Chelsea is bad but is it really that bad ?
I've been reading a whole lot of articles about Guardiola lately. Apparently, he decided that money wasn't the answer for him and he wasn't going to sell his soul to that devilish club because the man has some bloody standards. Yes, we all know that for a couple of years now, Chelsea has been known as the club with the managerial revolving door. WE GET IT.
Speculation about our new managers is a constant and I must say we have deserved it. We have had seven managers since Mourinho's departure in 2007. That's seven managers in 72 months and an average of 10 months per manager.
That does sound bad doesn't it? But is Chelsea really that bad? Are we really so bad that every article must constantly refer to us as "Let's-fire-him-for-the-sake-of-it-in-chiefs?". Well the media seems to believe so, why shouldn't we?
Before delving into the reign of these post-mourinho managers, let's analyse two defining elements of Abramovich's Chelsea.
Firstly, Abramovich is an impatient business man, and he wants results. It cannot be denied, the man has the power and he's using it. I believe he sets a lot of people against his own standards, which must be sky-high (I mean he did win the shadow-war for Russia's aluminium). He's also invested a lot of money in the club and he deserves to be asking for trophies. This is a partial explanation to some of Chelsea's behaviour.
The second and most crucial factor in Chelsea's behaviour is that the board is desperately trying to improve their global reputation. They want to reach Real Madrid/Barcelona/Manchester United fame. This is where all the "Chelsea-wants-tiki-taka-style" articles come from. It's true, tiki-taka is the new thing and Chelsea wants a slice of it. Since Abramovich's arrival, everything about Chelsea must be flashy, exciting and new. This is why, Chelsea scouts are scouring Europe for the best talents, and this is why Chelsea bought Torres for 50mil. Who in the world was more marketable (globally not to football supporters) than Torres in 2010-2011? It's an easy one, Beckham, Messi, Ronaldo. The man was - and still is - a good-looking player, he hasn't delivered but the day Chelsea bought him: I praised Abramovich for getting such a fantastic player to the bridge. I probably sounded like a United fan hearing about Van Persie.
I personally believe this explains Chelsea's behavior since Mourinho's departure. Let's take a closer look at the past managers
- Avram Grant - tenure : 1 year. Didn't even have his coaching certificates when he started managing Chelsea. Personal friend of the Boss. Inheriting, in my opinion, the best squad in the EPL, he didn't win a trophy. I am sorry to admit it but even though the man wasn't a bad boss. He just didn't represent the new Chelsea, he had no charisma and the players didn't seem too fond of him either. After a heartbreaking final he was gone.
- Luiz Felipe Scolari - tenure : 7 months. The man had won the world cup, had a great reputation and was definitely an improvement on Grant. He was the first true victim of Chelsea style sacking, he was clearly sacked because Abramovich was impatient. But let's not forget Chelsea was doing badly in the league, had lost to Brighton in the league cup and nearly lost to Southend United in the FA cup. Couple that to rumours that he wasn't controlling the dressing room and the board rightly (I mean he did state in an interview that he came for the money and for a new place for his son to study, which doesn't rate you high in my book) decided to fire him.
- Guus Hiddink - tenure : 4 months. Did great, I loved him, you loved him, the players loved him. They did give him an engraved watch, a shirt and a job. Why didn't he stay? Well he was managing Russia and is a man of his word. I suspect that had he not been managing Russia, he might still be the manager today. Yes another manager had come and gone but he was nothing but a success for us.
- Carlo Ancelotti - tenure : 2 years. What can I say? Got us the double one year, was fired the next. I loved that man. Once again we had a man the fans loved and the players loved. His firing was like a hammerblow, and he is now deservedly managing lowly french club PSG. What a fall from grace. But in all seriousness, this was insanity. What was the board thinking? It made no sense to me because the man was a class act. The only logical reason is AVB's arrival. He was fired because there was a new guy in town. One who represented what Chelsea wanted - and wants - to become, young, strong and brilliant.
