Petr Cech and John Terry Will Return for Chelsea's Clash with Stoke City

Sam WestmorelandFeatured ColumnistJanuary 11, 2013

It's been over a month since Chelsea have had a fully healthy back line and goalkeeper, but at long last, the Blues will have a full squad for Saturday's clash with Stoke City

Veteran defender and longtime captain John Terry and superstar goalkeeper Petr Cech are reportedly set to make their return to the lineup this Saturday when the Blues travel to Stoke to take on the Potters, according to a report from Sky Sports. 

 

John Terry and Petr Cech both in Chelsea squad travelling up Stoke. Cech needs late test, Terry is fine after comeback in U21s yesterday#SSN

— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 11, 2013

Getting both Cech and Terry's veteran defensive presence back at the same time is a massive boost for a Chelsea squad on the outside looking in at the Premiership title race. They currently sit in fourth place, a full 14 points behind leaders Manchester United and 7 points back of second-place Manchester City in the race, meaning they have absolutely no margin for error going forward. 

While backup goalkeeper Ross Turnbull is a solid replacement, he reminded Chelsea fans why he had been Cech's backup for all these years with some occasional hiccups at the back, missing saves that the veteran Czech keeper would have undoubtedly made. Cech's return will surely boost the Blues' defensive fortunes, as he's much better at organizing and commanding the defense than Turnbull, and his propensity for stellar saves will keep the Blues close in matches they have to win. 

Of equal importance to Cech is veteran leader Terry. While the England international is no longer the elite defender he once was, he will surely provide a more stable back-line presence than the combination of Branislav Ivanovic and David Luiz. Terry has lost a step, but his leadership and poise will be invaluable to the Blues as they try to rally for the title. 

Given Chelsea's recent run of form, these two couldn't have arrived at a better time. The Blues have suffered from frequent defensive lapses without Terry and Cech.

While the pair won't fix all of the team's defensive issues, they will certainly give Rafa Benitez's team a serious boost at the back, which should free up their talented midfielders to create more scoring chances.