John Terry last night spoke of his acceptance of being left out of the starting line up if it is what’s best for the team.
His comments came after an emphatic 3-0 victory for Chelsea away at Fulham, featuring one of the goals of the season from David Luiz. Terry himself picked up the other two goals, one from a Juan Mata cross and the other from a corner with Torres nodding the ball into his path.
Despite a very strong personal performance last night, Terry has found himself out of the starting line up all to often since his return from injury. Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic have regularly been picked ahead of him, and David Luiz hardly misses a game, seeming to be a favourite of Benitez’s.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the game however, he revealed a very positive perspective on the matter, admitting that he must accept what Benitez thinks is best for the team.
“”All I can do, if I am not first or second choice, is obviously take my opportunities like tonight and try and impress the manager on a daily basis. If he decides to go with the other two [players], then so be it. It is down to me to work hard and get back in this very good team.”
Above are the stats of Chelsea’s four competing centre backs. Terry has racked up far fewer appearances than the other three, both through injury and through his being out of favour (he has regularly played in the Europa League though, to satisfy Bentiez’s rotation policy). Ivanovic has been the most common defender in the team, although this is largely down to his versatility and his ability to play right-back.
He may be out of favour with Benitiez but his stats are still impressive. Since their number of appearances vary, it is their percentages that tell the biggest stories. Furthermore it should be noted that some of Luiz’s performances have come from defensive midfield, and that many of Ivanovic’s have come from right-back. His ground 50-50 tackles win % is joint top with Ivanovic at 62%. Moreover his Arial 50-50 win % is 70%, second only to Cahill (72%). He is third in tackle success % with 80%, but only by small margins, and he is the only player not to have made a defensive error, albeit in less games. Indeed his stats are not outstanding from the rest, but there is a lot to suggest that the four of them are playing at a very similar standard this season.
His comments will be well received by Chelsea fans, Terry usually being in the media for the wrong reasons. Whether or not he should be in the starting XI is another matter, but it is certainly refreshing to see Terry’s reaction.
Just the season before under Andre Villas Boas, many of Chelsea’s older players and bigger names were not featuring as regularly in the side as they usually did, and discontent was regularly reported behind the scenes. Drogba has left and Cole is still a regular, but once again Lampard and Terry are no longer the first names on the team sheet, yet you hear nothing of big egos disrupting the dressing room. Indeed this suggests that the pair have learnt from the previous seasons, and that Benitez has handled the situation far more tactfully then his predecessor.
Chelsea now enter the final 8 games of the season, with a potential ninth if they reach the Europa League final. It’s been a testing campaign and the only way it will be looked upon positively is if they make the top four.
In the Premier League Chelsea currently sit 3 points ahead of Tottenham, and 1 point ahead of Arsenal, both Tottenham and Chelsea having a game in-hand on their London rival. With Liverpool (A), Swansea (H) Manchester United (A), Tottenham (H), Aston Villa (A) and Everton (H) still to come in that order, theirs is certainly a tough finish to the season.
Terry further added that Chelsea must prioritise a top four finish and the Europa League over their individual interests.
[quote]”It is very important we stay focused and do not get too down about not playing games. Obviously that [in the team] is where we all want to be but, at the same time, we appreciate there are a lot of games coming up.” [/quote]
[box_light]All of the stats from this article have been taken from the Opta Stats Centre at EPLIndex.com –Subscribe Now (Includes author privileges!) Check out our new Top Stats feature on the Stats Centre which allows you to compare all players in the league & read about new additions to the stats centre.[/box_light]