The old adage about not truly missing something until it’s gone was never more applicable than to Chelsea being bereft of their sometimes undervalued stalwart’s services for a month.
The correlation between John Terry’s absence and the Blues’ sharp decline in form was too startling even for the ex-England star’s fiercest critics to brush off.
Given the unparalleled consistency of the veteran Chelsea captain’s form over the past few seasons (when accusations the defender was a spent force became prevalent), it’s difficult to imagine the 35-year-old still attracts any detractors from a football perspective at least.
With JT commanding the Londoners’ rearguard, Antonio Conte’s new side scooped up maximum points from their first three Premier League assignments to the loss of two goals, before their on-field leader sustained ligament damage to his ankle in the eventual 2-2 at Swansea.
Smarting losses to top-four rivals Liverpool and Arsenal followed home and away, in matches where the leadership credentials of Gary Cahill in particular were heavily scrutinised in his teammate’s absence.
Seeing who Conte sacrifices to make way for Terry is an intriguing prospect, yet rumours abound that the Italian may well revert to the three-man central defence that served him so well at Juventus, meaning Cahill and David Luiz’s spots are retained.
One of the other huge positives in restoring their talisman to the ranks is his threat from set pieces, especially against the Premier League champions next, who’ve shown an uncharacteristic susceptibility to conceding from them in 2016/17.
Claudio Ranieri’s men gave away three goals as a direct result of corners in their 4-1 loss at Old Trafford in September and that won’t be lost on the likes of Cahill and Terry who provide genuine aerial threat at Chelsea set plays.
The Blues are 4/7 chances to begin the post international-break action with victory at Stamford Bridge.
Keep an eye on our goalscorer markets as the week unfolds if you fancy a scoring return for their defensive pillar who netted against the Foxes last April.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing