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John Terry's disappointing start at Aston Villa

Sunday 27th August 2017
Steve Bruce described John Terry as the ‘signing of the summer' after procuring his signature in July. Nearly a month into the season, fans disagree.

The 36-year-old's uninspiring performances have Villa Park faithful worried the former Chelsea and England captain is no longer up to the task.

Friday's 1-1 draw with Bristol City saw Terry singled out for criticism. He foolishly gave away a cheap free-kick that led to City's goal, a poor reaction to failing to clear his lines. As well, he could have drawn penalties for hand ball in the box more than once.
Terry struggled in a back-three before Bruce changed the shape in the first half. Regardless, after five games many supporters have seen enough. Terry has played so few games in the last 12 months. The fast-paced Championship was always going to be a challenge. It's hardly surprising things haven't gone to plan. The question is whether he can adjust?
Aston Villa haven't kept a clean sheet in the five Championship games Terry has started. The Clarets have conceded nine in total. Bruce has had to staunchly defend the centre-back amid recent criticism, much as Jose Mourinho did Wayne Rooney in 2016-17. The difference is Terry has already had his change of scene.

Terry is currently being left in the shadows by the man he replaced as club captain this summer: James Chester. The former West Brom defender has made more tackles than Terry, although the pair are matches on interceptions. Chester has blocked more shots than Terry, cleared more balls, and been stronger in the air.

It's still early days for the veteran defender, however. Bruce claims Terry is making a big impact behind the scenes even if results on the pitch haven't been the best. But fans will be much more concerned with what they can see. Aspirations for a Premier League return are fading with Villa currently sitting 15th in the Championship. The club's road form hasn't helped either.
Aston Villa don't keep possession very well, too often inviting teams to attack. Glenn Whelan provides a shield in front of the back four but he's no spring chicken himself. Opponents with pace can get at him and Terry.

Unless Bruce opts for a compact set-up to protect his backline, before springing the counter attack with pace in the wide areas, an isolated Terry might be liable for a number of goals this season. Such thinking may be why the manager tried three at the back for the Bristol City game, offering Terry extra cover with central defenders to either side. The Robins early goal turned the worm, however.

It appears that if Terry is going to turn things around with Aston Villa, he's going to have to help himself.
Crippy Cooke

Crippy is a long-suffering Aston Villa supporter and weekly football accumulator enthusiast.

Stealing a living, the balding 27-year-old boasts a wealth of writing experience - Telegraph, Independent, Huffington Post, Zoo Magazine, Daily Mail, ITV Football, MSN Sport, Yahoo Sport, London 24 and Bleacher Report.


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