Following a worrying first half performance and, likely, a stern talk from Antonio Conte at half-time, Chelsea handily beat Championship side Wolverhampton to move into the FA Cup quarterfinals. The 2-0 win was also a nice occasion for some of the backups and youth, who took to the pitch in midfield and the three-man backline.
One such player was Chelsea captain John Terry, making just his 10th appearance of the season. Despite his increasing age, his increasing lack of pace, and his increasing lack of playing time this season, Terry still gave a solid account of himself as Chelsea's centre-most defender, making 11 clearances (second to Nathan Aké’s 13) and leading the team in interceptions and blocked shots.
Afterwards, goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, who was also making a rare start, sang JT’s praises, while crediting the defenders for dealing with Wolves’ numerous crosses and balls into the box.
"Yes, absolutely [John Terry has still got it]. I mean, he has been a world-class defender and arguably the best ever in the Premier League’s history."
"He has got talent and ability and when he is called to play; he is reliable and he is there to be used. We have great competition for places, especially in that defensive area, and whenever he is called upon to play we are very comfortable."
"It is important when you don’t have a much of a chance to show your quality that you bring something to the team when you are called upon. Obviously as a team are doing really well, so it is difficult to change your team on a weekly basis. But, given the opportunity, it is nice to show what we can do."
"All the boys who were in front of me [were great]. Especially the three centre halves, I thought they were fantastic. JT, Zoums and Nathan, so they helped out a lot."
"They stayed together and we had to deal with a lot of crosses and high balls into the box. Eventually as the game went on we tried to stop those things coming in and that helped a little. We did really well."
Terry has been a Chelsea player since 1995, and the official team captain since José Mourinho's first season in 2004. But at 36 years of age and after well over 700 appearances (second-most all-time), it would appear that his time at the club is coming to an end. His contract is set to expire this summer and there have been no rumors of another extension coming. Meanwhile, the club legend is already planning for his post-retirement future and taking lessons towards his coaching badges.
But as far as Begovic is concerned, Terry could still play at a high level.
"You don’t get the sense [that it is close to the end]. I mean the way he trains every day, he is fit as a fiddle so I don’t think he is coming to an end. In his mind and what he is planning to do is something that he can answer, but I can see him continuing to play. When he is playing like this I don’t see why he should quit, but obviously two trophies would be a great way to go out, so who knows?"
-Asmir Begovic; source: Goal
The last of the Old Guard, JT’s exit or retirement will certainly be the final end of an era at Chelsea Football Club. Doing so with one or two trophies would be absolutely perfect. So, let's do it!