Few would have expected to view such a high intensity spectacle like they did at Stamford Bridge on the weekend in the clash of the Titans between Chelsea and Liverpool. With both teams battling for the title the big players had to step up to such an occasion, as did John Terry managing to keep Luis Suarez at bay, on an even more momentous day for the Chelsea captain as he had managed to achieve his 600th appearance for the club. Jose Mourinho’s return has seen unbelievable improvements on the 33 year olds performances as the new managers ways appear to have motivated Terry to fight for his place in the starting XI.
Throughout the game, John Terry knew that it would be difficult dealing with the pace of Suarez and Sterling and very intelligently Terry’s body positioning and language manged to dictate Liverpool’s attacks, he would often ensure that whilst an attacker was on the ball he would first of all force them to come inside and more central preventing any burst of acceleration and then quickly stealing the ball, thus frustrating the attaker, mostly Suarez. Having a 100% success on tackles illustrates that the number 26 was able prevent any direct attacks as well as emphasising that Terry’s decision making is spot on as he knows when to sit off or pounce for the ball. Winning 2 out of 2 ground 50/50’s are key statistics and reasons as to why John Terry is such an integral part of Chelsea’s side as being able to come out on top from a 50/50, especially at the age of 33 against a relatively young Liverpool side, can inspire those around him and provides desire to the rest of the squad, which is a huge ingredient in winning big games such as this. John Terry’s ways appear to be rubbing off on Gary Cahill whom I believe can follow in the footsteps of Terry into becoming a Chelsea great especially if he is able to take tips from this performance by the captain.
Letting in such an early goal can often cause deflation in a teams confidence and be a detriment to performance however with a leader on the pitch like Terry, spirits were high amongst the Chelsea team and Liverpool were struggling to contain the pressure, soon enough Chelsea scored through Hazard and Eto’o and took the lead. Terry make 6/6 clearances successful, by cutting out any danger with these clearances I felt that this factor contributed as to why Chelsea took the three points because if Liverpool had a man to do this for them then Eto’o’s goal could have been prevented because Liverpool didn’t take their chances (which they had several) during this play, to simply get rid of the ball from dangerous areas. This yet again explains how crucial Terry’s decision making skills are even in such a simple task. One of the clearances provided a little controversy and as usual the controversy surrounded Suarez and Terry however this time together, as John Terry appeared to run through Suarez in the box, with arms raised, to get to the ball. On the other hand, I can see why this was not given as Terry’s eyes appeared fixed on the ball and this combined with Suarez’s status is why I believe Howard Webb shrugged off the penalty claims.
The only downfall to Terry’s performance vs. Liverpool is that his passes into the final third are poor and result in loss of possession, with only a 40% accuracy, a defender who can bypass a midfield with perfect passes into the strikers feet is every attackers dream as these can create instantaneous goals and offensive pieces of play that catch the opposition out, which is one of many possible suggestions as to why Chelsea’s strikers aren’t scoring.
Half-way through the season and only 2 points off poll position, preventing the leagues arguably best player from putting on any display and with many performances like this, hopefully a good spell without injury or suspension, John Terry may dream of lifting the Premier League for the fourth time.