It is remarkable to think, given the value and experience of the Chelsea back four, that they could look so fragile without John Terry – but the effect of his absence against Arsenal on Saturday was startling.
Antonio Conte’s pursuit of defensive re-enforcements in the summer eventually ended with the capture of former club favourite David Luiz and full-back Marcos Alonso in the final few days of the transfer window.
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) September 18, 2016
To be fair to the Spaniard, he has had little opportunity to yet show how he has improved as a footballer since his first spell in English football but it might well be, that if Chelsea had shown more faith in a former youth academy graduate, then his signing might have been unnecessary.
Conte’s team looked worryingly inept at the back in the London derby, while across town the following evening, a left-back deemed surplus to requirements was a standout performer as Southampton coasted to a 3-0 win and a clean sheet.
Ryan Bertrand put in an eye-catching shift on the left flank for Southampton against West Ham and got the assist for their opening goal.
The 27-year-old joined the south-coast outfit on a permanent deal from Chelsea in 2015 after spending the previous season on loan.
Bertrand was loaned out repeatedly during his time at Stamford Bridge having regularly been overlooked for the first-team squad.
After eventually tiring of waiting, he chose the St Mary’s Stadium and has flourished since, becoming an ever-present despite the club’s managerial changes and is a regular England squad contender.
I still to this day don't know why we got rid of @ryanbertrand3. ? always loved him at Chelsea! ?
— Rosie (@RosieCFC) September 25, 2016
It is no secret that Conte might look to switch to his preferred 3-5-2 formation in the near future as he seeks to address his side’s defensive failings.
That system will likely see Alonso deployed in the wing-back role.
Bertrand’s recent performances though, and the quality of his crossing on Sunday, suggest the right man has maybe already been allowed to move on.