Gary Cahill’s first season as Chelsea captain – having replaced John Terry in the summer – hasn’t quite gone as planned.
The Blues have slumped from runaway champions to fifth – facing the very real prospect of Europa League football next season – and on a personal level, the former Bolton defender hasn’t featured as much as he would have liked.
Nevertheless, the defender – valued at £13.5m by Transfermarkt – got the nod from Antonio Conte on Saturday as Chelsea played out a dress rehearsal for Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final against Southampton.
It looked as if Cahill’s return would turn into a nightmare as the Saints raced into a 2-0 lead and with just 20 minutes remaining, Chelsea were staring down the barrel.
Three goals in eight minutes turned the game on its head and Cahill’s numbers from the game are quite solid and he made a late claim to be in the starting 11 for the cup semi at Wembley.
Seven headers won and four clearances are the standouts as Cahill helped the Blues ride out a late onslaught but his other numbers also showed evidence of a man who wasn’t rusty and is ready to take his chance if he gets the nod at Wembley.