- André Villas-Boas - tenure : 8 months. He was hired because Chelsea wanted their Sir Alex Ferguson. Remember all those articles? "AVB is one for the future" "AVB will lead us through the years" etc etc. He was supposed to be the answer for Chelsea; he was even linked to the special one! Admittedly, the squad wasn't fantastic and I've loved his signings so far. Mata, Cahill and De Bruyne causing mayhem in Germany. It is said he tried to change things too rapidly and had lost the goodwill of key players Drogba-Lampard-Terry. If Lukaku's statements are anything to go by, he was not a man-manager and did not withstand the pressure of his new position with grace. Ultimately, he made the fatal mistake of enforcing a formation that was bound to fail because he didn't have the necessary players. If we had but waited until summer, he would have offloaded those other players and built a new squad. He was not given the time and is now proving that he can do the job at Tottenham. Important note: he baffled many by getting rid of star performers Modric and VDV. See the pattern here? If you don’t: he isn't able to handle strong characters and/or troublemakers. So maybe, he wouldn't have been able to succesfully rehaul the squad.
- Robbie Di Matteo - tenure : 7 months. The greatest manager alive for a couple of months, he was rewarded with Hazard, Oscar, Marin and Moses. I believe he did make a mistake by letting Meireles go. But ultimately, Abramovich never wanted him and was awaiting the "acceptable" opportunity to fire him. Abramovich wanted Guardiola but he couldn't exactly fire Di Matteo after winning the CL could he? He was never anything more but interim for the board and he did crash out of the CL, which hadn't happened in a decade.
- Rafael Benitez - tenure : hurgh. I have to admit, as a non-english Chelsea supporter; I didn't become a fanatical fan until 2008-09. I used to support Chelsea, and I only played as Chelsea on Pro Evolution, but I had no qualms with rival managers. So, us-hating-Benitez was news to me. Of course, I was disgusted for RDM and as a show of solidarity to my fellow suporters; I decided to dislike him as well. But, I just couldn't shake the feeling that I liked him and that, yes I admit it, Torres might start scoring under him. All I can say is that after some initial hope... hurgh. Sure the squad is thin, but if it really is please recall someone like Essien, who after a rough start to the calendar year is actually doing a good job for Real Madrid. Sending Piazon to Malaga was utter foolishness. Malaga is just as strong as Chelsea this year. They have proven it multiple times in the CL and the Liga. One might argue that if we get first refusal on Isco then it will all be worth it, but are we? Let's just hope he can keep us in the CL spot.
To conclude, have we ever really fired someone who didn't deserve it during the Abramovich era? Yes, we have. Ancelotti. We could definitely argue on Scolari's commitment and on Grant's abilities. AVB is a more complex matter but I believe Lukaku's quotes on the man serve as a great illustration of the man's character. If you weren't his product, he wasn't using you and we have all seen what Lukaku can do. I also remember that moment last year when a few players rushed to hug AVB after scoring a goal. It looked fake and weird. It really was cringe-worthy. We could also argue that RDM did not get us in the final stages of the CL but that was down to one terrible game against Juventus and our inability to hold a score (can someone tell me how many times we were up a goal, or two to eventually draw or lose the game? I've stopped counting) something we were brilliant at last year and are even worse at under Benitez.
All we can do now is hope Benitez comes good until the end of the year. I hope Hiddink returns.
On a side note, let's look at 3 other clubs. I have selected these because they are well known clubs in the EPL have a decent amount of cash and Guardiola. I have also included caretaker managers since everyone seems to count ours.
- Sunderland have had 6 managers since McCarthy left in March of 2006.
- Newcastle United have had 7 managers since Roeder left in May 2007 (and 12 since Sir Robson left in 2004)
- Bayern Munich have had 6 managers since Magath left in January 2007. (that's just one less than Chelsea!)
So is Chelsea really that bad? No, it isn't. Of our 6 last managers (excluding Benitez). One, we wanted to stay. Two had obvious problems with the squad and results were terrible. One wasn't a great manager but recent years have proven the board was right in letting him go. One was a hero, who got us the Champions league crown but didn't even get us in the knockout stages the year after. And one was a fantastic manager who was fired for an experiment that sadly did not turn out well.
And finally just for rumors sake, and to make myself feel happier, Willian joining Anzhi could turn out as a great move for Chelsea. If he doesn't succeed and if his relationship with Hiddink is good. What club do you think the dutchman is going to recommend?