Chelsea returned to winning ways at the weekend as the defending Premier League champions overcame London rivals Arsenal 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Although the game was overshadowed by the questionable antics of Diego Costa, the fact that it was the Blues’ first clean sheet of the new campaign should not be overlooked.
The Stamford Bridge side have looked uncharacteristically vulnerable defensively this season so far, with 12 goals conceded already.
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Chelsea skipper and talisman John Terry has been showing signs of age this term and was dropped for the clash against Arsenal, with Kurt Zouma and Gary Cahill getting the nod to start by Jose Mourinho.
Despite the former England captain’s longstanding excellence for the club and influence, here are three reasons why Mourinho has made the right decision in taking Terry out of the firing line.
He hasn’t been good enough this season
In last season’s title success, Terry was the rock around which the Chelsea team was built, with the homegrown hero an ardent and dedicated defender.
This season the same cannot be said of the veteran, who looks more like a liability than an asset for the West London outfit.
Against Manchester City Terry was withdrawn at half-time, with Mourinho quoting a lack of pace as the reason; the truth was that the Englishman’s channel was being continuous exploited by Manuel Pellegrini’s attackers.
After being sent off away to West Brom, it has become clear that Terry has work to do to get back to previous levels of performance and as such Mourinho is right to start him from the bench.
Kurt Zouma needs regular first-team football
Terry’s replacement in the Blues team Kurt Zouma is being eyed up as a potential long-term replacement for the veteran, with the young French star boasting all the raw attributes to be a top defender.
After fleeting appearances last season and a lot of time watching on from the sidelines, it has become painstakingly apparent that Zouma is much too good to repeat this in 2015-16.
Although the enforcer will recognise that he will not play every game this term, he will expect considerably more football this season.
There could have been potential for Zouma to go out on loan this season to play regularly; the fact that Mourinho has kept him at Stamford Bridge dictates that the Frenchman needs to feature a lot more than he did last term.
It’s close to the end of an era
Terry turns 35 before the end of the year and will be under no illusions that he is going to play forever; as such, Chelsea need to have a contingency plan in place to cater for the future.
With the ageing centre-half starting to show signs of his age, it is the perfect time to start a process of reducing the team’s dependence on the veteran – as has been done with Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba in the past.
This does not mean relegating Terry to fringe status overnight, but the realisation that the defender’s time at the club is coming to an end sooner rather than later is a sensible outlook.