Acting (and future?) captain Gary Cahill has been here before many times. Winner of more trophies than I can be bothered to count since his arrival at Stamford Bridge, Cahill surely has more than enough experience to see out the last six games of the season without leading Chelsea out of first place and completing a rather spectacular end of season collapse.
The impact of Sunday’s loss won’t be truly known until about a month from now, but for Cahill and the rest of the squad, it will have served as a strong reminder to not [FUN] it all up. Hopefully.
“That defeat has given us all a kick up the backside. We know the league is not over, that it will be difficult, but we know we are more than capable of doing it. I certainly think we can win our last six league games.”
“We just need to come back from this now. We need to lean on the experience we have in the dressing room and the players that have been through all this before.”
Of course, there’s always the chance of an overreaction, which probably should be avoided at all cost. Chelsea didn’t get here by accident. We know what we’re doing. Mostly anyway.
“We can’t let things get too twisted, after all we lost at Old Trafford which is a very tough place to go to. The most disappointing thing is we didn’t play to the levels we are used to or the levels we expect. It can happen. But that is why we were so angry in the dressing room afterwards.”
“It is important we respond this week. We have to show the same response we did after losing to Crystal Palace, when we beat Manchester City and Bournemouth. [...] We are not going to get the trophy just because we have done well for the majority of the season. We have six games left and have to earn the right to win it. No one is going to roll over.”
Unlike after the shock defeat to Palace, Chelsea don’t have another league game for a week and a half. Next up instead is the FA Cup semifinal against Spurs, which was already going to be a massive occasion before the gap between the same two teams had shrunk to just four points at the top of the Premier League table. The winners of this game will thus claim not only a place in the final, but the psychological advantage as well. Momentum’s with Spurs right now of course, but Chelsea have a chance to flip that around even if we will play down that angle beforehand just in case we don’t.
“Saturday will have nothing to do with the league. In my head, I don’t think it will have any impact. It is purely a cup game.”
“Regardless of the opposition, we want to win it. We want to win the match because we want to pick up the FA Cup, it’s one of our goals. Anything else is irrelevant in my eyes. Are Tottenham now favourites? It’s a one-off game so however people want to build it up, they will.”
-Gary Cahill; source: Mirror
Saturday’s outcome will not be reflected in the table itself, at least not immediately. Chelsea could win and still lose the title, or Spurs could win and still collapse in the league just like they did at the end of last season. But while it’s great that Cahill & Co are keeping things simple and focused and not twisted, the narrative is already salivating at the boundless possibilities and the full spectrum of spectacular headlines.
Brace yourselves, if you haven’t already.