Home Best Chelsea midfielders ever (top left, right, centre, attacking & defensive)

Best Chelsea midfielders ever (top left, right, centre, attacking & defensive)

Frank Lampard is one of the Best Chelsea midfielders everBest Chelsea midfielders ever

Best Chelsea midfielders ever? Chelsea top midfieldersWhich Chelsea players have been the best midfielders ever?

Frank Lampard is considered by most as the best Chelsea FC attacking midfielder ever. But who else makes the list of Chelsea top midfielders? Hopefully this list installs some nostalgia in Chelsea fans looking back at some of the best Chelsea midfielders. Here we will look at the best Chelsea midfielders ever.

Chelsea top midfielders: what are the different midfield positions?

What are midfielders and what are their roles in the team? Well a midfielder are positioned between the defenders and the strikers. Their job is to both attack and defend while also linking up the play between the defenders and strikers.

Some teams use defensive midfielders whereby their main and primary task is to protect the defence by playing just ahead of them. While other midfielders play more attacking roles as a number 8 or 10.

These midfielders set up the attacking plays and help the strikers to score goals. Meanwhile, there are also just the traditional central midfielders that function to help the defence and strikers as mentioned earlier.

Different midfield positions and roles

Then there are midfielders with different attributes. There are deep-lying midfielders who set up the plays for the team- famous examples being Cesc Fabregas or Andrea Pirlo.

There are box-to-box midfielders who get up and down the pitch (hence box-to-box). Chelsea legend Michael Essien is a good example. And then there’s holding midfielders who are essentially defensive midfielders- N’Golo Kante is one of those.

Then there are wingers- those players on the two sides of the pitch on the touchline. Their job is to run down the touchline (wing) and put in a cross, or as an inverted winger (wingers who play on the opposite side of their natural foot) cut inside and shoot with their strong foot.

Because of their many different roles in the team, midfielders generally have to run the most out of the team and cover the most distance on the pitch. Therefore, midfielders need to be very fit.

We will look at the best defensive midfielders, central midfielders and attacking midfielders. We will also look at the best left midfielders (left wing) and best right midfielders (right wing). Modern day wingers are expected to both attack and track back to defend. Wingers tend to be fast, tricky, skillful with the ball and can cross it.

Best Chelsea left midfielders ever

Best Chelsea left midfielder ever? Who are the best Chelsea left midfielders ever? Lets have a look at the best ever Chelsea left-wingers of all time.

3. Arjen Robben was one of the best Chelsea left-midfielders ever

Best Chelsea midfielders ever Arjen Robben left wingers

Arjen Robben was one of the best left wingers in the game ever. The Dutch winger was extremely fast, agile and great with the ball at his feet. On top of that, he had a lethal left foot that helped him score goal after goal for Chelsea.

Watching Robben in his young and prime age at Chelsea was honestly a joy to watch. He was the Chelsea player that had the potential to win the world but sadly for Chelsea, he did that at Bayern Munich. He could zig-zag down the wing at ease, take it out to his left foot, and whip a cross in. Watching him at his full speed with the ball at his feet was magical.

Robben only played two seasons however and was sold to Real Madrid. It’s believed he was sold due to Robben’s constant injuries and Mourinho didn’t like injury-prone players; a decision which the club went on to rue.

Arjen Robben’s goals by season

Season League F.A. Cup Lg Cup Europe Other Total goals
2004 / 05 7 0 1 1 0 9
2005 / 06 6 1 0 0 0 7
2006 / 07 2 0 0 1 0 3
Total goals 15 1 1 2 0 19

2. Florent Malouda is another brilliant Chelsea left midfielder

Malouda best Chelsea left midfielder

Florent Malouda was a part of the Chelsea team that scored goals for fun under Carlo Ancelotti. The Left winger struck a fantastic relationship with the left back Ashley Cole and the duo rampaged up and down the left side.

He was also very effective in linking up with Lampard and Drogba as Chelsea went on to score 104 goals in the league in 2009-10. He was a fan favourite and was also part of Chelsea’s Champions League squad.

Malouda’s goals by season:

Season League F.A. Cup Lg Cup Europe Other Total goals
2007 / 08 2 0 0 1 1 4
2008 / 09 6 1 1 1 0 9
2009 / 10 12 2 1 0 0 15
2010/11 13 0 0 1 0 14
2011/12 2 1 0 0 0 3
2012/13 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total goals 35 4 2 3 1 45

1. Damien Duff is one of Chelsea’s best left midfielders ever

Best Chelsea midfielders ever Damien Duff best Chelsea wingers

The Irishman was a truly gifted winger for Chelsea but was also a hard worker off the ball.

Duff was signed by Chelsea in 2003 for £17 million from Blackburn Rovers. It was a hefty price-tag at the time, but he proved his worth.

