Chelsea's 5 Greatest Wingers
What makes a good wing man? It's an issue Tom Cruise raised in the 1980s classic Top Gun, but when Bleacher Report ponders the issue in the 21st century, we're thinking about a wing man of a different variety, not jumped-up Air Force pilots such as Val Kilmer's Iceman.
Throughout the history of football, wingers have been the creative heartbeat of teams, feeding their more glamorous teammates up front with the ammunition to score goals and win championships.
Some bring raw pace, while others provide a bags of tricks or the ability to land the ball on a sixpence with their talent for whipping in a cross. Whatever it is, though, a winger is essential to any team's success, and Chelsea have had their fair share of gifted stars to fill the position over the years.
Sit back as Bleacher Report counts down our five favorite Blues wingers.
5. Clive Walker
That Clive Walker remains a crowd favorite at Stamford Bridge speaks volumes for the ability he possessed on the pitch.
He spent nine years in West London from 1975 to 1984, when the club struggled for stability as the threat of financial ruin took hold.
It was a torrid time indeed, yet men like Walker ensured Blues fans still had something to smile about in an otherwise tough era.
He played with all the grace of the star occupying his spot now, Eden Hazard. Walker's 65 goals in 224 appearances showed he was equally dangerous in front of goal as he was out on the wing.
He just didn't score goals, either. He scored golazos by the dozen and pearlers that would make the list of any Chelsea poll of the club's greatest.
4. Arjen Robben
Arjen Robben offered pace, trickery and an end product when he was feeling up to it. He certainly possessed a dangerous arsenal during his three years at Chelsea.
Currently plying his trade at Bayern Munich, the Dutch ace still has a lethal repertoire, but he made his name on the big state at Chelsea after arriving from PSV Eindhoven for around £12 million in 2004.
Before he was crowned a European champion with Bayern last term, he won back-to-back Premier League titles under Jose Mourinho and formed a big part of the club's brief domination of English football.
His partnership with Damien Duff was as deadly as they came at the time, and Chelsea were a frightening prospect with the pair in the lineup.
Robben departed for Real Madrid in 2007. Although his time at Stamford Bridge soured somewhat as it came to an end, Blues fans still have fond memories of him terrorizing defenders across the continent.
3. Damien Duff
Costing Chelsea £17 million from Blackburn Rovers in the summer of 2003, Irishman Damien Duff was one of the first players to arrive at Stamford Bridge under owner Roman Abramovich.
He had long been sought after by a host of clubs in his youth. Manchester United were known admirers of his talents.
Abramovich's riches eventually tempted the then 24-year-old away from Ewood Park, however, and Chelsea were glad he joined the club's revolution.
Arjen Robben arrived the following summer, and the pair wasted little time in creating one of the Premier League's finest-ever wing combinations.
With or without Robben by his side, though, Duff was a fine player in Chelsea blue. While his record transfer fee has since been surpassed on numerous occasions, he played like a man worthy of his price tag and is one of the modern greats to have passed through Stamford Bridge.
He was a truly fine player.
2. Pat Nevin
From one Celt to another, Pat Nevin was a hero at Stamford Bridge in the 1980s.
Truly one of the people, he often used London Underground's District Line to travel to home matches, rubbing shoulders with the very people who were paying to see his talents on display.
Chelsea fans often got a treat where he was concerned, too.
Known for being a deep thinker and intelligent man away from football, he was equally clever on the pitch, demonstrating an array of skills not overly witnessed in West London at the time.
He joined from Clyde in 1983—the same year as fellow legend Kerry Dixon—but while the Chelsea No. 9 grabbed many of the headlines on account of his goalscoring exploits, Nevin's talents were rarely forgotten.
He was majestic, and 13 years after his retirement, he remains a class apart as a football pundit. He still entices fans with the very magic from his playing days but from the comfort of a studio sofa instead.
Watch Nevin in action in this YouTube clip.
1. Charlie Cooke
One of the abiding memories of that great Chelsea team from the 1960s and 1970s is Peter Osgood's diving header to equalize in the 1970 FA Cup final replay against Leeds United.
It was exquisite, outlining just why "Ossie" was so loved along the King's Road.
Osgood knew he was a great goalscorer for Chelsea, but he also knew players like Charlie Cooke gave him the opportunity to score such wonderful goals.
Indeed, Cooke made that FA Cup final goal possible when he switched play in midfield before delivering an inch-perfect cross for his teammate to level the game.
Like the others on our list of great Chelsea wingers, moments such as that were common for Cooke during his eight years—split over two spells—of plying his trade in West London.
The Scot was direct, but he had the skill to evade his marker with ease and was one of the most feared wide men in England throughout his career.
He played at a time when defenders such as Norman Hunter and his own teammate Ron "Chopper" Harris reigned supreme in football. They were given licence by lenient officials to leave a mark of their own on the opposition.
For some, that physical approach hindered their ability to create but not Cooke. He was made of tougher stuff, and while it's perhaps unfair to compare players from different generations, the thought of a man with Cooke's attributes in the modern game is a mouth-watering prospect.
Watch Cooke in action in the 1970 FA Cup final here.