Andy Gray: Chelsea are in a real fight for a top-four finish
Sharethematch.com ambassador Andy Gray casts an eye over Chelsea's bid to qualify for next season's Champions League
Was Andre Villas-Boas given enough time at Chelsea to make his mark? Of course he wasn’t and I think that’s very disappointing indeed.
But I think what happened to Villas-Boas was inevitable after the defeat by West Bromwich.
Eight months is never enough time at any club to make a difference, let alone a big club like Chelsea, especially when you’re asked to do what Villas-Boas was, which was reshape the side.
I just think that it’s typical Chelsea at the moment, that’s what they do. They seem to think they can find a sustained period of success by changing the manager on a regular basis and I’m not sure I agree with that.
The Chelsea supporters and hierarchy will point to the fact that they may have had eight managers in five years but they have been winning trophies and have been competitive.
Arsenal have won no trophies in the last seven years but had one manager, so they could probably point that out but that just covers up what’s going on.
I’m not sure anyone knows who runs the club at Chelsea, it seems as if the players do. I think that’s the image that people have of Chelsea right now, and it’s not helping.
The race for the top four at the moment is closer then I’d ever have imagined, it’s going to be an intriguing climax to the season.
Unless Chelsea picks up a measure of confidence under interim manager Roberto Di Matteo and find a bit more consistency, they are not going to make it into the top four.
Arsenal’s finish to the season will depend on how they recover from midweek and the success over AC Milan but ultimately going out of the competition.
On the face of it, beating Milan 3-0 is a great result but they are out of the Champions League and they know what happened after the disappointment of losing the Carling Cup to Birmingham last year, they just completely collapsed so they’ll be hoping that doesn’t happen again this year.
If it doesn’t, Arsenal have a great chance of getting not only fourth but unless Tottenham can shake of what seems to be the England hangover they have regarding their manager, it could even be third.
It almost seems that ever since Harry Redknapp was found not guilty and linked with England that Tottenham have had a problem.
So it’s important that they win as soon as they can and it’s a big weekend for them – but I do think that unless Chelsea get their act together then fourth is a long way off for them.
I think a big reason behind Arsenal’s renaissance – outside of Robin van Persie – has been the form of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
I think it would be more beneficial to take someone like Oxlade-Chamberlain to the Euros than it would be persuading Paul Scholes to get involved in one last hurrah. Whether they do take him will depend on how he finishes the season.
If he finishes it positively and strongly then I think that the newly-appointed England manager will have him in the squad.
He is a guy who can really upset people. He’s young, he’s driven and he would last the games.
That’s an easy decision for me but it’s one for the coach, if he doesn’t finish the season well then they’ll just say to him, ‘you carry on, and keep learning your trade and we’ll go from there.’