Nine months ago, double-winning manager Carlo Ancelotti was sacked. It didn't take Chelsea very long to replace him with Porto boss Andre Villas-Boas, who had won the Primeira Liga and the UEFA Cup Europa League in his first year in charge. Most (including me) were fairly giddy with the appointment. Villas-Boas was young, smart and exciting.
Since his appointment, Villas-Boas has lost some of his lustre. He's been drawn into fights with the press, the results haven't been nearly as good as we'd have liked, the kids aren't playing and there are rumours of rifts in the dressing room. Fortunately, the manager knows that things aren't good enough right now - but he's committed to the 'project' regardless.
Are we a better team than in September? No, not really. The beginning of the season were our best results. We were solid, creative, positive. At this level, you shouldn't be allowed a transitional year, but the project for next year is good and is being built and we believe a lot in it, so we will be able to compete at a different level [next year].
-Andre Villas-Boas. Source: Fulham & Hammersmith Chronicle.
Personally, I'm pretty vexed at some of the things Villas-Boas has done. It's difficult not to look at Chelsea's defensive structure without wincing, and being in fourth place after our long run of top three finishes is fairly embarrassing. I know it's silly to expect us to breeze through the Premier League, but after so many years of success, it's difficult not to.
However, I share the enthusiasm for Villas-Boas's long-term plans. Chelsea need to rejuvenate the squad and everything is pointing to a complete revamp this summer. Despite my reservations about what's going on in the here and now, I'm still pretty excited about the future. I remain convinced that the Blues are going to come good under AVB's leadership. The man has his warts, so I can see people falling off the bandwagon... but as far as I'm concerned, things still look pretty good in the long run.