Gary Cahill has come under huge scrutiny from Chelsea supporters over the last few seasons on his performances and ability to play in a side challenging for titles. Antonio Conte certainly disagreed handing the captains armband to him this year following the departure of long-term captain, and legend, John Terry this summer.
The England international captained the side through the majority of last season in Terry’s absence, however in the role of being captain and not vice, the circumstances have now changed slightly, with the arrival of Antonio Rüdiger and Andreas Christensen who returned from a two-year loan spell in Germany.
But 14 minutes into his first league fixture as the official captain of Chelsea Football Club, Cahill was sent off with a straight red card, after a unneccesary challenge, with no danger in sight. That didn’t go down too well, to say the least. Consequence, he was out for three games. Tottenham, Everton and Leicester. All three of those games, Rüdiger stepped in and the Blues won every single game.
With the 31-year-old now available for selection for the clash against Arsenal, Antonio Conte made the decision to slot him back in, to Rüdiger’s expense.
The justification of that wasn’t seen throughout the game either. Why drop a back three when nothing is wrong and have won every single game.
Continuously throughout the game on Sunday, Cahill looked nervous on the ball and seemed to want to get rid of it every time he received it. Especially in the scenario with him being deep in his own half, and trying a skillful pass to Kante which led to an exciting opportunity for Arsenal to take the lead.
Although he wasn’t the only one, many were poor on this occasion, Cahill was brought back in, the others were not. You saw last season with Terry. Conte wasn’t bothered that he was club captain and as a result of that, the sat on the sidelines for the majority of the year. Is it a matter of time before he does that to Cahill, I think so.
There’s no doubting that he is a quality centre half, however with Rüdiger’s arrival and Christensen returning, they have the age on the 31-year-old, and to stop their progress for Cahill, is something I wouldn’t agree with.
With David Luiz now suspended for three games, will Rüdiger and Christensen come in, or will only one of them come in with Cahill to stay in the starting eleven.
Regardless of what Cahill has achieved, we need to put the team first, and right now, we need someone who is confident on the ball in a back three, something in which Cahill isn’t currently.
Matthew Debono @mattdebonosport