Despite the fact that Manchester United are playing with the most dangerous striker in all of football at the moment, Chelsea still sit top of the Premier League table two points clear of United and six points above Arsenal. And even though Carlo Ancelotti decided not to do anything over the transfer window, Chelsea still have the strongest squad depth and are favourites to get their hands on a bit of Premiership silverware come May. But beyond the incredible footballing prowess of the Chelsea squad is the fact that these world-class talents are led by John Terry, a man who’s lack of integrity (to say the least) has been recently exposed.
We saw a truly uninspired Chelsea performance against Hull on Tuesday (some credit should go to Hull for their efforts), so one cannot help but thinking the squad has been shaken up by the recent allegations. The real question that could decide how the Blues approach the closing months of the season is how the squad will react to the notion that their captain does not have any sense of common decency. Now there are a few scenarios that could play out, but I’m going to narrow it down to the two most-likely reactions that we will see from the squad.
1. Being professional footballers who make vast sums of money and care about the club’s success, the Chelsea squad will put their egos aside and focus solely on football. Also, most of these lads are heading to South Africa in June, so that might make it easier to concentrate on maintaining a high level of individual form. Arsene Wenger made the point a while back that players don’t need to be friends off the pitch to play well together, and I think this is true over a short period of time, but not as the basis of running the club. Anyway, the players could very well decide that John Terry’s actions were poor, but are just simply not worth worrying about.
2. John Terry is not just a Chelsea player, he is Chelsea captain. JT has been the club’s icon in recent era of success. To say that his acts can just be forgiven and ignored by his fellow players, as well as the Chelsea supporters, is just too idealistic. We often forget that many footballers at major clubs like Chelsea are role models for their respective communities. Players of Terry’s stature are meant to be supporting charities, not impregnating former teammates’ significant others. Sure, once you’re on the pitch being spurred on by thousands of fans it is easy to get on with the game as usual. But training on a daily basis with captain Terry, who is instructing you or giving you advice, could prove to be far too much for any footballer to deal with. If this is the case, Chelsea could find themselves in some very rough waters over the coming weeks.
(By the way, it should be noted that Michael ‘The Bison’ Essien’s absence due to injury has been tough for Chelsea as well.)
So go on and have your say! Will Chelsea be able to fight on to win the Premier League, or will the recent events off the field prove to be too much for the squad to deal with?