One of the major causes of concern for the defending Premier League champions Chelsea FC has been their defence. And one of the major concerns for their defence is the presence of 31-year-old Gary Cahill. The England international, who has been donning the captain’s armband when playing, has displayed a fairly underwhelming performance so far.
Once too often, there have been slip-ups on his part, and opponents have frequently targeted the once rock-solid center-back to create an easy opening or two. The player’s career may just be coming to an end with the Blues, and here we list the reasons as to why Cahill should depart from Stamford Bridge.
Too slow compared to fellow defenders and opponents
Pace has never been Cahill’s forte, but he has become slower compared to previous seasons. He was heavily exposed when Manchester City came as visitors and Fabian Delph and Kevin De Bruyne made a mockery out of him. He could not keep up with the pace of the game, and this has been repeated in further matches.
In the defeat at West Ham too, Marko Arnautovic and Manuel Lanzini took him for a ride. Cahill’s tracking back has been shoddy to say the least and often his tackles have been clumsy and delayed. This was evident in the very first match against Burnley, that resulted in him seeing red, and Chelsea experiencing their first ever opening-day defeat in the Roman Abramovich era. Speed is definitely his worst enemy.
The more solid Antonio Rudiger is a much better option
The German international signed for Chelsea earlier this season, and to be honest, he deserves more of a reckoning than Cahill. With him at the back, Chelsea have managed to be more compact defensively. The coming-to-age of Andreas Christensen and the reliability of Cesar Azpilicueta has more or less shaped up the back three for Chelsea. David Luiz, compared to Cahill, is still a better option, as the Brazilian is one of the more versatile players on the pitch.
It is not as if Antonio Conte is short of experimenting. But with Cahill, he has truly drawn a blank. He tried to switch Cahill to the right side of the backline in their away fixture against AS Roma in the UEFA Champions League, and the strategy backfired badly. So much so, that he was substituted off in the 56th-minute itself. And it is not as though he has done his duty well in his more preferred left-side role either. So, with no option for improvising, and the performance in general being below-par, the utility of Cahill is very questionable.