After Chelsea’s defeat at the hands of Liverpool, it got me to thinking of the reaction of the man upstairs – no not God, he wouldn’t be too fussed, he is evidently a Barca fan – but Abramovich. I am sure the majority of people will feel that not only will Roman be using his speed dial to call Guus Hiddink, but also getting out the cheque book for January to purchase a very overpriced and unwanted centre forward – the usual solution to his problems. Early rumours suggest that Berbatov for £60 million is the favourite, but Roman is open to suggestions at this early stage.
On a more serious note, as much as I detest the excuse of being in transition, this is somewhat true in the case of Chelsea this season. It is not to say that AVB does not have much to learn – he does, and judging by the recent results, he is not the diet version of Mourinho as many Chelsea fans feared initially, but the Tesco Value version on the reduced shelf.
This being said, no matter who the manager, they would struggle with the Chelsea side at the minute, which is riddled with both division and the demise of a once great spine. Former key players Terry, Lampard and Drogba are not only the wrong side of thirty, but look a yard of pace short – especially in JT’s case, and off the field issues aside, Terry has serious issues to worry about concerning his form – or the lack of it.
For too long now the centre back has been covered by better partners – Gallas and Carvalho had more than a hand in the rock tight reputation the Chelsea defence once had, and now with less able partners – Luiz springs to mind here – Terry is exposed like never before and it is as evident as Rooney’s hair transplant.
This is not the only issue facing AVB, and much has been made of not only the lack of quality in the centre of the park, but also the issue surrounding the strike force at the Bridge, with strong intrest in both Drogba – who is in contract negotiations at Chelsea – and Anelka from AC Milan, which has only intensified since the heart surgery on Cassano. Neither are certain to be at Chelsea past January, and with one legged donkey Torres looking like he couldn’t finish his dinner, Chelsea’s one prospect up front is Danny Sturridge.
No disrespect to the young lad, who is quite rightly highly respected, but when you compare this with City’s strike force, or Real Madrid’s, it becomes evident that Chelsea have a long way to go both domestically and in Europe before they can really be in contention for the top prizes again.
One thing that AVB must improve upon or risk deserved criticism is the way in which Chelsea defend. At best it can be described as poor, and is costing them points in key games. Once renowned for their mercenary defence, now there are gaping holes all over the field, little protection in front of the back four, with the centre back pairing defending as well as my 4 month old kittens could – and they chase their own tails.
This has been a long time coming for Chelsea, and Abramovich must take some blame for this as much as his money has saved and made the club – he is just as at risk of destroying all the work done through both his managerial merry go round providing no consistency for the players and the fans, and also forcing players on the managers.
Abramovich wants what he cannot have, and it is a case of the grass being greener. Mourinho provided unprecidented success, but this was not enough. Ancelotti won a title and FA Cup – not enough. Now in AVB Chelsea are at least exciting and uncertain to watch – mostly due to their defending. This is not even mentioning the alarming rise in player power at Chelsea – a Real Madrid situation is not what the club need and it must be stopped before it really starts.
Chelsea need a manager who can build a dynasty at the club, and AVB is both young enough and talented enough to do this – think back to Fergie when he took over United – for the first couple of seasons his job was in real jeopardy as he tried to rebuild the club and put his faith in the youth. This is something AVB must be given time to do. In three years if things are just as bad and the team are regressing, then yes it will be time for what seems the hundredth manager in the last 8 years, but for now, Abramovich must give him time and support, or risk the club becoming a laughing stock – and an unsuccessful one at that.