Gary Cahill speaks up on the ever-growing pressure at Chelsea
For me, Gary Cahill was our Man of the Match against West Ham the other night. Granted you could have selected five or six players but in my eyes he just edged it with a fantastic individual performance.
The performance and result took me back ten years to a hard fought victory at Blackburn that proved to be a pivotal moment. But for Cahills' last ditch tackle just yards from goal late in the game, we could have been looking at a three-point lead in the title race.
Cahill has suffered in the past couple of months after some poor performances. Dropped in favour of Kurt Zouma, you never once heard Cahill come out and complain. He just got on with things and worked hard to get back into the side.
Having returned to the starting eleven in recent weeks, Cahill has had two standout performances at the Capital One Cup Final and then at West Ham.
Speaking after the victory over Tottenham last Sunday, Cahill was asked of his form and the fact that Kurt Zouma had come into the side and played well.
He responded by saying: "Up to December, up to Christmas time, I was unbeaten with Chelsea and unbeaten with England, everything was fine. Admittedly after Christmas there were a couple of performances that weren't up to the standard I wanted them to be at. I don't need everyone to tell me that.”
“I have had it before in my career. You have a little dip in form, but you just play the games. I have proven myself time and time again. When I was at Bolton they said 'You can't play for England' and I got the call for England. I went to Chelsea and they said 'Oh, you can't play Champions League.' I did that. I proved them wrong,” he continued.
“It's about having fire in your belly and that is what has got me where I am today. Kurt has come in, like when I joined the club, and taken his chance. He's performed really, is a great lad, works hard and is a fantastic talent. He's proved he's fully in line with John and me. It's a three-way fight, but obviously John has been the mainstay at the minute. It's healthy," he concluded.
In recent days, all three of them have received rave reviews for their performances and it's great to see. I personally am of the opinion that Cahill has set himself such high standards because of the defender he has become at Chelsea, that anything less than that leaves him open to criticism.
Make no mistake, Gary Cahill will need to be at his very best along with his teammates if we are to win more silverware this season.