In a not so shocking development, Chelsea sacked their coach again. This time it was someone, hailed a few months ago, as the hottest manager in Europe. Andre-Villas Boasai??i?? time with Chelsea started with optimism but ended in the same grieving way as it did under any coach post- Mourinho. Many Chelsea fans will be happy that Villas-Boas has been sacked but Villas-Boas should actually feel relieved, happy even, that he is no longer a part of the Chelsea ai???projectai??i??.

Last season, the moment Abramovich sacked Ancelotti, everybody knew that it was gross injustice to the Don. The Italian had led the London club to a double in the previous season and was on course for another glorious year when Chelsea suddenly imploded. This implosion could have been because of several factors but the Ray Wilkins sacking episode is likely to be the chief amongst them. Once Wilkins walked away, Chelsea lost the plot and went from being potential champions to fighting for a CL spot.

It was shocking to watch Abramovich fire Ancelotti despite the Italian fulfilling most of the wishes desired by the Russian. Chelsea played attacking, attractive football but were unable to capture the Championsai??i?? League. Roman Abramovich seems obsessed with the Championsai??i?? League trophy but he needs to understand that CL cannot be won by any coach in his first or second year unless he is someone like Pep Guardiola with the likes of Messi, Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets in his squad. Ancelotti was rebuilding the squad, providing a new direction, stamping his authority but Abramovichai??i??s patience ran out.

'Project' failed

And then this season, bringing in a new manager who has no Champions League experience but asking him to make Chelsea the kings of Europe with a set of players in their twilight was a task that would beggar belief. It was a task for which Villas-Boas coined the word ai???projectai??i??. The basic part of this project was to play attractive, attacking football with an emphasis on newer, younger players. Because, Chelsea had invested so much into their squad in the previous years, they could not go for established young stars all together. So, they started shrewdly.

Ai??Juan Mata was the bed rock on which this Chelsea side would be built. Oriol Romeu was bought from Barcelona for the future and Lukaku was bought as a potential replacement for the mighty Drobga. Chelsea also had a few aces up their sleeve from their academy. Josh McEachran, widely considered by Chelsea fans as their next big academy star, and Daniel Sturridge were on the cusp of first team opportunities. Villas-Boas had started well. He had identified the core of the team and his signings showed his willingness to change the Chelsea style of play.

It is no secret that Villas-Boas has been an admirer of Pep Guardiolaai??i??s philosophy at Barcelona. After his unbelievable Europa League triumph with Porto, AVB, as he is fondly called, dedicated the victory to Guardiola. The Portuguese tactician was an admirer of attacking football, pressing and moving forward rather than staying back and defending. When he was brought to Chelsea it was clear that it would take a lot more time for Chelsea to acclimatize with Villas-Boasai??i?? philosophy.

Previously, the Blues’ backline had triumphed playing defensively and playing in a retreated formation rather than high up the field. Ai??John Terry may be considered one of the top defenders in the world, but it was actually Ricardo Carvalho who was the unheralded star of the defense, holding the defense together with his impeccable reading of the game. It did not help matters that Ricky was finally replaced, with Alex and Ivanovic either unavailable or used elsewhere, by David Luiz – a hot head, who is more of a ball-playing midfielder than a game-reading defender. The combination of Luiz and Terry was not a perfect match. It stumbled under Ancelotti and Villas-Boas inherited the same combination.

The defeat against Arsenal at home had proved that playing a high backline with this defense was nothing short of suicidal. So, Villas-Boas went back to this drawing board, abandoning all his attractive plans and set out to play the Chelsea way to get results. When Valencia came to the Bridge, Chelsea stayed deep, allowing Valencia to attack but had ultimately made it to the next stages of the Champions League playing defensively.

This was the game that may have affected Villas-Boas and his strategy. With his team clueless when playing a pressing game and a high back line, which was his vision for this football club, the Portuguese was torn between getting results and staying true to his vision. It showed in his tactics that he was trying to balance the both and this is where he had lost the plot. The senior statesmen at the club who thought that they were being sidelined were unhappy.

At Porto, Villas-Boas had the deadly Falcao, who would score goals in almost every match being the terrific finisher that he was. He had Hulk for company who would ensure that the Colombian ahead of him had an able partner to finish things if required. At Chelsea, the price-tag bearing Torres was thrust upon Villas-Boas and with Drogba aging and Lukaku still not ready, the Portuguese manager had no other option but to reignite Torres and search for an able partner for him. Daniel Sturridge showed promise but Sturridge is himself happiest in a central role, scoring goals as opposed to creating them.

