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3 Players Chelsea Have Had Instant Success With

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Chelsea Title Celebrations 2014/15

Chelsea Fan Chants

The Premier League can be an unforgiving division. The level of competition in England has always been quite high. Players who come in from abroad know this more than anyone else. It’s quite a difficult league to get adjusted to, as it requires incredible pace and strength in equal if not similar levels. Many players have found it hard to acclimatise to the rigours of the Premier League.

First of all, not every player can cut it out in the Premier League. The players’ skill levels and understanding of the game of football need to be at an all-time-high if they desire to make the move to English football’s top tier league. Chelsea are a club that have always invested heavily on foreign-based players and here are 3 players who hit the ground running soon after their arrival –

Gianfranco Zola

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The Italian forward was only 5’6 but had the heart of a giant. He signed for Chelsea in November 1996, from Italian club Parma for 4.5 million pounds. He quickly became a fan’s favourite at Chelsea owing to his extraordinary skills and abilities. Zola was a key player in Chelsea’s resurgent season of 1996/97.

In his debut season at Chelsea, the little Italian scored 12 goals in 30 appearances in what was an exceptional start. Other foreign players usually tended to take more time to adjust to the Premier League’s ways, but Zola was of a different class altogether. He was instrumental in Chelsea’s FA cup success that season, having scored 4 goals en route to the final at Wembley that year. For his efforts, he was the FWA (Football Writer’s Association) Player of the Year, the only ever player to have won it without playing a full season in the English league. He also became the first Chelsea player to win it.

Petr Cech

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The year 2004 saw a lot of wholesome changes at Chelsea football club. The change of ownership was pretty prominent, also the arrival of Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho was considered a big coup at the time. Chelsea’s then manager Claudio Ranieri brought in Czech republican Petr Cech from Stade Rennes for 7 million pounds. Chelsea went onto new heights from that season onwards – under Mourinho – and Cech played a huge role in that.

Aged only 22, Cech kept three clean sheets in his first three games and seven in the opening eight matches of the season. Young goalkeepers usually take time to get adjusted in the Premier League, but Cech took the PL like a fish to water as he thoroughly enjoyed his first season the Premier League. It was a season which ended in a title success and also with him being awarded the ‘Golden Glove’ for keeping the maximum number of clean sheets that season, 21. No keeper has had 21 shut-outs since then, which speaks volumes about the current Arsenal goalie.

Juan Mata

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The Spaniard playmaker was making headlines in his homeland with Valencia, before the widespread interest in him began to crop up. There were several clubs chasing him, but ultimately the Blues then managed by Andre-Vilas Boas won the race for the then 23-year-old. He impressed soon as he netted on his debut against Norwich in a 3-1 Chelsea win.

More accolades followed for Mata, as he was instrumental in Chelsea’s FA cup and Champions League victories. In all, he finished with 6 goals and 13 assists. All this saw the fans taking him quite affectionately and one can understand why. Mata is a soft player who likes to let his football do the talking and always gets on with his job.

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