PREMIER LEAGUE

Only 4 Chelsea strikers have beaten the 'number 9' curse in 30 years

Of the 16 players to have worn the jersey number 9 for Chelsea in the 30 years of Premier League history, only four have not totally flopped.

Gianluca Vialli and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink are two of the four strikers who beat Chelsea's number 9 curse

Chelsea Football Club have a long history in the Premier League with their number 9 jersey and the majority of it is not good at all, precisely 75% of it actually.

Of the 16 players to have worn the number nine for Chelsea in the last 30 years, 12 have been certified flops while only four had a semblance of success.

Only four players have managed to evade the curse, two succeeded outrightly while the other two did just about enough to avoid the flop tag.

South African striker Mark Stein was on the books of Chelsea for five years but spent his last two seasons on loan at Stoke City and Ipswich Town.

He wore the number nine shirt and scored 14 goals in 24 games in his first season, a respectable return, followed by 11 goals in 30 games the next season.

Stein played for the club between 1993 and 1996 and finished with 25 goals in 63 games, just about enough to avoid the flop tag, immortalising himself as one of those who defied the curse.

The Italian striker achieved success at Chelsea as a player and then as a coach, scoring 40 goals in 88 games across three seasons despite functioning as a player-coach in the 1998/99 season.

Vialli led Chelsea to three trophies as the number nine, one FA Cup, one League Cup and one UEFA Cup Winners Cup which was a big deal for the club before the Roman Abramovich era.

Statistically speaking, Dutch striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink is the most successful number 9 in Chelsea's 30-year-long Premier League history as he scored far more goals than any other Chelsea number nine.

Hasselbaink had four good years at Stamford Bridge, returning 87 goals in 177 appearances across all competitions for Chelsea between 2000 and 2004.

If ever there was a curse, it never affected Hasselbaink who has a solid career even though he never won anything with Chelsea and left just as Jose Mourinho arrived to usher in the successful years.

After Hasselbaink left in 2004, it would take Chelsea 15 years to see another decent number 9 after nine different players had consecutively worn the jersey and failed to live up to any expectations.

Tammy Abraham was handed the jersey in 2019 after a good loan spell at Aston Villa the season before, the young man now had to lead the line at Chelsea who were dealing with a transfer ban at the time.

Necessity proved to be the mother of invention once again as Abraham netted 18 goals in his debut season to help clinch a crucial top-four spot.

He followed with 12 goals the next season but was ultimately undone by the sacking of Frank Lampard, his replacement Thomas Tuchel didn't fancy Abraham and the striker was eventually sold to Roma.

Abraham wasn't a success at Stamford Bridge but he wasn't a flop either and it's rather telling that no Chelsea player has matched his 18-goal haul in the 2019/20 season.

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