John Terry used to be the guy who never made mistakes. But in the past month, ever since it became common knowledge that he had been sleeping with Wayne Bridge's former girlfriend, errors in judgment have rapidly become the defender's stock in trade.
His misjudgments in the bedroom cost him the England captaincy, and almost cost him his marriage. Distracted no doubt by the subsequent outrage, Terry has become increasingly guilty of defensive lapses almost every time he plays and is being punished every time he slips up. Two mistakes against Everton, and Chelsea conceded two goals in a 2-1 defeat; another slip to allow Diego Milito to score for Internazionale in midweek, and Chelsea lose again; against Manchester City Terry was caught out by a terrible back header from John Obi Mikel but instead of snuffing out the danger, he allowed Carlos Tevez in to equalise and start the avalanche that ended with Chelsea having nine men and losing 4-2. Four mistakes, four goals, three defeats. Not good news for England in a World Cup season.
A banner at Chelsea reads 'JT Leader and Legend'. A couple of other names were on the lips of Terry's former Chelsea and England team-mate Bridge as the teams lined up before kick-off. The will-he-won't-he dilemma of whether Bridge would accept the hand of his former best friend dominated the build-up.
One by one the City players accepted the hand of the former England captain, until it came to Bridge. The former Chelsea defender's hand was up but he threw the first dummy of the afternoon and swerved around Terry's mitt without so much as a look at the man he used to call his mate. Tevez, the last man in the City line, immediately followed suit in refusing Terry's offer of a quick shake. The Argentinian striker was the only team-mate to join Bridge in his boycott of Terry, who was sporting a new Mohican haircut for the occasion.
No shake for Terry, and no great shakes by his team either. A dour opening 40 minutes ended with Frank Lampard putting Chelsea ahead. However a catalogue of errors by Chelsea defenders, including Mikel, Terry, Ricardo Carvalho and Henrique Hilario allowed Tevez in to equalise, all from a hopeful clearance by Bridge.
Chelsea fans remained loyal to their hero JT, chanting his name and booing Bridge every time he touched the ball, an uncharitable welcome for a player who six seasons ago scored one of the most famous goals in Chelsea's recent history, the winner at Highbury that decided a Champions League quarter-final with Arsenal.
However it all started to unravel before the home fans' disbelieving eyes. Craig Bellamy scored two second-half goals, either side of a Tevez penalty, Bridge was replaced after 78 minutes with a knee injury, and as he disappeared down the tunnel he resisted the urge to break into a smug grin.
Clearly snubbing Terry and securing a famous victory cannot make up for the emotional hurt he is feeling. However his return to Stamford Bridge could hardly have gone any better for Bridge, nor any worse for Terry.