-1 victory.

The third of those goals also marked the redemption of another former Chelsea adversary as Thiago Silva got on the scoresheet for the first time as a Blue.

The Brazilian defender was Paris Saint Germain’s captain when they eliminated the Blues in the last 16 of the Champions League in 2015 and 2016 with his extra-time header at the Bridge in the earlier meeting sending the French side through on away goals.

However, the 36-year-old has played a big role in tightening up our defence since his arrival on a free transfer this summer and he added to his standing with Blues supporters by meeting Ziyech’s inviting free-kick from the right with an unstoppable header.

Of course, there are other players who have won over the Chelsea faithful after causing us woe when they played for their former teams.

Diego Costa

Diego Costa snuffed out Chelsea’s hopes of reaching the Champions League final when he earned and converted a penalty which gave Atletico Madrid the lead in their 3-1 win at the Bridge in April 2014. He joined the Blues soon afterwards and netted nine goals in his first seven Premier League matches to propel us towards the title in his first season at the club in 2014/15.

Samuel Eto’o

Samuel Eto’o twice scored winning goals at the Bridge against Chelsea in the last 16 of the Champions League, for Barcelona in 2006 and Inter Milan in 2010. The Cameroonian eventually became a Blue in 2013 and scored 12 times in his lone season with us including a memorable hat-trick against Manchester United and goals against Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.

Nicolas Anelka

Nicolas Anelka scored only one goal in 14 matches against Chelsea but it was notable as his penalty for Manchester City led to our only defeat in the 2004/05 Premier League season. The Frenchman joined the Blues from Bolton Wanderers four years later and made amends by netting 59 goals, winning the Golden Boot in 2008/09 and playing a big role in our Double triumph the following season.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was a thorn in the side of Chelsea when he played for Leeds United, scoring twice when we lost 3-1 at Elland Road in April 1998. However, the Dutchman is remembered more fondly for his time with the Blue which yielded 87 goals in 177 games from 2000 to 2004.

Mark Hughes

As a Manchester United player, Mark Hughes netted eight goals against the Blues including one in our 1994 FA Cup final defeat. However, the Welshman arrived at the Bridge in 1995 and scored 39 times in 123 appearances as well as helping us win the FA Cup, League Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup.

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