Former Chelsea Players That Have Been Missed

With the season on hold due to the coronavirus and Euro 2020 postponed to the following summer, football fans have extra time on their hands. They can dwell on the dark times we are in or stay positive. For Chelsea fans, reminiscing about players and titles from seasons past can help forget about the issues we face ahead.

Some of those players have been supremely missed at Stamford Bridge. Maybe at the time, they didn’t receive the appreciation or recognition they deserved.

Three Former Chelsea Players That Have Been Sorely Missed 

Players like Didier Drogba, John Terry, Frank Lampard, and Eden Hazard will live on as legends forever, of course. But some others probably won’t even though they should. Let’s start thinking about them now.

Diego Costa

Costa spent three polarizing years leading the line for the Blues from 2014-17. And yes, polarizing is the correct word because while he scored 58 goals and dished out 24 assists, he had a dark side.

Known as a ‘hot head’, teams targeted Costa routinely to rile him up and hopefully get him booked and sent off. And it worked. The Brazil-born Spaniard received 30 yellow cards for Chelsea as well as one red, which came from a second yellow card.

Costa became a liability, that too often he’d succumb to the opponent’s agitations and explode, leading to bookings. He then, of course, either had to play more cautiously, caused Chelsea to go down to ten men, or missed the next game(s) through suspension. That really turned me off to him.

Scoring goals, some of which were match-winning, and dishing out assists made him a key man for Chelsea. But did they outweigh the flip side he brought to the team? Then-manager Antonio Conte certainly didn’t as he sent him packing after the 2016/17 title-winning season via text message.

When Conte kicked him to the curb, many thought Costa’s departure wouldn’t hurt Chelsea. Hell, Real Madrid and Juventus forward Alvaro Morata was coming in to replace him, “Chelsea will be fine.”

Morata, Michy Batshuayi, Gonzalo Higuain, and others have failed to replace Costa in recent seasons and because of it, the love and appreciation for him has never been higher. Costa’s goals, assists, hold up play, grit, determination, and even some of those hot-headed moments have been sorely missed up front.

Oscar

“Oh, wow! You’re a Chelsea supporter too?” a customer asked a few years ago at work. He was a Chelsea fan too, season ticket holder no less, in the US on a business trip. And we took a couple minutes to talk about the season – who was playing well, whether Chelsea would go on to win the title.

This was the fall of 2014, Jose Mourinho’s second year back in charge. It was the year now-manager Frank Lampard scored a late equaliser to get a point for Manchester City against the Blues. So, yes, they did go on to win the title. The League Cup too, in fact.

And when the customer asked about a favorite player, the answer was simple. Oscar. Easily his best season at Chelsea, fitting so well into the attack, the Brazilian racked up seven goals and nine assists across all competitions, connecting with Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa game after game in 2014/15.

It was arguably the best year of his career, at 23 and entering his prime, Oscar won two trophies in the same season as a professional for the first time in his career. Chelsea were thriving for a second time under Mourinho and the Brazilian playmaker was a driving force.

That season capped off an impressive run for the rising star at the time. He played an integral role in Brazil’s 2013 Confederations Cup win on home soil as well as the 2014 World Cup run to the semifinals, although that ended with the infamous 7-1 shellacking by Germany.

With both club and country Oscar was rocketing up, to the joy of Chelsea fans everywhere. That Oscar, 2013-15 version of him back, would be welcomed back in this Chelsea squad because they could use some attacking spark, whenever the league gets back up and running.

Branislav Ivanovic

What more can you say about a man that won three Premier Leagues, three FA Cups, a League Cup, the Europa League, and Champions League? You could add that even as a defender, he chipped in with some goals and assists, 34 of each in almost a decade with Chelsea.

Ivanovic won it all with Chelsea as he became one of the first names on the team sheet every weekend for nearly a decade. The Serb was a reliable performer at right-back in the Premier League and did the same in the air. It did not matter if he wanted to score or clear a header, very rarely did anyone beat Ivanovic.

Every Chelsea manager, and Ivanovic went through quite a few, could depend on him. The right-back made 50 appearances in all competitions for eight years in a row at Stamford Bridge, defining the term “model of consistency.”

At the moment, Lampard is not searching for right-backs, as Reece James and Cesar Azpilicueta have split time there this season. But it was Ivanovic that kept current Chelsea captain Azpilcueta out of position at left-back for several years. That’s how good Ivanovic was.

From his experience at the highest levels to his leadership as captain of club and country, Ivanovic would do wonders for the dressing room at his age now, 36. In his prime and at his peak physically, no one could match him. Perhaps Reece James will be his own version of unplayable at right-back both defensively and offensively in the future. Ivanovic, though, did it first and did it well and should be remembered for it.

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