Duff was a natural left-footer but often played on the right-wing as an inverted winger to accommodate Arjen Robben into the team.

In Chelsea’s golden years under Abramovich, Duff was employed in a fearsome 4-3-3 on the right wing with Robben on the left.

In total, Duff spent three seasons at Chelsea between 2003 to 2006. He made 125 appearances and scored 19 goals. In the process, Duff won two Premier League titles and the League Cup.

Damien Duff’s goals for Chelsea by season

Season League F.A. Cup Lg Cup Europe Other Total goals
2003 / 04 5 0 0 1 0 6
2004 / 05 6 0 2 2 0 10
2005 / 06 3 0 0 0 0 3
Total goals 14 0 2 3 0 19

Best Chelsea centre midfielders ever

Best Chelsea centre midfielder ever? Who are the best Chelsea centre midfielders ever? Lets have a look at the best ever Chelsea centre midfielders of all time.

1. Frank Lampard is one of the best Chelsea midfielders ever

Lampard Chelsea best midfielder everFrank Lampard is not only the best Chelsea midfielder ever, he’s also possibly the best ever central midfielder the Premier League has ever had.

Lampard was another youth product signed from West Ham, much like Joe Cole. The Englishman signed for Chelsea in 2011 for £11 million. From there he became a legend.

Lampard is Chelsea’s all time leading goalscorer with 211 goals. He played for Chelsea for over 13 years and was eventually released in 2014.

Frank Lampard also holds the record for an outfield player of the most consecutive league appearances with 164 appearances in a row. How did he not get sick or injured!

The Englishman was known for his attacking abilities and goal scoring but he could also put in a defensive shift. Additionally, Lampard could set up goals, being second on the all-time most assists in the Premier League list.

Frank Lampard’s goals by season (it’s a long one)

Season League F.A. Cup Lg Cup Europe Other Total goals
2001 / 02 5 1 0 1 0 7
2002 / 03 6 1 0 1 0 8
2003 / 04 10 1 0 4 0 15
2004 / 05 13 0 2 4 0 19
2005 / 06 16 2 0 2 0 20
2006 / 07 11 6 3 1 0 21
2007 / 08 10 2 4 4 0 20
2008 / 09 12 3 2 3 0 20
2009 / 10 22 3 0 1 1 27
2010 / 11 10 3 0 0 0 13
2011 / 12 11 2 0 3 0 16
2012 / 13 15 2 0 0 0 17
2013 / 14 6 0 1 1 0 8
Total goals 147 26 12 25 1 211

2. Michael Essien is one of the best Chelsea midfielders ever

Michael Essien is one of the Best Chelsea midfielders ever

Michael Essien is one of Chelsea’s best ever box-to-box midfielders in my opinion. Essien’s pace, strength and defensive qualities meant he’s could both attack and defend.

The Ghanaian signed for Chelsea in 2005 for a hefty £24.4 million fee. But boy did he prove his worth.

Essien was part of the Abramovich revolution and helped Chelsea to win multiple titles including the Premier League.

Essien was also extremely versatile and was often played as a right-back due to injuries or even as a centre-back. Most of you will remember Essien most fondly for his spectacular winning goal against Arsenal. In the dying minutes of a Premier League match, drawing 1-1, Essien hit the ball from way outside the box, with the outside of his right foot curling it into the net. It won the best Chelsea goal of the season.

Unfortunately injuries plagued Essien throughout his career and was never the same player after severe knee injuries.

Overall, Essen played from 2005 to 2014 (spending one season on loan at Real Madrid in 2012). He made 256 appearances and scored 25 goals.

3. Terry Venables is one of the best Chelsea midfielders ever

Terry Venables is one of the Best Chelsea midfielders ever

Venables signed for Chelsea in 1958 when he was only 15-years-old.

He would spend seven seasons at Chelsea from 1959 to 1966. In the process, Venables made 237 appearances and scored 31 goals.

He only won promotion with Chelsea in 1963 by finishing runners-up in the English second division. Venables won the Football League Cup with Chelsea though in 1965.

A great midfielder on his day, Venables helped Chelsea through some tough times and was ultimately one of Chelsea’s best ever midfielders.

Best Chelsea right midfielders ever

Best Chelsea right midfielder ever? Who are the best Chelsea right midfielders ever? Lets have a look at the best ever Chelsea right midfielders of all time.

3. Joe Cole is one of the best Chelsea right midfielders ever

Best Chelsea midfielders ever Joe Cole

Joe Cole was a fantastic player at Chelsea. While he may not have kicked on much after his Chelsea career, he was magical on his day in Chelsea colours.

Cole is most famous for his goal against Premier League rivals Manchester United when Chelsea won the title on the last day of the season.

