In case anyone didn’t know, André Villas-Boas has been sacked as Chelsea manager and Roberto Di Matteo has been installed until the end of the season, meaning he should be sacked by mid-April. Anyway, this is the latest of a series of sackings by oil tycoon, Chelsea owner and complete madman Roman Abramovich, who is fast turning Chelsea into a complete laughing stock.
I should point out that this will not be an objective post. I hate Chelsea. I hate Chelsea’s players. I hate Chelsea’s fans. You may be a completely perfect person with no faults at all, but if you support Chelsea, for ninety minutes each Saturday and occasional weekday I will hate you and vehemently support whichever team Chelsea may be playing. This might be because my dad has this view, but I really do hate many Chelsea players. John Terry, for example, is a disgusting person. Regardless of the result of his latest scandal, he has been involved in so many over the years that I am having an extremely hard time even starting to believe that he could be innocent. Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole should be sacked for the way they behaved towards AVB, putting so much pressure on the young manager to play them despite both being players towards the end of their careers, and Didier Drogba goes down like he’s been shot any time an opposing defender gets near him.
I do feel sorry for AVB. He was brought into Chelsea with a frankly massive transfer fee reserved usually for top-class players, and immediately was hailed as Chelsea’s saviour. He’d masterminded Porto to a season unbeaten with 27 wins and just three draws and won the Portuguese league, the Portuguese Cup and the Europa League. He’s the youngest manager to have ever won a continental trophy, and the third youngest to win the Portuguese league. With all of these accomplishments having been made at the age of 33, many Chelsea fans believed he was the spiritual successor to José Mourinho that Chelsea have so badly lacked in these past few seasons. And for a few months, it actually looked good for AVB. He brought in Juan Mata, Romelo Lukaku, Raul Meireles and Oriol Romeu, highlighting his faith in youth and his policy to usher in a new era at Chelsea. His “project” also began well in the league, as they went four games unbeaten before crashing to a 3-1 loss to Manchester United, a game only remembered for THAT Fernando Torres miss. But after that they drew with Fulham and smashed Swansea, Bolton and Everton (scoring 12 goals in the process). Chelsea were also doing well in Europe, winning two and drawing one of their first three games.
It’s a shame AVB couldn’t keep it going. Arsenal beat them 5-3 in an absolutely mental game, and there were also losses to QPR, Liverpool (twice) and Aston Villa. They did beat Man. City, and cruised past in-form Newcastle, but they weren’t consistent enough. Torres epitomised this, sometimes putting in performances of the highest quality but just lacking that killer edge he so often had when playing for Liverpool. AVB was also criticised for dropping Frank Lampard, despite his age meaning he has a limited number of years left, and preferring the likes of Romeu, Mata and Ramires. David Luiz was made a scapegoat by Gary Neville and others, and AVB was slowly put under more and more pressure to get results, and then Chelsea travelled to Italy to face Napoli.
This was always going to be a difficult game. Napoli boast talent such as Marek Hamsik, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edison Cavani, all highly sought-after by Premier League clubs. And after 45 minutes, Chelsea were winning, Mata sidefooting home a volley. Chelsea fans had a glimmer of hope. Could they possibly win where Man. City had capitulated? In short, no. Napoli scored twice in eight minutes and added a third later on, to consign Chelsea to their fifth game without a win. But it wasn’t like Chelsea didn’t have chances, they could’ve lead 2-0 at half time had Luiz not headed over a corner. They also made mistakes, Meireles and Luiz both at fault for goals, and AVB was criticised for his team selection which saw Lampard and Ashley Cole dropped. This, then, was the beginning of the end for the young manager.
Despite beating Bolton 3-0 the next week, a 1-0 loss to West Brom, a team who had previously never taken a single point from Chelsea, was the final straw for Abramovich. Villas-Boas was removed from his post, despite his defiant press conferences and his three year project. And yet, despite the mistakes and failures, I still don’t think this was the right decision. AVB cost Abramovich roughly £40 million over his time there, and there’s no one really available. Guardiola? Why would he leave Barcelona? Mourinho? Surely he wouldn’t want to be under Abramovich again. Benitez? Hasn’t had much success since Liverpool won the Champions League. Moyes? No experience at top level? Capello? Probably wouldn’t want to manage in England. Eriksson? Don’t make me laugh.
Regardless of who Chelsea pick, poor AVB will feel frustrated that the players never really responded to his new style. He came across as a very humble, passionate and calm man who I, for one, will miss in English football.