Arsenal vs Chelsea: Premier League stars ranked from 'not good enough' to 'world-class'

  • Kobe Tong
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Arsenal vs Chelsea in the Premier League has never looked stranger.

While Frank Lampard's men are hoping to graduate from Champions League qualifiers to title contenders, some would argue that the Gunners will do well to avoid dropping down to the Championship.

It's an astonishing situation when you consider that Arsenal were flying high as recently as the summer, winning the FA Cup by defeating Chelsea in the final and adding the Community Shield for good measure.

Arsenal's struggles

But fast-forward to December and supporters wouldn't be surprised if Chelsea ran riot at Emirates Stadium with their London rivals having failed to win a league game at home since October 4.

In that time, Mikel Arteta has watched his team slump to defeats against Leicester City, Aston Villa, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Burnley as well as to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup.

However, what makes this contrast all the more bizarre is that Chelsea and Arsenal squads aren't as different as the Premier League table would have you think - and that's something we wanted to explore.

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Comparing Arsenal and Chelsea

Ahead of a clash between two of the division's greatest ever clubs at wildly different points in their progression, we've decided to use Tiermaker to compare how their 2020/21 squads shape up.

Deploying tiers ranking from 'not good enough' to 'world-class', we've sifted through the majority of both sides' first-team options, though a few outsiders have been left out so things don't get out of hand.

But without further ado, you can check out our selections down below and imagine where you'd rank the ranging rabbles at Arsenal and Chelsea:

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Not good enough

Marcos Alonso

Kepa Arrizabalaga

Shkodran Mustafi

Sead Kolašinac

No disrespect to any of these players, because they're fantastic on their day, but we suspect plenty of Arsenal and Chelsea fans would be advising that these four are penned on the transfer list.

The Blues have improved no end since dropping Kepa and Alonso for two signings who feature much higher, while Kolašinac and Mustafi have consistency proven that their defensive reliability isn't up to scratch.

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Disappointing

Kai Havertz

Callum Hudson-Odoi

Nicolas Pepe

Callum Chambers

Granit Xhaka

Reiss Nelson

Willian 

Alexandre Lacazette

We can't get too ahead of ourselves at this early stage with Havertez, but there's equally no denying that he's flattered to deceive in the Premier League, much like Pepe and his head-scratching £72 million price tag.

Meanwhile, Willian has proven to be a disastrous transfer for Arsenal so far with just one league shot on target and Xhaka's disciplinary problems haven't been worth his lesser-spotted class on the pitch.

Hudson-Odoi and Nelson both have bundles of talent, but we can't be alone in thinking that they should have kicked on more under Arteta and Lampard amidst greater game-time for younger players.

And while Chambers and Lacazette have by no means been outright poor during their Arsenal careers, 'disappointing' feels like a fitting word one signing that promised long-term potential and another a deluge of goals.

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Middle of the road

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Andreas Christensen

Hector Bellerin

David Luiz

Eddie Nketiah

Rob Holding

Mohamed Elneny

Sokratis Papastathopoulos

Joe Willock

Yeh... so, you'll notice that Arsenal players somewhat dominate this tier, which is to be expected considering their woeful season, as Christensen - who never leaves us convinced - represents the Blues alone.

By way of Luiz looking world-class one second and Sunday League the next, we figured the middle seemed about fair, while Bellerin's decline from one of the Premier League's top full-backs has been tough to watch.

Yes, Holding is much better than Sokatris, but we've still not seen enough consistency to boost him up to 'decent' and Elneny, who is fast running out of steam, gets the benefit of the doubt for a strong start to the season.

Then we've got the young bunch of Nketiah, Willock and Maitland-Niles who have done a decent job so far without necessarily giving us enough reasons to think they're guaranteed to be future stars.

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Decent

Jorginho

Antonio Rudiger

Dani Ceballos

Kieran Tierney

Mateo Kovacic

The Arsenal pair are at two ends of the spectrum here: we've probably been a tad kind to Ceballos due to his raw ability, whereas Tierney arguably deserves a higher tier for his battling performances.

In the middle, we have the midfield duo of Jorginho and Kovacic, who have been on quite the ride since moving to Stamford Bridge, with both flitting between world-class displays and disappearing into the ether.

Then there's Rudiger who, despite not getting the backing from Lampard that you'd expect, has long since proven his pedigree as a defender worthy of his place in the upper echelons of the Premier League.

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Underrated

Olivier Giroud

Tammy Abraham

Giroud being underrated speaks for itself because even Lampard is guilty of it and when have you heard Abraham getting his due praise for being Chelsea's top goalscorer last season? Not enough, that's when.

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Classy operator

Gabriel

Cesar Azpilicueta

Reece James

Gabriel Martinelli

Mason Mount

Thomas Partey

Hakim Ziyech

Christian Pulisic

Bukayo Saka

We're certainly not here to claim that Mount has the same raw ability of Pulisic and Ziyech, but his greater consistency in a Chelsea shirt, boasting 16 Premier League goal contributions at age 21, levels him up.

In Martinelli and Saka, Arsenal have themselves two of the Premier League's most talented young players with the former being called 'Talent of the Century' and boasting 10 goals despite the club's plight.

Azpilicueta is one of the greatest defenders the Premier League has ever seen and arguably its strongest leader right now, while Gabriel has shown that he can become a world-class player in north London.

Similarly, James has come on leaps and bounds as one of the division's most rounded full-backs and although it's too early to judge Partey too much, his early Arsenal displays have been indicative of his class.

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One of the Prem's best

Ben Chilwell

Edouard Mendy

Bernd Leno

Mesut Ozil

Kurt Zouma

Timo Werner

Forget about the miss compilations for a second and remember that Werner is up there with Europe's deadliest strikers as well as boasting eight goals and five assists in a blue jersey already - not so bad, huh?

Zouma has been one of the Premier League's standout performers of 2020/21, even racking up four goals, while Chilwell has hit the ground running in west London with five goal contributions from left-back.

We might be getting a little ahead of ourselves with Mendy, sure, but his early slew of clean sheets suggest he can rub shoulders with Leno as one of the best shot-stoppers in the division.

And Ozil??? Uh huh, for all his inconsistency and not even making Arsenal's first-team squad, we didn't have it within us to nudge one of the most naturally-gifted footballers in the entire sport any lower than his.

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World-class

N'Golo Kante

Thiago Silva

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Yes, you hear me right: Aubameyang, who is valued at £36 million, really is world-class. Sure, his 2020/21 form has been pretty shocking, but four months doesn't unravel the status of a bonafide goalscorer with a Premier League Golden Boot.

Elsewhere, Silva has already established himself as one of the Premier League's best centre-backs off the back of a Champions League final and 2020 was the year that Kante rediscovered his world-class peak.

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A huge game for both

Do you agree? Do you think I've lost the plot? Who knows, maybe both are true.

Perhaps I've been a little sentimental with some of my picks - I imagine Aubameyang and Ozil's finishes will raise a few eyebrows - but it's important that we don't just consider immediate form when assessing players.

Besides, stranger things have happened than Aubameyang, for all his woes during 2020/21, rediscovering the form that established him as one of Europe's finest strikers in time for the Chelsea clash.

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Either way, though, it's Chelsea's game to lose and the only upside for Arsenal is that their form has been so horrendous that, frankly, there's next to no expectations on them anymore. How times change...

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