Chelsea’s 2-1 loss to West Ham in the EFL Cup last night has meant that Antonio Conte faces a huge decision over the future of John Terry.
After three clean sheets in a row with Terry out of the side, the Englishman returned and looked uncomfortable in the system that has suited the rest of Conte’s players so well. Initially stationed centrally, he moved out to the left centre back position after being turned by Michael Antonio on a couple of occasions.
The back three of Terry-Cahill-Luiz looked much shakier without the athletic presence of Cesar Azpilicueta in the mix, while the Spaniard himself didn’t impress pushed high up as a wing back.
The logical decision is to revert to the same back 5 that has served the Blues so well for Chelsea’s next league game. But that will mean definitively dropped Terry, not an easy move for any manager, let alone one who has been at the club just a few months.
Given his personality as a noted pragmatist, it seems likely that Conte will bench Terry against Southampton on Sunday. If he does, it will be a significant moment.