End of an era looms for John Terry and Chelsea after red card

By Aleksandr Osipov from Ukraine (John Terry / Джон Терри) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Aleksandr Osipov from Ukraine (John Terry / Джон Терри) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons /

John Terry’s red card at the weekend may have been harsh, but it’s another reason to assume his imminent Chelsea departure.

As John Terry walked down the tunnel following his dismissal against Peterborough, it brought with it a somber feeling to an otherwise enjoyable afternoon for Chelsea. They had taken care of the lower league opposition comfortably, avoiding a potential “cupset”, and fringe players such as Michy Batshuayi finally saw some minutes on the pitch. Terry’s sending off had no bearing on the outcome, but the consequence of it is hard to ignore.

The Chelsea captain finds himself as a 5th choice centre back, maybe even lower with the return of Nathan Ake from his loan spell, and these cup games offered an opportunity for him to continue to trot out for the first team.

His sending off, though undeserved, could make Antonio Conte reconsider his inclusion next time around. Chelsea have been drawn to face Championship side Brentford at home in the fourth round and the London outfit are sure to provide a trickier test.

For Conte, it’s likely that he will have to axe one of Branislav Ivanovic, Kurt Zouma or Terry from the team that started in the win at the weekend. Ivanovic has appeared from the bench, often at times when Conte has looked to keep the defence tight in the final few minutes of the contest. Zouma’s return from injury, meanwhile, should see him demand more action in his bid to return to full fitness.

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If Conte decides to push Ivanovic into the centre of defence, as the threat of a more dangerous opponent would risk the Serbian’s pace being exposed in the wing back position, it’s likely Terry would be the casualty. But could the manager risk angering the fans by leaving their beloved captain out?

It’s a difficult choice to make for Conte. Chances are he would want one of David Luiz, Cesar Azpilicueta or Gary Cahill, who started on Sunday, playing as their experience in the 3-4-3 system is crucial. And judging by the substitute appearances of Ivanovic, it doesn’t look as if the Italian plans to freeze him out anytime soon. Zouma is also bound to rival the current back line for a starting position as we head into the second half of the season. It seems as if all fingers point to the inevitable outcome.

For Terry, if such a situation occurs, it’s fair to assume he will take it professionally. Unable to even force himself into consideration during Chelsea’s history making 13 wins, the 36-year-old must realise himself the end is near.

Contract negotiations didn’t go smoothly last year, and with Terry not in Conte’s plans, it will make it even more difficult for the Blues legend to earn a new contract. Taking into account it’s the same decision makers who had little problem seeing the likes of Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and Petr Cech leave the club, it would be a shock should Terry be kept around for sentimental reasons.

Whatever happens in the next few months with regard to his future, there’s no arguing the legacy John Terry will leave behind as Chelsea prepare to usher in a new era.