John Terry deserves player of the season gong
“But it will not be two games a week, carrying on playing”, a lot was said before this and a lot after this by Rafa Benitez in 2013, but this particular sentence started the talk about John Terry being gradually phased out of the Chelsea team he entered in 1990 from club’s youth system, is he really over? Will Lampard be the new Chelsea captain next year, if he goes?
The “not so famous” league clubs had their ear’s alert, all starting to prepare a big money package to lure JT to play for them, but Terry and a certain Jose Mourinho had other plans for his career.
Two years later and Terry has played every minute of all Chelsea matches in the EPL campaign till the time this article was written, only 6 other defenders are able to boast this, this season, all at least three years younger than Terry.
Terry has been phenomenal this year, under his leadership Chelsea have not only conceded the fewest number of goals in the league, but he has also contributed five goals for the team, with the goal against Liverpool making him the highest scoring defender in Premier League’s history. And his header against the Spurs at Wembley on 1st March helped Chelsea land the Capital One Cup.
It is no surprise that I have always felt that the football awards have been against defenders. Nemanja Vidic(twice) and Vincent Kompany are the only two defenders that have won the Premier League player of the Season (better known as Barclay’s Player of the Season) award. Both United and City, lost more matches than Chelsea have lost this season and had a worse discipline record than John Terry.
Terry has been in sublime form this season, having the best tackle success rate and making the highest number of tackles, as per Opta, his defensive partner Gary Cahill is second.
The defense partnership of these two, and the freedom that Terry is given thanks to the role played by Nemanja Matic in the defense has been vital to Chelsea this season. Matic’s arrival took a little pressure off Terry, freeing him of man-marking duties, something that defenders find harder to do with age, owing to the lack of speed.
Picking out a few crucial tackles would be unfair to JT, except a couple of occasions he has played his heart (legs) out in every match, his stand-out performances proving more crucial in the crunch schedule that Chelsea had in April.
Marina Granovskaia must have found it difficult to not offer a new contract to him, hard as a nut negotiator that she is, Terry may have saved her embarrassment too by accepting the offer much less than his current one because he wants to continue playing at the highest level. That shows the commitment that he has for his game and for the club.
It is true that football is won by the team which scores the most, and for that reason the scorers are acknowledged and paid more than those who stop them, but in this particular season, I have a strong vote in favor of John Terry to win this award.
There are players who have scored in important matches this season, made beautiful dribbles and scored screamers, but in every match that they have played against Chelsea, they all have faced a rock of wall in front of the goal and Terry being at the heart of it.
They had all faced his tackles and not many succeeded in scoring against them. Chelsea’s 28 goal scored against is eight less than second placed Manchester City. He has been at the top of his level this season, and has executed the job given to him in the game i.e. defending, to near perfection.
And this dedication, crucial goals and string of match-winning performances certainly deserved this year’s Player of the Season award, at least in my book. And I hope that the judges finally give this defender what he deserves.