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They’ve played for both teams: 10 Chelsea-Arsenal turncoats

Football, ultimately, is a game of disappointment.

And even your biggest heroes will, eventually, rip your heart out.

This weekend, Chelsea take on Arsenal in the lunchtime kick-off so why not revisit those unfaithful b**tards who swanned from one side of London to the other without so much as a second thought.

Ladies and gentlemen, the turncoats.

1 Emmanuel Petit (Arsenal 1997-2000 & Chelsea 2001-04)

8 Jul 1997:  Emmanuel Petit of Arsenal in action during the pre-season friendly against St. Albans in St. Albans, England.  Mandatory Credit: Ben Radford /Allsport



He’s blond, he’s quick, his name’s a porno flick, Emmanuel

Arsenal fans

Petit was very much the symbol of Wenger’s French revolution in the late 90s, so Gunners fans felt understandably duped when he pitched up at Stamford Bridge in 2001, just a year after leaving them for Barcelona. They had the last laugh, though, as Petit’s Chelsea lost to the Gunners in that season’s FA Cup final. Pure karma.

2 Nicolas Anelka (Arsenal 1997-9 & Chelsea 2008-12)Nicolas Anelka

We’re not quite sure who has the moral claim on Le Sulk? He played for the Gunners first and help fire them to their famous double of 1997-98 but you might be surprised to read he actually played more games, scored more goals and won more trophies at Stamford Bridge. Weird, non?


3 William Gallas (2001-06 & 2006-2010)

William Gallas


Gallas actually went directly from Chelsea to Arsenal, when he was bundled in as part of the Axis of Evil swap deal that saw Ashley Cole move in the opposite direction. Both sets of fans probably look back on his time with them with equal bemusement; he threatened to score own goals at the Bridge and staged an infamous one-man, sit-in protest on the pitch with the Gunners. Sack the PR team, William.


4 Lassana Diarra (Chelsea 2005-07 & Arsenal 2007-08)Lassana DiarraDiarra probably isn’t going to top a hall of fame at either club any time soon. Nor even make it on to a commemorative tea-towel. He spent two seasons at Chelsea where he promised much but delivered little, before an ill-fated, three-month spell at Arsenal where he was ousted from the team by Mathieu Flamini. Nuff said.

5 George Graham (Chelsea 1964-66 & Arsenal 1966-72)

George Graham


Graham played football in England when men were men and the best of those men were Scottish. Part of an iconic Chelsea 60s team including Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris and Peter Osgood, he jumped ship to Highbury in 1966 for £75,000 – roughly £6.7 trillion in today’s money – and has since passed into Gunners folklore and player, manager, and crooked geezer who took bungs for transfer deals.

6 Yossi Benayoun (Chelsea 2010-13 & Arsenal 2011-12 LOAN)



Never go to a festival with Yossi Benayoun – the tail-end of his career was essentially a four-year comedown. He was already pushing it with a move to Chelsea in 2010, with his best days were well behind him, so we don’t know what he was playing at with his swansong at Arsenal. Nobody remembers anything about either spell … because NOTHING happened.

7 Clive Allen (Arsenal 1980 & Chelsea 1991-92)


He paints himself as Mr. Spurs, but Clive ‘Give Me A Microphone And I’ll Report From Anywhere’ Allen actually played for Arsenal first. OK, he didn’t play. He joined for £1.25 million in 1980, never set foot on the pitch, and then legged it to Crystal Palace in … 1980. Later he scored seven goals in 16 games for Chelsea but a quick look through his CV tells you this guy will turn it on for pretty much anyone.

8 Tommy Docherty (Arsenal 1958-61 & Chelsea 1961-2)

Tommy DochertyAh, The Doc. The Scottish firebrand remains the first, and only, manager in the history of Manchester United football club (as far as we know) to have been sacked for having it away with the physio’s wife. He also had spells as a player for Arsenal and Chelsea, which is why he’s on this list, but that’s just not as interesting.



9 Petr Cech (Chelsea 2004-2015 & Arsenal 2015- )Petr Cech

Be honest Chelsea fans, this was a real kick in the nuts, right? It may not have started well for Cech at Arsenal – West Ham anyone? – but speculation abounds that the Cech deal was what kick-started Jose Mourinho’s eternal funk this season and, therefore, however indirectly, the Chelsea legend is sort of responsible for The Blues terrible start to the season. Or something.

10 Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal 2003-11 & Chelsea 2014 – )

Chelsea's Spanish midfielder Cesc Fabregas gestures during the UEFA Champions League, group G, football match between Chelsea and Maccabi Tel Aviv at Stamford Bridge in London on September 16, 2015.    AFP PHOTO / GLYN KIRK        (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)


Arsenal fans involuntarily spit bile at the very mention of his name. Which is a tad unfair given that he’d undergone his own “personal hell” – i.e. a reasonably successfull spell – at Barcelona. The Blues offered him a lifeline and the Premier League title he never won at Arsenal. Oh yeah, that’s what really gets those Gunners.