John Terry looks likely to have played his final match for Chelsea after being sent off during the latter stages of a 3-2 defeat to relegation battlers Sunderland on Saturday 7 May. The long-serving captain, who has been at Stamford Bridge since the age of 14 and has made in excess of 700 first-team appearances during his eventful career, was shown a red card at West Brom back in August 2015 and his second of the season means that the usual one-match ban for two yellows will be extended to include an extra game.
That would see Terry ruled out of the visit of champions Leicester City on the final day of the season in addition to the midweek trip to Liverpool. The 35-year-old is out of contract in June and has not been offered a new deal, meaning that his 21-year stay at Chelsea, featuring four Premier League titles, five FA Cup triumphs, three League Cups and winners medals from both major European club competitions, will come to an end this summer unless there is a late change of heart instigated by new manager Antonio Conte.
Interim boss Guus Hiddink was critical of referee Mike Jones' decision to send off his skipper after the full-time time whistle, labelling the decision as "too impulsive" and revealing that the player was left just "sitting and staring" in the visitors dressing room at the Stadium of Light. The first yellow card was awarded for a foul on Defoe, while the second was given for a rash challenge on Wahbi Khazri.
Ninth-place Chelsea did take an early lead against Sunderland through Diego Costa, but were pegged back courtesy of a sensational Khazri volley. Nemanja Matic restored their advantage just before half-time, but two goals in three minutes from Fabio Borini and Jermain Defoe helped the Black Cats to leapfrog Newcastle out of the relegation zone and take a huge step towards top-flight survival.
Reflecting on a thrilling encounter, Hiddink told Sky Sports: "It was an odd afternoon. It was a very intense game. I think we started very well first half, we got an easy lead. I think later on we didn't materialise our advantage in the game and we invited them into the game in the last part. We reacted well at 2-1 just before half-time. Second half, we could have scored for 1-3. We didn't and we invited them into the game again. They did very well.
"On half-time it was a blow and we should have scored before already. We invited them in the second half as well. Although we could have scored through Diego once or twice, we didn't do so they felt still the opportunity."