Gary Cahill – Is he really that great?
In a rollercoaster of a season, Gary Cahill has been a regular figure in central defense with the absence of John Terry. Chelsea fans and the media also project him as the next John Terry due to the similarity in statures and style of play. Cahill had a great impact on Chelsea’s season last year. He had a very good first season and played a huge role in the Champions league victory, putting up some spectacular performances in the center of defense. David Luiz, the more criticised of the pair, also played a very big role, but Cahill was given the spotlight.
In the absence of John Terry, the fans and the media have projected Cahill as Chelsea’s best center half, over Branislav Ivanovic and David Luiz, which in my opinion, is a very debatable subject. While David Luiz is error prone, so is Gary Cahill, the difference being that Luiz’s errors are much more prominent and stand out. Gary Cahill makes small errors which usually go unnoticed and so he does not share the blame. He has been branded as the next John Terry, but in my view, the lad has got a LOT to do to live up to that. John Terry lacks pace, but his positioning skills are so great that he doesn’t usually pay for that weakness. Gary Cahill, though, is quite the opposite. His main weakness is his positioning and he has a LOT to do to improve that. Weak positioning and ball-watching have been some regular aspects of his game this season. His small and considerably minor errors are barely noticed but these minor errors are very crucial.
One of Cahill’s major strengths is that he doesn’t give away possession in key areas and he is very strong and balanced on the ball, and one of the most accurate passers in the squad. While Luiz tends to give away possession in key areas when he tries to do something different, Cahill is very balanced and focused on the ball. Cahill is also stronger in the air. The major difference between these two is their dynamism. While Cahill backtracks and watches the ball, and tries to stop shots coming in, Luiz is more dynamic and often lunges in to make interceptions and sweep the ball away from the opponent’s feet. He is unsuccessful sometimes because he attempts it a lot, but it adds a little bit of flair. Also his through balls from the back are an added bonus of his game. Branislav Ivanovic meanwhile, is very strong but has been responsible for a few errors too during his time in his preferred CB position. It is difficult to decide who is Chelsea’s best center half right now, because all of them are responsible of poor defending on many occasions. There is also a dilemma whether David Luiz should play defensive midfielder or center back. For me though, he is a center back and his natural position should not be changed.
The media usually focuses on Luiz and Ivanovic’s errors but nothing is said about Cahill’s errors because a) they are barely noticeable. b) He is English and the focus on foreign players is usually higher. John Terry being back will help Chelsea’s season, hopefully, because if it doesn’t, the end of the season can’t come quickly enough.
Keep The Blue Flag Flying High,
Konark Antani (@ExorbitantBlue)