Club 50: Chelsea’s seven Premier League half-centurions
From the official Chelsea FC website:
The returning Diego Costa’s done it – but do you know which other Blues have reached a half century of goals in the Premier League?
Graham Potter’s side are back in top-flight action again today against a Wolves side who have a new striker in their ranks, someone we know very well here at Stamford Bridge.
During his three years with the club, Diego Costa won two Premier League titles and his goals played a big part in both triumphs, as he finished his time with the club having joined an elite group of players to pass the 50-goal mark in the competition.
Diego fell into a very specific category of striker, namely that of ‘defender’s worst nightmare’. Not only would he hassle and harry them every time the ball was played around at the back, he actively embraced all of football’s so-called dark arts to put them off their game any way he could.
But don’t let that distract from what an expert finisher he was, as he scored 52 Premier League goals in only 89 appearances in the competition. In each of his three seasons with the club he finished as our top scorer, and two of them ended with him getting his hands on the Premier League trophy, so he must have been doing something right.
Just above Diego Costa on 54 goals is a footballer who was the complete opposite in terms of personality. If the Brazilian-born forward was all fire and brimstone, Eidur Gudjohnsen was ice cold – and that ended up working perfectly in a strike partnership with a player who wasn’t far from Diego in terms of fieriness.
Everything Gudjohnsen did on a football pitch seemed to perfectly measured, whether it was the countless goals he laid on for his team-mates or the ice-cold finishes behind many a victory during six successful years in Blue between 2000 and 2006.
The pick of his 54 goals was undoubtedly the bicycle kick against Leeds United in 2003, which should be talked about more when it comes to the best strikes seen at the Bridge, and his best season was in 2001/02 when he netted 14 times.
Next up we’ve got Gianfranco Zola, who scored five more than Eidur to finish his Chelsea career with 59 Premier Leagues from 229 appearances. It might not seem the most prolific strike-rate but, let’s be honest, if you’re measuring the little Italian’s impact at the club by goals, football might not be the sport for you.
We’d never seen a player quite like him when he joined in 1996 and over the next seven years he brought so much joy – and scored plenty of spectacular goals, many of which came from free-kicks. Zola was loved by fans throughout the Premier League, always playing the game with a smile on his face, and the fact that he produced his best-ever season in 2002/03 with 14 goals when he turned 37 makes us love him even more.
It seems like the early 2000s was a good era for goalscorers, as we’ve got another from then next on the list with an impressive 69 goals from 136 appearances. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink is that man, and he will always be remembered fondly by Chelsea supporters of a certain vintage who had been crying out for a prolific goalscorer since the days of Kerry Dixon.
Jimmy certainly fitted the bill, banging in goals like it was nobody’s business – he scored 23 goals in each of his first two Premier League seasons with us, claiming the Golden Boot in the first of those campaigns. That he kept scoring against Tottenham over and over again certainly helped his status as a fan favourite.
It’s also worth noting, on a weekend when we face Wolves, that he once came off the bench to score a 13-minute hat-trick against them. It was some way to celebrate his 32nd birthday.
Much like Zola, Eden Hazard was known for his all-round brilliance and creativity as much as his goalscoring prowess, but he struck an impressive 85 times in the Premier League for Chelsea, including two seasons when he netted 16 goals.
Hazard actually ended up with 31 goals more than assists during his Premier League career and so many of them were dazzling efforts, most notably the Goal of the Season-winning efforts against Arsenal (solo special) and Tottenham Hotspur (precision personified).
The latter was the goal which confirmed Leicester City as Premier League champions and, rather uniquely, ensured Hazard had settled the title race in two straight seasons, as his goal against Crystal Palace the year before was a league-clincher.
We’re now onto the final two and it’s fair to say true Blues could probably stop reading here, as you should already know a) who they are and b) what they achieved here. Then again, we never tire of writing about these two legends, so read on…
Didier Drogba’s biggest moments for Chelsea tended to come in cup competitions, when the spotlight was at its brightest, but 104 goals in 254 Premier League appearance is not to be sniffed at. And they were all types of goals: bullet headers, poacher’s finishes from inside the box, world-class finishes from outside the box. You name it, Didier could score it.
He won the Premier League Golden Boot twice, the second of which helped us to win the title in 2009/10 as part of our first league and FA Cup ‘Double’ and he was the first African player to hit a century of goals in the competition.
Top of the list, way out in front on a whopping 147 goals, is Frank Lampard. He finished with 211 in all competitions for the Blues to become our all-time leading scorer (although his tally of 147 isn’t the most in league matches – that record belongs to Bobby Tambling) and he can lay claim to being Chelsea’s greatest-ever player.
How does a midfielder score 22 goals in one season, which Lamps did in 2009/10? How does a midfielder get himself into the top-six Premier League scorers of all time? The rulebook, quite simply, was ripped up by Lampard during a quite remarkable career.
On top of the consistent excellence, our legendary No.8 also has his iconic Premier League moment, after scoring a brace up at Bolton to secure our first top-flight championship in 50 years.
All that’s left is to look at whether anyone else has come close to 50 Premier League goals for the Blues. Well, the next highest scorer on the list is a centre-back, a certain captain, leader, legend. John Terry netted an incredible haul of 41 goals, which is a record for a defender – and not one of them was a penalty.
After JT there’s a few more conventional names to round out our top 10 scorers in the English top flight. Nicolas Anelka managed 38, Willian hit 37 and then the trio of Salomon Kalou, John Spencer and Gustavo Poyet all reached 36.
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