Gary Cahill is eager to get back on the pitch against Manchester United this afternoon in what he describes as a ‘massive’ fixture.

After sampling defeat against Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday night, the defender is desperate to return to winning ways and maintain our impressive early-season Barclays Premier League form, which has seen us drop just two points from our opening eight fixtures.

United come to Stamford Bridge without a win at our home since 2002, but after coming from behind against Braga in midweek, they have won four consecutive games in all competitions, and 10 of their last 11.

‘It’s a massive game in the Premier League. We knew there were a couple of big games coming with Tottenham and Man U and it’s important we keep the run going in the league,’ Cahill said.

‘We have really started really well and we’ll look to continue that. We’ve answered a few questions when we’ve faced the big teams so far and it seems to have gone reasonably well so we hope that continues.

‘A win would give us a nice little gap there. Everyone knows the importance of the game and the rewards you can get come the end of the season, but we can’t approach it in any other manner than we have in our other home games.

‘It was a tough night on Tuesday and when you have nights like that you want the next game to come along, so we now have an opportunity to put that right and get the right result.’

Cahill may well be asked to monitor his international team-mate Wayne Rooney this afternoon. While he knows the forward’s game well, he admits playing with him for England does not necessarily mean his task becomes any easier.

‘It helps because you know a lot of his strengths but with certain players of that calibre you never can predict what they’re going to do to change a game, you always have to be on guard,’ said the 26-year-old. ‘He’s fantastic, he likes to come off and get in the spaces to cause defenders problems. He finds pockets in between the lines which we do with our creative players, so it’s going to be important we keep an eye on him.’

Last time we met United at the Bridge, back in February, the visitors came from three goals down to earn a draw. It just so happened to be Cahill’s Chelsea debut, and he remembers it well.

‘It was a crazy game, we went 3-0 up and it finished 3-3. It was a mad game, especially for my first one. It was all going to plan, but then suddenly it turned around,’ he recalled.

‘When I first came in it was a bit of a whirlwind with all sorts going on. Finding your feet was a bit strange but it’s all settled down, we have some fantastic players and we’re all on the same sheet. It happened a couple of months after I signed, everything settled and we finished the season really strong.’

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