Stats: Defender set for 100th Chelsea game CAN handle Drogba

Gary Cahill comes up against a former team-mate on Tuesday night.

Only two years ago, he might have thought such an outcome impossible, with Didier Drogba doing everything in his power to guide Chelsea towards Champions League victory.

This time, the Ivorian - a Blues legend after spending eight years with the club - will be doing everything he can to stop Jose Mourinho's men from progressing to the last eight.

Is Cahill worried? A little, by the sounds of it.

“I admire him [Drogba] as a guy. He’s got a lot of respect at this football club," the 28-year-old told reporters ahead of Chelsea's last-16 second leg clash with Galatasaray.

“He’s a fantastic player. Playing against him is going to be tough. I know his qualities and he’s got a lot of them."

And the centre-back, of course, is right to be on his guard. In what will be his 100th appearance in a Chelsea shirt, Cahill will know that just one strike from Drogba could turn the balance of the tie in Galatasaray's favour.

One goal from the Ivorian would leave Chelsea needing to score two to avoid extra time - both sides played out a 1-1 draw in the first leg - with any further away goals potentially having disastrous consequences for Mourinho's men.

But, looking at Cahill's stats for the season, the 28-year-old also has a lot to be quietly confident about.

NameEffective Clearance / appsWon Tackle / appsInterception Won / appsAerial Duel Won / appsMins
Gary Cahill 7.35 0.83 0.87 3.96 2,070
John Terry 6.79 0.61 1.11 3.18 2,520
Branislav Ivanovic 5.32 1.54 1.11 3.75 2,460
David Luiz 5.20 0.93 1.60 2.13 1,176
César Azpilicueta 4.59 2.68 1.27 1.45 1,695
Ashley Cole 1.54 1.92 1.23 0.46 1,104

As Opta data shows, Cahill leads the way in terms of effective clearances for Chelsea in the Premier League this season. Only John Terry comes reasonably close to the England man in this department.

In the air, meanwhile, Cahill is again the Blues' strongest defender - and that will likely be a key area against Droga, a lethal header of the ball.

Where 28-year-old Cahill can improve is with his interceptions, where he has the worst average of any Chelsea defender, and with his tackles won per game - surprisingly, Terry is the only man worse than him in this department.

On a big European night, however, where Chelsea know they have a great opportunity to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League, Cahill will know he's in the right form to make a difference.

Will the Blues overcome Roberto Mancini's Galatasaray side?

Register for CHELSEA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch