The tough task facing Andre Villas-Boas

After the first half of Chelsea ’s humiliation at Old Trafford, one thing was evidently clear – this was the end of the Chelsea team as we know it. No longer does Lampard dominate midfield, or Terry anchor the defence, and concussed Drogba was nowhere to be seen.

In essence, the spine of the team that has been ever present during the most successful period in Chelsea’s history now has no place in the starting line-up of a team that wish to challenge for the top honours, both domestically and in Europe.

Most of the focus post match has been firstly on the chance Torres missed, which a one legged donkey could have buried, and the somewhat dubious tackle by left back Ashley Cole on United’s little pea. However the effects of the game may be longer lasting than the stud marks Hernandez is left with, as AVB faces the task of dismantling and phasing out players who have nearly as much power at the club as the ‘galacticos’ did during their heyday.

After the first Premier League game, AVB nailed his flag to the Torres mast, and made it clear that Drogba and Anelka were no longer first choice starters – the manager is not afraid to make big decisions, and is willing to drop anyone who is not performing, including the under fire Spaniard.

To Torres’ credit, his performance in the last two games has been markedly improved, with two assists against Leverkusen and the goal against United. Inevitably for any player under pressure, the main focus is going to be on the worst miss since time began, but there may yet be hope for Torres in a Chelsea shirt.

A huge issue for AVB is that of Frank Lampard , once the first name on the team sheet and scorer of 20 plus goals a season, yet now after an injury hit last season looks to be a shadow of his former self, and has lost at least half a yard of pace. Whilst the player can still offer a great deal to the club, ever the consummate professional and still able to take a cracking penalty kick, it is questionable if he should be starting games.

The substitution of Anelka in Lampard’s place gave the blues something extra, and yielded a goal within the minute due to the sub’s assist. Whilst Chelsea have no one to replace him with, it seems Frank will be a fixture for a little while yet, however, in January the club must be on the look for a world class midfielder – the goals that Frank no longer scores have to come from somewhere.

From having one of the strongest midfield’s in Europe, Chelsea now not only get torn apart with the opposition going straight through the middle of the park, but also lack that creative spark and goal threat they once relied on so heavily. Juan Mata looks to be a brilliant buy, and provides a huge amount of creativity, but he alone cannot revive an aging team.

Although most Chelsea fans would berate Torres for his ill-advised remarks on the age and pace of the squad, there is some truth to those comments, and his form aside, the Chelsea team as a whole needs a good shake up if they want to retain their place as one of the best clubs in the world.

Players and fans may not like the situation Chelsea now find themselves in, and with the danger of sounding like Arsene Wenger, they are almost certainly going to have a period of transition. If they do not wish to end up like Wenger’s Arsenal who have been in transition for a trophyless six seasons and counting, full backing needs to be given to a manager who has an incredibly hard task, with fans and the owner having to ignore certain more established players who question the manager and nickname him ‘bambi’ and face facts that a new era is dawning at the Bridge, and players like Terry, Lampard and Drogba may not be part of it. There is no room for sentiment in football and Chelsea fans have to face that harsh fact sooner rather than later.

Article courtesy of Rebecca Knight from This is Futbol

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