Gary Cahill — Club Captain Gary Cahill, technically — hasn’t played since late November and a 90-minute stint in the Europa League group stage against PAOK. He wasn’t exactly a regular before then either outside of the European afterthought, with just 21 minutes in the Premier League and a couple League Cup appearances thrown in as well, but that 4-0 win has slowly turned into the last appearance in an 8-year, trophy-filled Chelsea career. Cahill had fallen not just to the bottom of the pecking order, but alongside Danny Drinkwater, completely out of the first-team reckoning.
With his contract expiring in the summer, Cahill, who had looked on course to becoming the 37th player in club history with 300 appearances. was instead set to spend his remaining days as a Chelsea player as a glorified training cone.
But yesterday’s knee injury to Antonio Rudiger, the severity of which is unknown at this point but is likely to rule him out for at least the rest of the season, means that Cahill is “in line for a shock recall” for Thursday’s Europa League quarterfinal second leg against Slavia Prague. (Chelsea lead 1-0 on aggregate after last week’s first leg.)
David Luiz and Andreas Christensen will presumably handle first-team duties as much as they can if Rudiger is indeed ruled out, but Sarri has been rotating regularly between the three and will need an extra pair of legs at least a couple times in the remaining weeks of the season. As Ethan Ampadu continues to deal with a back injury and growing pains since the March international break, that extra pair of legs just might be Gary Cahill.
Could the Man Who’s Won It All make his 290th Chelsea appearance this Thursday? He just might!