In more than just one way, Gary Cahill, England’s Brave, has stepped up to fill John Terry’s legendary boots at Chelsea this season. While JT remains a strong dressing room leader (and the official club captain), it’s been EBGC who has led the team out most often this season while also taking on the captain’s role of providing the pitch-perfect soundbites in the pre- and post-match interviews. He’s even started to use “Listen” as an interjection, as per Captain, Leader, Legend tradition.
But listen, the similarities don’t end there. After scoring his 8th goal of the season on Sunday, a new career high, the 31-year-old has confirmed his spot as one of the greatest goal-scoring defenders in Premier League history. In fact, if we arbitrarily ignore penalty kicks for a moment (sorry, David Unsworth), Cahill is second only to, you guessed it, John Terry since England’s top flight became the Premier League 25 years ago.
Excluding penalties, John Terry is the only defender to score more @premierleague goals than Gary Cahill. https://t.co/MNK8Hcxn4q #SSNHQ pic.twitter.com/3op4sf2wJS— Sky Sports News HQ (@SkySportsNewsHQ) April 30, 2017
Seeing as how five of the top seven defenders on that list of goal-scorers are current or former Chelsea players, Cahill looks to be simply carrying on a fine Blues tradition. (Of Cahill’s 27, 13 have come in Chelsea colors, adding to the 13 he scored at Bolton and the 1 he scored with Aston Villa.)
What does it take to rise so high on this list? A bit of anticipation, a bit of luck, and a bit of skill. While his latest goal was simply a rebound off his knee, Cahill has shown surprisingly excellent technique on several occasions in finding loose balls in the box (prime example being that goal against Spurs back in 2012).
"I felt there was a chance [Eden Hazard] would put it at the front post and I just tried to get across. It’s another goal for me and I’m delighted, it’s a huge result for us."
With the away win and three points, Chelsea’s task has become straightforward. Three wins are needed to guarantee the title. There are four games left, three of which will be at home, starting next Monday against Middlesbrough. Win the home games and the title is ours. Win any three of the four games and the title is ours.
"We’ve done what we needed to do. It was a great victory, you saw the celebrations. I said last week this was a cup final, a massive game for us and certainly one of our hardest games. The form they’ve been in at home proves that, so for us to win 3-0 was fantastic."
"It was convincing in the end but we had to work very hard for it. In the first half it was very tough and we felt we had to go to the next level, we spoke about not leaving anything out there in the second half and the lads did that."
"What a special goal from Pedro as well, at times in games you need a little bit of class and that’s what he gave us today. He’s a fantastic footballer and he whipped it in the top corner. That gave us a platform to go on because they had to commit players forward and we got the second and the third."
"We’ve been saying in our dressing room that we expect [Tottenham] to win every single game, so it’s down to us and it’s in our hands. They’re pushing us until the end."
-Gary Cahill; Source: Chelsea FC
A straightforward task does not mean an easy task of course, and the squad will still have to deal with the pressure of Spurs keeping the race close — for example, if Spurs win on Friday, as they should, against West Ham, the lead will be only 1 point at kick-off on Monday. But the vast majority of the squad have been here and should not be fazed. With Captain Cahill leading the way, we should be confident of Chelsea closing this race out in due course.