A significant development of the recent weeks or even the past month, has been the emergence of Cahill and Luiz as our main centre backs. Though Ivanovic has been used in this position with both of them alternatively, maximum success sans Terry has been with this partnership between the Englishman and the Brazilian.
You take a look at the two and the first thing you notice is the amount of sheer physicality in there. Both are 6 ft 2 in tall, Luiz just edging out Cahill by a centimetre, 189 to 188 cm. Both the young defenders are extremely muscular and for all their buff, can fend off any striker on a good day. Both these attributes combined and added with great heading abilities, means we have a great aerial presence, both in our box and the opponent’s.
Individually, also, these two are proven goal scorers. Luiz has 3 in 20 this season while Cahill, goes about scoring like a striker – 6 goals in 15 appearances. They’re not just menaces in the penalty box when there’s a set piece, both have wonderful striking ability of the ball, with Luiz becoming one of our most reliable penalty and free kick takers, mastering the ‘Ronaldo Rocket’ and of course, Cahill says everything there is to say with that cracker of a goal vs Spurs.
When you look at these two individually, it becomes extremely difficult to find two better centre backs. But together, how do they click? Cahill is calm and composed on field, a defender who’d put his body on the line and likes to keep things settled at the back. Luiz? The complete opposite. Calm, yes. But quite the maverick who likes to ride upfield, raring to have a go at the goal. How do they fit in with each other? Generally, Cahill would keep Luiz on a leash. Moreover, experience in Ivanovic and Cole means they don’t mind shouting out at him now and then. When Luiz complies, it’s all no biggie.
When he doesn’t, all hell breaks loose.
That’s where the need for an imposing leader like Terry comes in. Terry commands Luiz in such a way that he HAS to return. Cahill is merely a year or so older than Luiz and lacks the steel and self-confidence to command Luiz like that, match in match out when he himself is sometimes left on the bench. If Cahill masters the art of restraining Luiz every match, like he did vs Munich or vs Spurs and indeed yesterday, both the Englishman and the Brazilian have the potential to go on and become Chelsea and football legends.
All in all, I’d like to say, the future seems bright.