Chelsea are going through an extremely difficult period. It is easy to forget that this is a team that won the premier league just two years ago. The majority of the team is the same as the team that won the premiership, so it is difficult to understand what could have happened to cause such a downward spiral.
Chelsea, under Jose Mourinho, were by far the best team in the premiership, and one of the best teams in Europe. Since the departure of Mourinho to Inter Milan, there has been a large number of managers in charge, such as Luiz Felipe Scolari, Avram Grant and Guus Hiddink to name but a few. None of the fore mentioned managers lived up to the standard set by Mourinho, and this was hardly surprising, given the fact that Mourinho is arguably the finest football manager in modern football. The continuous swapping of management must have had an effect on the players, continually having to adapt to the new manager’s preferred style of play. The only time the team had a manager for a prolonged period was under Carlo Ancelotti, under whom they won the league title, but he was sacked after an average second season, resulting in Andre Villas Boas taking over the reins.
Talking of AVB, he hasn’t had an easy time of it this season. He has had the media spotlight firmly over his head from the outset. As well as the media pressure, he has had the presence of Roman Abramovich to deal with. Having ploughed over £1billion of his own money into the club, he has always wanted to see success in return for his financial investment. Abramovich has brought the Chelsea career of many managers to an end for failing to deliver trophies, and mainly the champions league, and if club fortunes don’t improve drastically for the remainder of the season, Villas Boas‘ name may be added to the long list of sacked Chelsea managers.
Aged only 34, he is very young for a professional manager, and only just older than senior Chelsea players Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba. One of the main talking points surrounding AVB is whether he has the respect of his squad. The Chelsea players should be professional enough to respect any manager they have, and if it is true that AVB doesn’t have the respect of his squad, the Chelsea squad need to take a very hard look at themselves as people as well as footballers.
Another talking point is his reluctance to play Frank Lampard. Lampard has been central to all of Chelsea’s successes over the past ten years, and is still a quality player. He may be 33 years of age but is still more capable of performing at the top level. Bad team performances where Lampard has been on the bench are becoming very common at Chelsea, and unfortunately, this problem is all of AVB’s own doing.
Some of Chelsea’s recent signings have somewhat added to the speed of their downward spiral. Fernando Torres, signed for £50 million from Liverpool in January 2011, has not fired at all since joining. At the time of his arrival, Ancelotti hinted that the signing wasn’t made by him, but mainly by owner Roman Abramovich. Ancelotti seemed to realise that Torres wouldn’t fit the powerful style of Chelsea even before him signing, and Ancelotti was right. Torres has only scored 5 goals in 46 appearances, and has become an understudy to veteran Didier Drogba. Drogba is a big target man that the Chelsea style is built around, and adding a quick, technical player like Torres in his place just hasn’t worked.
Chelsea are in dire straits at the moment, and something drastic needs to be done to improve their results. Is it time for a new manager once again, or just a huge spending spree in the summer to revamp the squad? They are in danger of missing out on the champions league next season, and that wouldn’t please Abramovich or the fans.
Chelsea are in turmoil. When they will improve, no-one knows. (67)