Whilst the bulk of Chelsea’s success and trophies may have been achieved since Roman Abramovich purchased the West London club back in 2003, the team has a rich and exciting history that dates back decades.
It’s fair to say that many of the club’s finest players have represented the Blues since the turn of the century, with Chelsea particularly blessed when it comes to their midfield options.
In this post we’ll list the top four Chelsea midfielders of all-time, whilst asking what made them so successful at Stamford Bridge?
Whilst N’Golo Kante has only spent three years at the West London club, his high-quality and dominant displays have earned him a place on this list.
In fact, Kante is such a dynamic and reliable presence in the Chelsea engine room that if he’s playing you’d probably fancy the Blues to win such can be his influence.
A modern defensive midfielder who has redefined the position, Kante combines fervent energy with exceptional ball-winning abilities and even managed to anchor consecutive title-winning teams in 2016 and 2017.
Kante is also continuing to evolve as a player, as he continues to improve his forward passing and add some crucial goals to his game.
Next up is another defensive midfielder, albeit one who relied on outstanding positioning and composure rather than terrier-like enthusiasm to dominate the opposition.
Whilst some fans may baulk at the idea of Makelele being selected ahead of Kante in our list, it’s important to remember that the French star revolutionised the defensive midfield role and set a new tactical standard in the Premier League.
Experts even named the position after him, such was the impact of Makelele on Chelsea’s all-conquering title-winning sides of 2005 and 2006.
Makelele was also a snip at just £16.8 million when he signed from Real Madrid in September 2003, with his reading of the game playing a pivotal role as the Blues quickly established themselves as the best defensive side in the EPL.
The contentious thing about Gianfranco Zola being on the list is his positioning, as some would argue that he was a striker rather than an attacking midfielder.
However, Zola undoubtedly adopted a deep and free role in Chelsea’s side between 1996 and 2003, with his incredible dribbling skills and vision making him a threat from anywhere on the park.
Incredibly, he cost a paltry £4.5 million when signing from Serie A side Parma in 1996, whilst he scored 80 goals and assisted countless more in 311 glittering appearances for the West London side.
Zola was also voted as Chelsea’s best ever player by the fans in 2003, whist the number 25 shirt that he wore has been virtually retired since his departure.
Be honest, did you really expect anyone else to be at number one on our list?
After all, Lampard can lay claim to being one of the best midfielders in the whole of the Premier League era, whilst he’s also earned the mantra of Chelsea’s all-time record goalscorer.
Frank could do everything on a football field, with his long-range striking and predatory penalty box instincts supplemented by excellent vision and a superb engine.
During 13 stellar and trophy-laden years, he made 648 appearances and scored 211 goals from midfield, whilst winning a full set of major club honours including the European Champions League in 2012.
Lampard was also incredibly fit, having made 164 consecutive EPL appearances at one stage despite his effort at both ends of the pitch.
Now currently in the Stamford Bridge hot seat, his youthful Chelsea outfit feature to win most games in many weekend accumulator predictions, particularly given that they’ve scored 18 goals so far this season and sit level on points with 4th placed Leicester City in the EPL table.