It’s fair to say the 2012/13 domestic campaign was one to forget for John Terry. With knee injuries hampering his game time, the Chelsea skipper was handed just 11 starts and three sub appearances by Rafa Benitez and with his position as a first-team regular seemingly under threat, many Fantasy managers overlooked the centre-half as last season began:
The return of Jose Mourinho changed all that. Terry was immediately reinstalled to the heart of the Blues backline and went on to start 34 of Chelsea’s league fixtures, dispelling any concerns over his fitness. With the Stamford Bridge outfit returning to their resilient best under Mourinho, Terry’s displays helped his side concede just 27 goals all season and earned their skipper second spot in the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) defender standings – a score of 172 points dwarfed the previous campaign’s paltry 66 under Benitez.
Bearing in mind that Chelsea eventually ended the season with 19 clean sheets, their first few months were particularly porous. After 16 Gameweeks, Terry had mustered just four shut-outs as Mourinho’s side struggled to keep out their opponents – with both Stoke and Sunderland putting three past Petr Cech, our faith in the Blues defence was starting to falter.
A change in approach re-ignited the Fantasy potential of Chelsea’s backline, though, and Terry was one of the main beneficiaries as Mourinho’s men embarked on a run that saw them concede a mere nine goals in the remaining 22 league matches.
The alteration to the Bonus Points System suited Terry’s style of play perfectly – 22 of his 29 bonus points came courtesy of his 16 clean sheets, whilst three goals and an assist highlighted the centre-half’s attacking potential in the opposition box. Indeed, Terry earned more bonus points than any defender or team-mate on his way to a finishing 11th overall in the FPL standings and second only to Eden Hazard amongst Mourinho’s men.
A price rise is inevitable on the back of last term’s displays, with Terry potentially moving to 7.0 in FPL after averaging 5.1 points per game – just behind Leighton Baines’ 5.3 amongst regular defenders. Compared to team-mates, Terry’s attacking output may have been matched by Branislav Ivanovic, but the Serbian weighed in with just 16 bonus points by comparison and resultantly averaged 4.4 ppg; unless the latter can deliver more attacking points next time round, this pattern seems set to continue and should ensure the Chelsea skipper is the likeliest source of points.
Such a climb in cost could still prove excellent value, however; having recently signed a one-year contract extension, Terry – providing he steers clear of injury – looks poised to continue alongside Gary Cahill at the heart of Mourinho’s defence and if, as expected, Chelsea continue with the same approach, acquiring at least one of their defenders looks a canny tactic. Chelsea’s defensive record on their travels against the rest of the top eight – just two goals against in seven matches – also highlighted just how reliable Mourinho’s regulars were and whilst the midfield and attacking positions are likely to be rotated once again, a security of starts at the back seems far greater.
Indeed, some may look to double up on the Blues backline as we assess how the change to the BPS affected our tactical approach – given the superior value in defence, there’s a chance that Fantasy managers could place greater emphasis on acquiring big-hitters at the back and spending less in midfield. Given that only four midfielders managed to better Terry’s 172 points in 2013/14, he is likely to remain solid value in spite of a price rise – ideally, Petr Cech’s shoulder injury offers Mourinho the perfect chance to now install Thibaut Courtois as his new number one and a favourable price for the stopper across the Fantasy games could prove to be the dream double-up ticket.