Michael Owen and Joe Cole believe Chelsea are a far more appealing proposition for potential signings than Arsenal – despite the Blues’ recent struggles.
Maurizio Sarri’s side responded to Sunday’s 6-0 mauling at the hands of Manchester City by defeating Malmo 2-1 in the first leg of their Europa Leg last-32 tie.
Arsenal meanwhile fell to a shock 1-0 defeat to minnows BATE Borisov of Belarus.
For BT Sport pundits Michael Owen and Joe Cole, while the Blues have been under the spotlight of late, it is the west London club that still has more to offer, both in terms of squad strength and the potential for success.
Owen said: ‘Chelsea and Arsenal are virtually mirror image.
‘They’re on the same points in the Premier League, on the same goal difference in the Premier League, and in the same round of the Europa League. It’s pretty much a level playing field, but which team would you prefer to play for?
‘Which team do you look at and go, wow what player, good team? Everyone says Chelsea are under a big cloud, but I’d prefer Chelsea every day of the week over Arsenal.’
Cole added: ‘Because the expectation is that they (Chelsea) have always got to be there (competing for titles), which Chelsea have been for the last 20 years, it becomes a crisis quicker than it does at Arsenal.
‘With Arsenal, they’re probably not going to win anything, they’re in a ten year transitional period. Chelsea demand to win things.
‘If you’re a player, you’d much rather move to Chelsea than Arsenal, there’s a better quality of player there and you’ve got more chance of winning things.’
Chelsea’s win in Sweden was their first on the road since late December.
Heavy defeats to City and Bournemouth in recent weeks have raised questions about the future of Blues boss Sarri.
Chelsea’s players held team meetings at training this week and issued a rallying cry to galvanise their seemingly ailing season.
But Sarri needed a response from his players against Malmo and for former Blues player Cole, he got one.
Cole said: ‘The response was excellent, I think Sarri’s put his marker down, ‘I’m going this way, we’re sticking with my philosophy’ and the lads bought into it.
‘I don’t think there’s much difference between the Chelsea we saw tonight and the Chelsea of the first two months of the season. Maybe they ran into a very good Bournemouth team and a Manchester City team on immense form, so it inflates things.
‘It was a massive result for Sarri. If the lads continue with that kind of intensity then the results could flow, they’ve got a cup final to look forward to in a few weeks, the picture could be very different come the end of the month.
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