Starting his career at West Ham in 1999, Cole then moved to Chelsea in 2003 after the Abramovich take-over. The Englishman once described as “a Brazilian” by Pele cost only £6.6 million.

Cole spent seven seasons at Chelsea and played over 280 games for The Blues.

Joe Cole’s goals by season for Chelsea

Season League F.A. Cup Lg Cup Europe Other Total goals
2003 / 04 1 0 2 0 0 3
2004 / 05 8 0 0 1 0 9
2005 / 06 7 2 0 1 0 10
2006 / 07 0 0 1 1 0 2
2007 / 08 7 0 1 2 0 10
2008 / 09 2 0 0 1 0 3
2009 / 10 2 0 0 0 0 2
Total goals 27 2 4 6 0 39

2. Charlie Cooke is one of Chelsea’s best ever wingers

Charlie Cooke is one of Chelsea's best ever wingers

Charlie Cooke joined Chelsea in 1966 from Scottish club Dundee for a then club record £72,000.

The Scottish winger played from 1966 to 1972 featuring in a dazzling and entertaining Chelsea side including Peter Osgood and Alan Hudson.

Cooke left in 1972 but he could not stay away for long and returned a year later. He eventually left in 1978, making in total, 373 appearances and scoring 30 goals.

Cooke is regarded as one of the best Chelsea midfielders ever.

3. Pat Nevin is one of the best ever Chelsea midfielders

Pat Nevin is one of the best ever Chelsea midfielders ever

Another Scottish winger, Pat Nevin joined Chelsea in 1983 for £95,000 from Scottish club Clyde.

From 1983 to 1988, Nevin made 193 appearances and scored a decent 36 goals in the league.

Nevin was affectionately nicknamed “Wee Pat”  by fans and his teammates for his small stature at five foot six.

He was part of a new look Chelsea side in the 1980’s featuring Kerry Dixon and David Speedie.

Best Chelsea defensive midfielders ever

Best Chelsea defensive midfielder ever? Who are the best Chelsea defensive midfielders ever? Lets have a look at the best ever Chelsea defensive midfielders of all time.

1. N’Golo Kante is one of the best Chelsea defensive midfielders ever

N'Golo Kante is one of the best Chelsea midfielders ever

This one was simple. N’Golo Kante is possibly the best defensive midfielder in the world at the moment.

After winning the Premier League title at Leicester City, Kante moved to Chelsea in 2016 for £30 million. It was possibly one of the best bargains the football world has seen.

Kante won the Premier League once again, but with another club, Chelsea in 2016/17. The little Frenchman was voted PFA Player of the Year for his outstanding performances.

Kante has an uncanny ability to tackle opponents, no matter how big or skillful they are. His ball-winning ability along with his passing and his stamina are his greatest attributes.

Kante has once again been one of Chelsea’s best players last season, in 2017/18, even when other team members haven’t been good. However, this season, Kante is being played out of position, further up the midfield.

He is adapting and scoring more goals but many feel he is still not being used to the best of his ability.

2. Claude Makalele is one of the best Chelsea defensive midfielders ever

Claude Makalele is one of the best Chelsea defensive midfielders

The “Makalele role”. The man was so good, that they named a position after him.

Claude Makalele was signed in 2003 for £16.8 million from Real Madrid. A sale that Real Madrid would regret later.

Makalele instantly gelled in Chelsea as a deep-lying defensive midfielder. His role in Chelsea’s Premier League title wins was pivotal.

His ability to read the game, defend and tackle was outstanding. I would say the only player to match Makalele’s abilities would be N”Golo Kante. So Chelsea have been blessed  in that department for the last decade.

Makalele later left Chelsea in 2008 after playing in almost every game of that season, despite being 35-years-old at that stage. After joining PSG on a free transfer, Makalele finally retired in 2010.

3. Nemanja Matic is one of the best Chelsea defensive midfielders ever

Nemanja Matic is one of the best Chelsea defensive midfielders

Matic may be playing for Manchester United now but in his prime at Chelsea, Matic was a beast.

The Serbian giant was key when Chelsea won the Premier League title in 2014. The six-foot-four defensive midfielder broke up opposition attacks, intercepted passes and made tackle after tackle to win the ball for Chelsea.

Matic had a bit of a dip in form in the dreadful 2015/16 season when they finished 10th. But, he regained most of that form back the following season under new coach Antonio Conte. However, he never quite got back to his best and was sold to Manchester United in 2017.

However, that is one move that Chelsea are probably regretting now.

Best Chelsea attacking midfielders ever

Best Chelsea attacking midfielder ever? Who are the best Chelsea attacking midfielders ever? Lets have a look at the best ever Chelsea attacking midfielders of all time.

