Jose Mourinho is no stranger to making difficult decisions and it’s something he is more than used to as a football manager but faces some tough ones ahead of Sunday’s match against Manchester City as well as the foreseeable future.
Ahead of Chelsea’s Champions League tie against Schalke Mourinho opted to throw Fernando Torres back into the mix ahead of Samuel Eto’o who played well and got off the mark against Cardiff City at the weekend and he’ll have to choose between the two again, but Gary Cahill will also be giving his manager a happy headache.
Cahill was always going to face a battle to make himself first choice at Stamford Bridge and most would regard him as the club’s third-choice central defender but he’s been working hard and has not let the Blues down when he has been called upon and he’s also been solid for Roy Hodgson’s England side of late.
The 27-year-old has played eight games under Mourinho so far and stepped in earlier on in the season whilst David Luiz recovered from a few injury troubles and a busy summer playing for Brazil in the Confederations Cup. Chelsea had a so-so start to the season but their defence along with Petr Cech have helped during difficult moments and Mourinho, as a manager, prefers to build on a solid base from the back and Cahill has been part of that.
John Terry has recently been praised for his return to form in a Chelsea shirt and he’ll be the first to say that he could not do that without the help of his manager and those around him. So far Cahill has shown that he communicates well with the skipper and the duo put on another professional display during the 3-0 win over Schalke on Tuesday night.
Many believe that Luiz’s style wouldn’t be Mourinho’s cup of tea but I think he will remain a preference over Cahill in the long-term. However, the Brazilian has made several key errors already this season against Everton, FC Basel and was particularly sloppy for Jordon Mutch’s goal in the win against Cardiff City and those sorts of errors will anger his manager.
Manchester City haven’t exactly been firing this season either but it’s clear that, just like Chelsea, they are yet to get out of first gear whereas the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham are probably playing at their peak. Mourinho needs a big performance against a big side to show how serious Chelsea are about winning the big honours this season and he cannot afford any of Luiz’s infamous mad moments to surrender dominance to our opposition, so would the dependable Cahill be the best option for Mourinho on Sunday?
He’ll also have to make a few tough, and perhaps unpopular decisions, when it comes to Chelsea’s midfield as it is a battle they have repeatedly lost against City in recent encounters and they now face Fernandinho, who was dominant against us for Shakhtar last season, as well as Yaya Toure. Frank Lampard isn’t offering his back four enough protection despite Mourinho’s claim that the club legend is adapting well to a deeper role and Ramires often looks better with a defensive force alongside him that will allow him to play a more box-to-box role, so a recall for John Obi Mikel is on the cards.