Whilst manager Roberto Di Matteo may have a strong case to argue that he’d ‘rested’ Terry ahead of their weekend clash with Liverpool, is his exclusion from lineup perhaps a hint at what the future of Chelsea could hold without their infamed skipper?
Chelsea narrowly won the game via a 94th minute winner from substitute Victor Moses – they conceded two goals to former transfer target Willian who earned his brace with an impressive performance alongside Fernandinho who was strident for the entire game.
Chelsea’s defence held out well – David Luiz and Gary Cahill played in the centre of their back-four, and despite allowing Shakhtar 10 shots on Petr Cech’s goal, they handled the pressure well.
Conversely, whilst Terry was serving his ban for racial abuse, Chelsea won just two of their four games, hemorrhaging 12 goals – something which points to their vulnerability without their leader, legend, and captain.
Cahill has been the better performer of the two replacement centre-backs – he’s managed to get himself on the scoresheet 5 times already this season, whilst Luiz continuously battles, mostly with himself, in trying to curb his enthusiasm for going forward, rash challenges and poor decisions.
When he’s good, the Brazilian is great but when he’s bad, he’s shocking. At 25 years of age, he should arguably know better but with just a couple seasons in the Premier League under his belt, I’d be inclined to suggest he’ll improve his game considerably.
But neither him nor Cahill have the commanding presence of Terry – they are excellent technically gifted defenders who, in the next few years will likely rise to world-class calibre. Luckily for Chelsea, that will coincide nicely with Terry’s retirement.
At 31, he’s probably only got a few more years at the highest level left in his tank – his premature retirement from international football will add an extra year or two on top of that – but the future of Chelsea looks bright.
The Mourinho-era is well on it’s way out – Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, and Petr Cech have been the spine of the club for nearly a decade but Drogba is gone, and it appears Lampard and Cole will depart at the end of their current contracts, if not before.
I can’t see John Terry playing for another team – he’s Blue through and through and will likely see out his twilight years as a squad player at the club. And his predecessors will benefit from his experience on the training ground.