Bridge Banter: Gary Cahill might have an odd running style, but he's a top Chelsea player (From Surrey Comet)
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Bridge Banter: Gary Cahill might have an odd running style, but he's a top Chelsea player
After England’s watery performance in Ukraine this week, normal service resumes as Chelsea travel to Everton on Saturday for the first of two successive 5.30pm league games.
Half past five is a curious time for a match – neither evening nor afternoon – but it’s popular with Mr Murdoch.
Not only is 5.30pm the time for Everton v Chelsea, it’s also the time for the west London derby, Chelsea v Fulham, at the Bridge in a week’s time.
In November, West Ham’s game against Chelsea at Upton Park is another 5.30pm job. All are on satellite.
Maybe satellites work particularly well at 5.30pm.
One man who definitely is working well, in both the England and Chelsea set-ups, is central defender Gary Cahill, a player who genuinely stood out in the sea of mediocrity on display in Kiev on Tuesday night.
Cahill is seldom mentioned in Chelsea dispatches, which tend to focus on the expensive signings.
He may only have cost £7m from Bolton (the kind of figure the Blues see as a starting point when buying talent), but his positional sense and reliability have helped him graduate from a useful addition to the subs’ bench to a full-time fixture.
He arrived at the Bridge in the January 2012 transfer window with little fanfare, but he has quietly cemented his place in Chelsea’s back line, and demonstrated during the Ukraine v England match that he can marshall a defence, lead by example and provide the kind of security at the back that keeper Joe Hart apparently needs these days.
Cahill is a great utility player, coming forward for set-plays where his heading skills are valued, and being encouraged to have a go from distance.
His curious upright running style, like a guardsman late for parade, has echoes of another great all-rounder and distinguished defender from a different era, Leeds United’s Paul Madeley.
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