It’s only a mere 10 months since Chelsea sacked Carlo Ancelotti following defeat to Everton in May 2011. Now in March 2012 his successor Andre Villas Boas has suffered the same fate following this weekend’s 1-0 defeat to West Brom.
As a Chelsea fan there’s no denying this season so far has been a huge disappointment; with too many points dropped in lacklustre draws and a notable lack of goals upfront. Of course, not all the blame can be lumped on AVB – well publicised issues with senior players (who perhaps need to start thinking primarily about the team’s success rather than individual achievement), and a still misfiring Fernando Torres have not helped. Combined with the daunting task of bringing in younger players in, whilst maintaining a challenge in all competitions, the job is always going to prove a difficult balancing act for any manager.
So did AVB deserve the axe? Like Ancelotti before him I have to say yes. As an ambitious club, hoping to challenge in the Premier League and Champions League year in, year out, results are EVERYTHING. With Chelsea currently in fifth and in real danger of missing out on Champions League qualification for next season, whilst it may seem harsh to not to let AVB see out his project to the end of the season, now seems the perfect chance to re-focus the team on achieving fourth position, before a more radical overhaul in the summer.
With former player Roberto Di Matteo appointed as Interim Manager until the end of the season, I hope these closing months will provide the opportunity for the club to reassess the performance of the team, and perhaps give younger talent such as Romelu Lukaku, Oriol Romeu & Ryan Bertrand more prominent opportunities.
As for AVB, I genuinely wish him all the best for the future. Last summer I was delighted about his appointment and believed he could be the manager to reinvigorate the squad. Sadly that was not meant to be. But would any other top six Premier League side take such a bold risk in signing such a young (and still) promising manager? I think not.
Between now and the end of the season there will no doubt be endless speculation regarding the next permanent Chelsea manager. Jose Mourinho would be the obvious favourite (who wouldn’t want ‘The Special One’ back?!). I say let’s just concentrate on getting the results we need for fourth.