Arsenal vs Chelsea: History Of The Iconic Rivalry Explained

Arsenal vs Chelsea: History Of The Iconic Rivalry Explained

There have been fewer derbies over the course of Arsenal history that have been quite as bitter and as hotly-contested as their rivalry with fellow London club Chelsea.

Both the Gunners and the Blues have had some spectacular players in the past – Arsenal have boasted talents such as Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry and Bukayo Saka, while Chelsea have had players including Gianfranco Zola, Arjen Robben and Didier Drogba.

Upon the takeover of Roman Abramovich in 2003, the rivalry between the two clubs escalated from a local derby into something much more visceral – for a period, they were the two top teams in the country.

Since then, and indeed before then, the London rivals have battled against each other in some titanic clashes including 3 classic games between Arsenal and Chelsea – but, to begin, let’s take a look at the first time the two teams met.

When was the first game between Arsenal and Chelsea?

The first competitive game between Arsenal and Chelsea took place all the way back in 1907 at Stamford Bridge – reportedly, the fixture attracted a crowd of 65,000.

Chelsea were the winners on the day – George Hilsdon scored a brace, with a goal coming in each half. The Gunners fought back late on with a strike from George Satterthwaite, but were unable to level the scores before the game reached its end [via].

The first time the two teams met in a European competition came almost a century later, during the 2003/04 season – this also took place during Arsenal’s famous ‘Invincibles’ Premier League campaign.

The first leg, which took place at Stamford Bridge, ended in a 1-1 draw – Eidur Gudjohnsen opened the scoring, only for his effort to be cancelled out six minutes later by Robert Pires.

The second leg took place at Highbury, with Arsenal entering as the favourites. Jose Reyes opened the scoring to put Arsenal in the driver’s seat, but second half goals from Frank Lampard and Wayne Bridge saw the Blues snatch victory on the Gunners’ own turf.

What were the biggest wins for each team?

Arsenal’s biggest win over their blue rivals came in 1930, as they swept aside Chelsea by a wide scoreline of 5-1 at Stamford Bridge. David Jack scored a hat-trick for the Gunners, as Joey Williams and Jack Lambert netted individual efforts – Chelsea’s sole response came through a penalty kick from Thomas Law.

Meanwhile, Chelsea’s biggest win over Arsenal came far more recently – it was also a wider scoreline. In 2014, on during Arsene Wenger’s 1000th game in charge of the Gunners, Chelsea demolished Arsenal by a score of 6-0.

Samuel Eto’o and Andre Schurrle put Chelsea 2-0 up before the ten-minute mark – things went bad to worse for Arsenal soon after this, as Kieran Gibbs was sent off. The game also featured a confusing referee mistake – despite Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain handling the ball in the area, it was Gibbs who received his marching orders.

Eden Hazard then dispatched the following penalty to make it 3-0. Oscar went on to score a brace, as Mohamed Salah put the cherry on top to give Jose Mourinho’s team the big win.

Arsenal vs Chelsea: who are the top goalscorers in the fixture?

The top goalscorer in the Arsenal vs Chelsea derby is Didier Drogba – in total, the towering Ivorian scored a total of 13 goals for the Blues against their rivals.

As for Arsenal, the Gunners’ top goalscorer in this fixture is Thierry Henry. All in all, Henry netted 10 goals against Chelsea in competitive fixtures.

The third-highest goalscorer in the North West London derby is Ian Wright, who found the back of the net on nine occasions against the Blues in competitive derby fixtures.

Arsenal vs Chelsea: which team has won the most trophies?

Overall, Arsenal have won more major honours than their London rivals, but the Blues have won more trophies over the last few seasons. Additionally, while the Gunners have never won the Champions League, Chelsea have collected Europe’s top prize on two occasions – once in 2012, with their second coming in 2021.

On top of this, Arsenal have never won the Europa League, while Chelsea, again, have collected this trophy twice. They won their first Europa League in 2013, but the second was far more notable – funnily enough, they defeated Arsenal to win it.

It was a dominant display from Chelsea, as they defeated their rivals by a score of 4-1. After a goalless first half, former Arsenal star Olivier Giroud opened the scoring for the Blues in the 49th minute.

Pedro then made it 2-0 soon after, with Eden Hazard scoring once again with a penalty. Alex Iwobi tried to spark an unlikely comeback as he found the back of the net on the 69th minute, but Eden Hazard responded just three minutes later to put a bow on Chelsea’s victory.

In total, Arsenal have won the First Division/Premier League on 13 occasions, while Chelsea have won just 6. Likewise, Arsenal have 14 FA Cups to their name, more than any other club, while Chelsea have won England’s top domestic cup 8 times.

The Blues have won the League Cup more times than Arsenal have – they have 5 to their name, while the Gunners have just the two.

Which players have featured for both teams?

There are a slew of players that have played for both Arsenal and Chelsea – perhaps the most notable is former England international Ashley Cole, who sparked outrage from the Gunners massive when he made the jump to Stamford Bridge in 2006. Ahead of his move there was the whole tapping up affair, where Jose Mourinho and Chelsea were found guilty of making an unsanctioned approach to Ashley Cole after they met in a London hotel to discuss a transfer.

Meanwhile, Blues legend Petr Cech attracted a modicum of chagrin from Chelsea fans when he joined Arsenal in 2015, after spending 11 years with the West London outfit.

The full list of players who have turned out for both clubs is as follows: Sandy MacFarlane, Jimmy Sharp, Leslie Knighton, Bob Turnbull, Ted Drake, Tommy Docherty, Allan Young, Tommy Baldwin, Graham Rix, Clive Allen, Peter Nicholas, David Rocastle, Emmanuel Petit, Nicolas Anelka, Ashley Cole, Cesc Fabregas, Olivier Giroud, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Tommy Lawton, Bill Dickson, George Graham, John Hollins, Stewart Houston, Alan Hudson, Colin Pates, William Gallas, Lassana Diarra, Yossi Benayoun, Petr Cech, David Luiz, Willian, Jorginho and Kai Havertz.

Jimmy Johnson

Jimmy Johnson

I have worked for NationalWorld since August 2021 - before then, I was a freelance journalist, writing for numerous publications. From 2023, I have been a part of the ever-growing NationalWorld Sports Network.