Gary Cahill has warned his Chelsea teammates to not underestimate the danger of Arsenal in the final few weeks of the season.
Saturday’s 2-1 win at home to Stoke City preceded Manchester City’s surprising defeat away at Crystal Palace and gave Chelsea a nine point lead over last season’s champions with a game in hand, a weekend which effectively ended the Citizens’ chances of retaining the title after a terrible 2015 which has seen them slip to fourth.
Parallel to that has been the form of Chelsea’s London rivals Arsenal; a 4-1 victory over Liverpool last weekend taking the Gunners up to second place and seven points behind Chelsea, and inspiring hopes of winning the league that would have appeared outlandish just a few weeks ago. Chelsea still have to play at the Emirates and, even though the game in hand- Leicester City away- a defeat in that fixture could give the season a distinctly unnerving edge for Chelsea as it nears its conclusion.
Cahill, who has often started at centre-back beside John Terry for Chelsea this season, is aware of the form of Arsene Wenger’s team.
“I think it’s gone under the radar, hasn’t it? I think how well they’ve done of late – they’ve crept up,” the England international is quoted as saying.
“We started (against Stoke) today with them in second position. They’ve gone about it quietly, they’re obviously in fantastic form.”
Chelsea beat Arsenal 2-0 at Stamford Bridge in October and Jose Mourinho has never lost to Arsene Wenger. However, Chelsea should be aware, as they prepare to face QPR this Sunday, of the relatively recent past. Arsenal overcame a similar point deficit in 1998 when they beat Manchester United to the title when some bookmakers had already paid out on the latter team winning the title, the spark for which was a 1-0 win over the Red Devils towards the end of the season.