What will Chelsea do without John Terry? Many a fan and a pundit pondered this question as Chelsea's long-serving captain led his team to their 4th title in the Abramovich era. Now it seems we have our answer.
John Terry has played in only one of Chelsea's last five games; a League Cup run-out against lower league Walsall. This run had seen an upturn in results for Chelsea, with victories over Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Arsenal and Walsall.
However, a recent draw with struggling Newcastle (a game Chelsea didn't deserve a point from) and a defeat by Porto in the Champions League have left fans wondering whether Terry's omission from the starting XI really is a good move.
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The types of goals that Chelsea has been conceding have also strengthened the claim that the Chelsea club captain should be on the field. Two goals have been conceded from corners in the last few days and another from a lack of communication at the back, allowing Ayoze Perez to bring down a high ball between two Chelsea defenders and blast beyond Asmir Begovic.
As a result of this, many have argued that, had Terry been on the pitch, these goals would not have occurred due to Terry's expert leadership and his vocal ability to organise those around him on the pitch.
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While John Terry continues to sit out, his former understudy Kurt Zouma is taking on the role with mixed results. The 20-year-old has showed signs of a world-class centre-back, with the ability to fill Terry's boots, a perfectly timed tackle on Theo Walcott when the Arsenal man was bearing down on goal demonstrating this.
However, at times he has also shown his inexperience, especially when allowing a hopeful Vernon Anita cross to sail over his head and land in the feet of a grateful Ayoze Perez to give Newcastle the lead.
Mistakes can be expected from a young talent such as Zouma, and it would be unfair to suggest that he is to blame for Chelsea's bad run. However, as the man that has come in for Terry, comparisons are inevitable.
Where Zouma is extremely unlucky is that he has found himself in a defence alongside three players that have become accustomed to Terry's leadership, hence none of Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill or Cesar Azpilicueta are used to guiding others through a tough spell.
Despite these difficulties, Mourinho continues to exclude Terry from his preferred XI, although the reasons for this are currently unclear. Some have suggested that there could be a rift between the pair although Mourinho has insisted that no rifts exist in the squad. The decision to send Terry out to the pitch for a warm-down, while the rest of the team presumably had a dressing down from The Special One, after the Porto defeat has raised eyebrows among Chelsea supporters.
Terry's lack of pace has also been sighted as a possible explanation, although, the former England captain has never been blessed with blistering pace but has never found himself out of the team for this long.
It does beg the question that if Jose does not want to play Terry against teams with pace up front, then when will Terry play? It is almost a necessity now for teams to have speed at the top end of the pitch.
Realistically, we are all aware that Terry is in his twilight years. At 34-years-old, he has seen his best days, physically, but the experience and know-how are all still there.
Perhaps Mourinho is planning for the future, hence his attempts to sign young prospect John Stones in the summer. While it is true that at some point Chelsea must move on from Terry, to plan for the future at a time when Chelsea's biggest problems lie in the present seems peculiar.
Chelsea fans: What do you think is going wrong for your side this season? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!
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