What Should We Make Of The Confrontation At Cobham?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 11: Chelsea Manager Andre Villas Boas looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Chelsea at Goodison Park on February 11, 2012 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

It will come as no surprise to anyone following English football to learn that Chelsea are having a hard time of things lately. I'm going to go ahead and assume that's true of everyone here, so there's no need to go into too much detail about the horrible slump we're currently mired in*. There's no denying it, anyway. Something is wrong with the club - we're playing badly and on a string of miserable results.

*If you somehow managed to stumble upon this site immediately after emerging from a sheltered life under a rock, I would advise you to go seek medical treatment immediately because you're probably malnourished. You should consider suing your parents.

Over the past few weeks, we've been hearing more and more complaints about the reign of Andre Villas-Boas, and now we've hit the apparent boiling point. The fans are mad, the football media's been itching to take the manager down a peg since he showed up in England as a handsome, well-spoken young man with as much respect for them as they deserve and now the players are apparently getting involved.

Rumour has it that there was something of a contretemps between the players and the manager in front of owner Roman Abramovich, with things getting rather heating as everyone blamed each other for the debacle at Goodison Park last weekend. I'm skeptical that things are quite as bad as they're portrayed - if they were we probably wouldn't be relying on the Sun for all of our misinformation - but there's no doubt whatsoever that there's a problem at Cobham.

So what should be done about it? I've been having my difficulties with Andre Villas-Boas recently, what with the failure to play a 4-2-3-1 and continued insistence on a defensive scheme that is murdering us and all. That said, I've long advocated the need for a huge change in the way the player/dynamic works at the club, and so I have some sympathy for the manager here. Even if I, like many players, am beginning to question his competence.

If there really is a player vs. manager struggle at the club, it wouldn't be the first time, and this sort of thing always has a huge impact on the way the team plays. If the unruly players are just going to do their own thing this has to be stopped, and permanently. Player power has to be broken if we're ever going to have a team that isn't rooted in the old ways, something that will become increasingly ineffective as the years roll by.

Even if Villas-Boas doesn't turn out to be any sort of answer to Chelsea's other problems, I hope Abramovich gives him his backing to rule the roost without interference from his charges. From the outside, the team has looked dysfunctional almost since the first title. Breaking the hold certain players have on power can only be good for the club in the long run, because unless dealt with, this is going to be a problem that plagues every Chelsea manager for years.

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