For the first time in 177 matches of managing Chelsea, Jose Mourinho substituted his captain John Terry.
The veteran centre-back was withdrawn for ‘tactical reasons’ at the halfway point of the Blues’ 3-0 walloping at the hands of Manchester City, with the superior speed of Kurt Zouma required to safeguard against counter attacks from the opposition.
Mourinho’s move echoes sentiments of Rafa Benitez, who concluded Terry’s old age wouldn’t permit him playing two matches in a week during an interim spell at the Stamford Bridge helm in 2012/13.
A gravely offended Terry expressed his disdain at the Spaniard’s decision when accepting the Premier League trophy last season, a title he helped the club to win by playing every minute of every match.
However, having been dug out by his current boss for another physical flaw – this time for his lack of speed as opposed to gas in the tank – the former England skipper is sure to be seething.
Similarly, with Chelsea known to be in the market for another centre-back, Everton’s John Stones is their number one target, Terry must be wondering how big a part he has to play in his club’s future.
With this in mind, the bwin odds gurus drew up a market on who would start more Premier League games this season, Terry or his Etihad replacement, Zouma?
The prices are conclusively in favour of the former, going 2/5 he begins more matches than his French counterpart, who can be backed to win this particular duel at 7/4.
Despite his half-time withdrawal, logic dictates Terry won’t be dislodged, but Mourinho has previous when it comes to taking on untouchable members of the teams he has managed, namely with Iker Casillas at Real Madrid.
He also banished staple centre-back Pepe to the first-team fringes during the same reign, selecting youngster Raphael Varane ahead of his disgruntled compatriot.
So if Terry speaks out about his substitution, he could soon find himself behind relative rookie Zouma in the Chelsea pecking order.