1. Gianfranco Zola is one of the best Chelsea attacking midfielders ever

Gianfranco Zola is one of the best Chelsea midfielders ever

Zola is one of the best Chelsea midfielders ever. The Italian was a phenomenal dribbler with the ball and could beat defenders in one simple movement. Zola signed for Chelsea in 1996 from Parma for a measly £4.5 million. That was some bargain.

Zola would go onto make 311 appearances for Chelsea from 1996 to 2003. In those, Zola scored 80 times.

The little Italian was voted Chelsea’s best ever player by fans in 2003. He made the number 25 shirt famous for his time at Chelsea and other player is yet to don that shirt at the Blues.

After winning multiple trophies with Chelsea, Zola left in 2003 for Cagliari. He would later retire in 2005.

Gianfranco Zola’s goals by season for Chelsea

Season League F.A. Cup Lg Cup Europe Oth Total goals
1996 / 97 8 4 0 0 0 12
1997 / 98 8 0 0 4 0 12
1998 / 99 13 1 0 1 0 15
1999 / 00 4 1 0 3 0 8
2000 / 01 9 2 1 0 0 12
2001 / 02 3 1 0 1 0 5
2002 / 03 14 2 0 0 0 16
Total goals 59 11 1 9 0 80

2. Eden Hazard is one of the best Chelsea midfielders ever

Eden Hazard is one of the best Chelsea midfielders ever

The Belgian wizard Eden Hazard has been absolutely breathtaking at time since his move to Chelsea from Lille in 2012. He is one of the best Chelsea midfielders ever.

Hazard has been Chelsea’s best player since then, (barring N’Golo Kante).

The Belgian can play as either a winger, attacking midfielder or even as a second striker. But for this list, I’ve placed him as an attacking midfielder as I feel that’s his best position.

Hazard is one of the main attacking sparks at Chelsea/ He makes things happen and can create goals from nothing. His ability can make defenders look absolutely stupid at times he is that good. In total Hazard has made 296 appearances for Chelsea (and counting) with 88 goals.

Hazard is the latest entrance in the top 10 all-time goal scorers for Chelsea. Let’s hope he stays for even longer at Chelsea and he will definitely make it to the top of that prestigious list!

Eden Hazard’s goals by season

Season League F.A. Cup Lg Cup Europe Oth Total goals
2012 / 13 9 1 2 1 0 13
2013 / 14 14 0 0 3 0 17
2014 / 15 14 0 2 3 0 19
2015 / 16 4 2 0 0 0 6
2016 / 17 16 1 0 0 0 17
2017 / 18 12 1 1 3 0 17
2018/19 12 0 3 0 0 15
Total goals 81 4 8 10 0 103

3. Juan Mata is one of the best Chelsea midfielders ever

Juan Mata- One of the best Chelsea midfielders ever

Juan Mata joined Chelsea in 2011 from Valencia for £23.5 million. Mata would go onto to become the Chelsea Players Player of the year two seasons in a row for the club. Mata is widely regarded as one of the best Chelsea midfielders ever.

The Spaniard won the Champions league with Chelsea along with the FA Cup in 2011/12. The following season, Mata won the Europa League in 2012/13.

The Spaniard was an assist machine as he often set up goals for his Chelsea teammates. His ability to pick a pass was second-to-none.

His third season with the club was not so good however as Jose Mourinho arrived. Jose preferred Oscar as the number 10 as he prefers more defensive number 10’s. So Mata was frozen out, and was eventually sold to Manchester United.

Overall, Mata made 135 appearances and scored 35 goals.

Juan Mata’s goals by season

Season League F.A. Cup Lg Cup Europe Other Total goals
2011 / 12 6 4 0 2 0 12
2012 / 13 12 1 2 4 1 20
2013 / 14 0 0 1 0 0 1
Total goals 18 5 3 6 1 33

Juan Mata assists by season

Season League Europe FA Cup Total goals
2011/12 13 3 4 20
2012/13 12 8 1 21
2013/14 2 2
Total goals 27 11 5 43

4. Willian is one of the best right midfielders ever

Willian is one of the best Chelsea midfielders ever

Willian is one of the best right wingers at Chelsea ever. The Brazilian has got some flak in recent years by some Chelsea fans but on his day, Willian can be magical with the ball.

His dribbling prowess and way he can control the ball at his feet at top speed quite something.

The Brazilian has also scored a number of great goals for the club.

Willian’s goals by season for Chelsea

Season League F.A. Cup Lg Cup Europe Oth Total goals
2013 / 14 4 0 0 0 0 4
2014 / 15 2 1 0 1 0 4
2015 / 16 5 1 0 5 0 11
2016 / 17 8 4 0 0 0 12
2017 / 18 6 2 2 3 0 13
2018/19 3 2 0 2 0 7
Total goals 28 10 2 11 0 51
See also…

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