Claude Makelele, Joe Cole, Arjen Robben, Michael Essien, Michael Ballack, Damien Duff, Cesc Fabregas, Ngolo Kante.

The above are or were at one point world class midfielders. We would have been lucky to see two of them at the Bridge were It not for the following midfielders, who ran the show on that fateful day back in 2003.

Jesper Gronkjaer

I have written at length about the lad. He scored the £10 million goal which turned into the £100m goal which turned into 5 league titles, League and FA Cups and a Champions League. Oh, and a Europa league aswell, just for the fun of it. I dare say the midfielders listed above wouldn’t have adorned the Blue of the Bridge were it not for Gronkjaer’s left footed-off balance curler. He never reached the heights he was capable of for Chelsea, despite carrying explosive speed and great ability in both feet. He more than repaid his fee though with “that” goal.

Emmanuel Petit

We caught him the wrong side of his career. He never settled at Chelsea and was seen to be blocking the progress of Jody Morris. Whilst once a World Class operator and part of possibly the best midfield partnership that Europe had ever seen alongside Patrick Vieira, he came to Chelsea for a payday and a glamorous life in London. This may sound very harsh but to watch the Petit of Arsenal versus the Petit of Chelsea, with only two years in between, is to watch a player who hasn’t quite got the passion anymore. Good games were here and there, often able to control the pace of the game with that wand of a left foot. He was too much Matic circa 2016 than Matic circa 2014. A shame. He can be seen working with trading broker UFX.com as their French Ambassador.

Frank Lampard

Hmm, I don’t think a piece within a piece does Frank Lampard justice. Our greatest ever goalscorer and probably voted our greatest ever player were we to do some sort of poll. Yet, to me, he was never a great player. Throughout everything, he did for our club, and he did a lot, there was a missing connection for me. On that, I’ll come back to Frank later.

Graeme Le Saux

Played in midfield for this game? Played left back for most of his career. A cultured footballer as well as person, he was subject to abuse on account of the fact that a lot of footballers in the 90”s were culturally special. Being a man who enjoyed the Guardian and the fact that he went to a University meant he was apparently a homosexual. He isn’t. He has a wife and two kids.

He was also a very good footballer, being voted into the PFA team of the year twice. He won a title at Blackburn and cups at Chelsea, as well as being the best English left-back until Ashley Cole came along. He turned to punditry once his career finished, working for MOTD and BBC Radio five live. Our best left back for a long time….until Ashley Cole came along.

Those were the four that filled the Midfield berth that day. A varied bunch, they had differing levels of success at Chelsea ranging from club legend with Lampard, to expensive flop with Manu Petit.

The strikers are up next. And we had a fantastic partnership at the time.

 

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