Yes, there is no denying that Andre Villas-Boasai??i?? man managing skills need to improve. The way he sent out Anelka and Alex was not a very pleasing sight for the fans and most players. His stubbornness in dropping Lampard due to differences despite the midfield under-performing did not help matters. But, the players deserve the greater share of the blame. Lampard expressed his displeasure in public disrupting team harmony and the players looked to be laboring on the field rather than enjoying the game giving an impression that they are better off without Villas-Boas.

Owner-Player nexus too strong?

Now, in such circumstances, it is the duty of higher management to put their foot down and warn the players against any potential trouble-making. Villas-Boas even pleaded for a word of support for his ai???projectai??i?? in public. As you would expect, it never came. The player-owner nexus was too strong to be broken.

After Villas-Boas was sacked, Abramovich held a meeting with only the players and attributed some blame to them as well. Now, if Abramovich knew that the players were at fault, why did he not stop them then? Why sack a manager and then chide the others? John Terry, after the Birmingham match, openly quoted that the players were responsible for Villas-Boasai??i?? sacking. If the captain, the owner and the higher management knew that the players have been under-performing and were creating differences in the dressing room, why did they not stop them? Why sack the manager who had given everything he had to turn around a club’s fortunes?

Yes, the past few weeks have been horrible for Chelsea but who does not go through such patches? Alex Ferguson, widely considered to be the best coach currently, did not start winning in his first season. In fact, it took him more than ten years to win a CL trophy. Arsene Wenger still has not won it with Arsenal. Jose Mourinho could not do it with Chelsea. Real Madrid did not win a single trophy for four years when they kept sacking coaches while making a team consisting of Zidane, Figo, Raul, Casillas, Owen, Morientes, Beckham, Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos to name a few. Florentino Perez realized his folly in his second term and his emphasis has been on stability rather than instant success and you can see the tree now bearing fruits. There are lessons out there to be learned by Chelsea and Abramovich but it seems that they are too stubborn to learn.

Villas-Boas has had moments in which he has demonstrated his true potential. The way he came back at United in the second half at Old Trafford and the spectacular formation his team played against QPR are few shining examples of his tactical prowess. Sadly, Stamford Bridge will not experience them again.

The grand old man, Alex Ferguson was kind enough to support Villas-Boas when he was sacked. He said, ai???When you are young you need time and obviously in this industry you don’t get a lot of time unfortunately, so it is sad in a way. I hope he does well because he has got the potential. His work at Porto can’t be ignored and I hope he comes back into the game soon.”

The Arsenal manager, ArsA?ne Wenger, also backed Villas-Boas and criticized Chelsea for not giving the Portuguese enough time. “All I can say is I feel sorry for Villas-Boas because I know him and I like him as a manager and as a man,” Wenger said.

“I am sorry he was not given enough time to do his job. You cannot say that it’s an impossible job. Our job is difficult because we face multiple opinions every day and we need as well to have the strength to push our own opinions through, and many times despite big resistance. But I’m sure that Villas-Boas had the strength to do that but when you’re not given time you have no chance.”

And then there was Guardiolaai??i??s endorsement of Villas-Boas being a ai???fantastic coachai??i?? and Redknappai??i??s statement that he would the pass the Chelsea job if asked for and then the brilliant Swansea coach, Brendan Rodgers nailed it when he ruled himself out of the Chelsea saying that he wanted to build his career and not destroy it.

Roman Abramovich may be the most passionate Chelsea fan but his shortsightedness, his inability to reign his players and back his managers can only prove to be disastrous in the long term. Andre Villas-Boas, on the other hand, will have plenty of options to choose from. He is just 34 and a wealth of ‘Chelsea experience’ on his side and more importantly the tag of being a champion with Porto.

This sacking is actually a boon than a bane for the Portuguese manager. The moment he started with Porto, comparisons with his mentor, Jose Mourinho, sparked off to never end. Even, when he took up the job at Chelsea, everybody expected him to be like Jose Mourinho and win like Jose Mourinho. His time at Chelsea has proven that Villas-Boas is in no way similar to Mourinho and comparisons with the Special One are hideously unfair. He will be glad that the monkey is off his back.

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3 Responses to “Andre Villas-Boas Is Better Off Without Chelsea – Not Vice-Versa”

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  1. Chelsea 4 Ever says:

    What does RizwanAhmed really know about Chelsea and the club’s inner working’s? I shall tell you…NOTHING. He merely lists here a few paragraphsof hearsay gleaned from the tabloid newspapers. It is a load of cut and pasted tripe, probably most of it is not even true. This was a waste of five minutes of my life!!!!

  2. CFC is shit and a joke says:

    Good for AVB

  3. Shivam says:

    ^ The guy above me. I suppose from one of the plastic factories in manchester