Water Under the Bridge?

Tick… tick… tick… the clock is winding at Stamford Bridge…. Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is known for giving his managers a very short leash. Iconic boss Carlo Ancelotti was sacked just one season after winning the Premier League and FA Cup, and other managers can attest to some short spells too.  Luiz Felipe Scolari was sacked after just league matches, and was one of 6 different managers to take the helm at Stamford Bridge since 2007.

He's available, will Roman turn to Guus yet again?

So here’s the question of the hour. Will the Russian billionaire sack his still-fresh manager before Christmas? Chelsea has already lost 4 matches, and have yet to fire on all cylinders. Dropping 12 points off the league lead with just 12 matches played cannot sit well with the business tyrant… I mean tycoon. Despite splashing his cash, recent signings highlighted by Fernando Torres have not lived up to the hype that surrounded them.

So what needs to change at Chelsea? Perhaps a manager is the first step. Villas-Boaz is still just 33 years old, and perhaps has taken over a team that he never had a chance of gaining full control of. Guus Hiddink, with his numerous years of experience has already taken this post once, could the mad scientist/owner try this concoction again? Perhaps a new approach is in order. Chelsea haven’t had a full-time British manager since Glen Hoddle in 1996. Instead of hoping for lightning in a bottle with a youthful novelty such as Mourinho or Guardiola, Chelsea may need to consider a wiser more experienced coach to lead the team out of their current funk. Other names that come to mind are Marco Van Basten, Mark Hughes, and of course Hiddink.

In terms of their actual play on the pitch, multiple issues are evident. First off, the Blues have struggled to keep the ball out of the back of their own net, conceding more goals than 11 other Premier League teams at the moment, and keeping just two clean sheets this season. Offensively it’s clear that some changes are becoming necessary. Torres’ struggles have been well documented, but there’s another culprit here at the moment. Didier Drogba is a shell of the player he once was; recording just 1 goal this year compared to an average of 21 goals per year since joining the Blues in 2004.

An overall change in the offensive system may be more effective, though. Juan Mata, to me, looks more like a wizard each week I see him play, and would be best used down the center of the pitch where he sees more of the ball. Raul Miereles, David Luiz, and Nicholas Anelka also need more playing time. Daniel Sturridge has been somewhat of a roller coaster ride, but he consistently finds the back of the net (scoring Chelsea’s only goal on Sunday). Overall, some tinkering may need to be done to find out which players are in form, and which are on their way out.

Both Nino and AVB are under immense scrutiny

The underlining theory here is not that one thing will fix whatever plagues the Chelsea squad at the moment. Heck, the John Terry sagas (yes plural) alone can be a factor in distracting the team! But all in all, the man making all the calls will need to be careful in his next move. If Abramovich decides to sack AVB, he’ll need the right manager for March, not November. The season is still young, and plenty of teams have won the PL with 4+ losses; the need for panic isn’t upon us, but it is starting to set in. Your move Roman…

 

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