Chelsea will go nowhere without managerial stability
The merry-go-round of managers at Chelsea will never bring sustained success, writes Alex Sharp
The inevitable axe has swung. Andre Villas-Boas is no more and Roman Abramovich is searching for yet another manager at Chelsea.
The 34-year-old Portuguese is out after having failed to keep the Stamford Bridge egos happy and clearly struggled to motivate them for a fight for fourth place in the Premier League
Was it fair? Villas-Boas won just 19 of his 40 games in charge of Chelsea – the lowest win percentage at the club since Glenn Hoddle. That is sackable form at any top European club but Chelsea are in a transition, the old guard are on the way out and new blood needs a chance.
This “project” Villas-Boas talked of wasn’t conjured up with Abramovich in the same room and he was evidently hired back in June as a flavour of the month.
The Russian billionaire risked a lot, and as ever paid a lot, but has been unwilling to forgo a season to build a formidable side once again.
Instead he’s opted for Roberto Di Matteo for the rest of the campaign. A new manager provides a catalyst for improved performances but let’s not forget Di Matteo will be tainted by his association as Villas-Boas’s number two – and he struggled to improve West Brom.
The wages, astronomical transfers and the idea of ‘buying the title’ are crippling the game and creating a harsh, uncompromising atmosphere.
Look at Arsenal, without a trophy in seven frustrating years but after a sensational derby win and resolute victory at Anfield, the grass is now looking a lot greener at the Emirates. The fans aren’t now hounding Arsene Wenger and even Theo Walcott is getting a few cheers.
The dire situation down at Stamford Bridge must have Wenger smiling from ear to ear. Liverpool somehow lost to his Gunners, Chelsea flopped, Newcastle drew and crucially Spurs lost.
If you take away the Arsenal ‘Invicnibles’ and the Champions League final jouney of 2006, then finishing fourth with this season would be near the top of Wenger’s accomplishments at the club.
The squad was depleted after losing Cesc Fàbregas and Samir Nasri, while Jack Wilshere limped away into injury obscurity.
So the start was absolutely abysmal and incrementally, Wenger has hauled his players back into the Champions League places to perhaps challenge Spurs for the automatic third spot.
His previous squads have been blessed with world class players, legends of the game, but he has had to fight a chronic injury list and lack of solid, available transfer targets.
Now, a third-place finish in the league would surely quiten his doubters if he builds properly for a title assent next season. Wenger deserves a successful, trophy laden swan song.
Abramovich has an obvious blueprint to follow at Arsenal and more eveidently at Manchester United. Consistency is the key and the merry-go-round of managers at Chelsea will never bring sustained success.