Chelsea proved their title credentials at the Etihad Stadium on Monday, although this doesn’t come as a surprise to Gary Cahill.
With Manchester City steamrolling all before them at home this season, they were expected to do the same when Jose Mourinho’s side came to town. However, a first half goal from Branislav Ivanovic gave the Londoners all three points, and in truth, they were perhaps unfortunate not to have won by a bigger margin.
This result lifted the Blues to level points with the Citizens, and two behind Arsenal. And some pundits who were sure the title would remain in Manchester, albeit with different holders than United, are now beginning to think its destination could be Stamford Bridge. But Cahill, who was outstanding at the Etihad, is only surprised it has taken people this long to sit up and take notice.
“Jose has the CV for a reason,” said the defender. “He is obviously a top-quality manager. The club is a massive club and when you have that and massive players, and you add a massive manager, I think it combines really well. It is working well at the minute. We are playing well and doing what he asks of us.”
Mourinho continues to play down Chelsea’s chances of winning the title, despite them taking six points off City and having drawn with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium earlier this season. They host the Gunners in March, whilst another standout fixture, at fourth-placed Liverpool, comes at the end of April.
There has been much talk of City winning an unprecedented quadruple this term, yet there is also the possibility of Chelsea winning the same treble which Manchester United won in 1999. To do that, though, they may have to record a second win at the Etihad in a month when they take on City in the FA Cup next weekend.
That would take them into the quarter-finals of that competition, and they take on Galatasaray in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League. Add to this their current standing in the Premier League, and they appear to be performing well considering Mourinho’s assertion that this is a transitional season at the Bridge.