A club stalwart such as John Terry must have had mixed emotions watching Chelsea in recent weeks. Antonio Conte’s side – for it is undeniably his side and not his captain’s now – had until their defeat against Tottenham, won 13 league matches in row. Only in one of these games was the veteran defender’s contribution required.
Conte has built his Chelsea team from the back, and relied heavily on César Azpilicueta, Gary Cahill, David Luiz, Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso. The return of Kurt Zoma in the FA Cup Third Round match against Peterborough after 11 months out with a cruciate knee ligament injury will boost Chelsea’s title bid. As will the decision to recall Nathan Ake from his season-long loan at Bournemouth.
Where this leaves 36-year-old John Terry in the pecking order is open to question. Especially when it is remembered that following his dismissal against Peterborough, he has now been responsible for three of the last six red cards Chelsea have received. When it looked like Chelsea would not renew his contract last year, Terry made his disappointment public and eventually received a new contract. The expected return of the highly rated Andreas Christensen to his parent club next season means that Terry is unlikely to receive another contract at the club and when the tributes to his longevity have subsided, Chelsea fans may realise their club is better for his absence.