It has been a strange start to the season for Chelsea as Jose Mourinho seeks to retain the Premier League title, but for club stalwart John Terry, the first three games may serve as a reminder that at 34 years old, he is nearing the end of his long career at Stamford Bridge. Yet that is not the case with new expensive signing Pedro from Barcelona who is just beginning life in London after a frustrating few seasons with the Catalan team. The Sunday encounter between West Brom and Chelsea at the Hawthorns provided a glimpse of the old and the new as the Blues completed their first victory of the season by a 3-2 scoreline.
Chelsea had begun the campaign by drawing 2-2 at home to Swansea with ‘keeper Thibaut Courtois dismissed after conceding a penalty. Worse was to follow just a week later when the Blues suffered a 3-0 defeat at Manchester City during which Terry was replaced at the interval in what Mourinho described as a ‘tactical’ change. The veteran centre-back, who began his senior career at the club in 1998, had not enjoyed the best of times as waves of City attacks threatened to overwhelm the Chelsea defence and there were suggestions that his regular slot in the team was endangered.
Meanwhile, Mourinho persuaded Pedro (Pedro Eliezer Rodriguez Ledesma) to sign for Chelsea rather than Manchester United, and for the Spaniard, it was hopefully an opportunity to feature more often in a starting line-up after 23 league appearances as a substitute for Barcelona last season. Pedro has also been a regular goalscorer for the Catalans having netted more than 10 La liga goals in three of the past six campaigns despite not being selected as a regular starter.
Both Terry and Pedro both appeared in the Chelsea starting eleven at West Brom on Sunday but it proved to a contrasting afternoon for the pair. Pedro opened the scoring and then provided the pass for Diego Costa to double the lead during an afternoon in which he tormented the left side of the home defence.
As for Terry, his afternoon ended early in the second half as he was not only adjudged to have impeded new Baggies striker Salomon Rondon but also preventing a goalscoring opportunity as the last defender. It appeared that the English international was struggling to cope with the pace of the West Brom attacker, and while his dismissal was confirmed by the referee, it was clear that Mourinho disagreed with decision.
Yet it is now for the Chelsea boss to decide upon the immediate future of John Terry and whether he may be an increasing liability in the centre of the defence. No such problem exists for new signing Pedro as he appears set to become a fixture in the team for this season and beyond especially if future performances compare with his impressive display at West Brom.