Despite old friend Jose Mourinho's return to Chelsea in the summer, many fans were in mutual agreement that John Terry's days as a regular starter, and indeed at Stamford Bridge, were numbered.
Having clocked up only 28 appearances in Chelsea's mammoth 2012/13 season, which saw the Blues play a total of 69 competitive matches, Terry was at times putting in some poor performances and it was assumed that the club skipper's career was winding down to a close.
However, having already made 27 competitive appearances from a total possible 31 games this season, it appears that the general consensus was much mistaken. Has a sudden upturn in performance and form revitalised Terry's career and justified a return to regular first team football, or is it just a case that he has returned to favour with an old manager who is has put trust in one of his old stalwarts?
Comparing Terry's Premier League statistics from this season and last does shed some light on the answer. Terry only made 14 Premier League appearances last season, and in those games averaged seven successful defensive actions (clearances, interceptions, and blocks) and ten successful tackles per game.
This season, he has averaged nine successful defensive actions and 13 successful tackles per match. His heading success percentage is down on last year (70 percent to 67 percent) but this is just a slight blip in an otherwise upwards surge in Terry's performance statistics in the 2013/14 campaign thus far.
However, looking at Chelsea's varying success rate between games which Terry has and has not featured in for the Blues reveals something even more intriguing than a simple improvement on last year's statistics.
Including Terry in the side appears to make a big difference to Chelsea's ability to win games: Chelsea won 10 of the 14 Premier League games that Terry played in last season, as well as drawing two and losing two, calculating in Chelsea winning 71 percent of the games that Terry played in during the 2012/13 Premier League campaign.
The remaining 25 games Terry did not play in saw Chelsea win 12, draw seven, and lose five, calculating in a win ratio of 48 percent. This season, with Terry playing every game, Chelsea have a win ratio of 65 percent.
According to the statistics, in which this writer is a particular believer, there is no doubt that Terry is deserving of his place in the Chelsea squad, and that the Blues do much better with him in the side than out.
He and his influence appears to add a calmness to the back line, and makes Chelsea feel like a much stronger defensive unit than they do without his presence. Further, his apparent improvement on last year's season shows that he has plenty to offer yet to this Blues side.
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