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Villas-Boas needs time to rebuild

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Phil McNulty | 14:36 UK time, Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Andre Villas-Boas will have Roman Abramovich's millions at his disposal to cement his reputation at European coaching's rising star - but the new Chelsea manager's most precious commodity at Stamford Bridge may be something even the Russian cannot buy.

Villas-Boas has been handed a three-year contract by the Premier League club and given the traditional mission of every Blues manager - to fulfil Abramovich's fantasy of winning the Champions League.

And the 33-year-old Portuguese will know that the shelf life of Abramovich's chosen ones shortens considerably if they fail to deliver the owner's required silverware.

Jose Mourinho's list of successes meant he lasted almost the equivalent of a lifetime under Abramovich, ending up at Stamford Bridge for more than three years.

But World Cup winner Luiz Felipe Scolari was out after seven months and Carlo Ancelotti was sacked after a single season without a trophy only 12 months after winning the domestic double.

Abramovich's patience is notoriously short but, having invested more than £13m to prise his latest manager out of Porto, even he may now accept the wisdom of stability and give his surprise choice to succeed Ancelotti years rather than months to make his impact.

Andre Villas-Boas was a success at Porto.

Villas-Boas has been a big success during his short career. Photo: AP

At just 33, the same age as new charges Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba, Villas-Boas will also need to exert his authority on a group of Chelsea players who have aged together and may need convincing of the pedigree of Abramovich's latest incumbent.

Villas-Boas, however, is not short of the confidence and self-belief required to survive the Abramovich regime. This is the man who, at just 16, glided a note under the door of then Porto coach Sir Bobby Robson criticising him for leaving out striker Domingos Paciencia. When asked by the great man to justify his claims, the teenager did so by way of meticulous statistics.

It is this attention to detail that resulted in him serving time under Mourinho at Stamford Bridge, assessing opponents and providing DVDs to ensure no nasty shocks lay in store for Chelsea's squad.

The difference now is that Villas-Boas may now need to show some of those same players the door rather than a DVD.

Former Chelsea and Scotland winger Pat Nevin told me: "Everybody knows that this is a really interesting time for a coach to come to the club. A number of players are at a certain age and they can't go on forever.

"Villas-Boas faces a choice between trying to get the best out of the players or re-adapting the side."

The arrival of Fernando Torres at Chelsea has already led to speculation about the future of Drogba, who has been the centrepiece of Chelsea's game plan since he arrived under Mourinho. Porto's Colombian striker Radamel Falcao is being heavily linked to join Villas-Boas at Stamford Bridge.

"Chelsea have always been a power team that plays through Drogba but Villas-Boas plays with width, using Hulk out on the right-hand side, Joao Moutinho as a fine creative player and Falcao as the old-fashioned goalscorer in the Ian Rush mould," said Nevin.

"Falcao has already been mentioned for Chelsea. He gets himself in the right positions and you can bet your life he will score goals if he plays in a good team that creates chances.

"Whether that works with Torres, who knows? But I would think Villa-Boas' style is directed more towards a Torres than a Drogba."

Drogba's next move will be seen as a sign of the future under Villas-Boas. And, barring a disastrous reign, the Portuguese will almost certainly be the manager to call time on the Chelsea careers of men like Lampard and captain John Terry as the club moves into a new era.

Villas-Boas must also find the formula to fire up Torres, who looked a lost soul after arriving from Liverpool in a British record £50m deal in January. As a purchase seemingly driven by Abramovich as opposed to Ancelotti, it is highly likely Villas-Boas has already been made aware of the Spaniard's place in his and Chelsea's future.

Didier Drogba (left) and Fernando Torres in action for Chelsea.

Villas-Boas must make important decisions about Drogba and Torres. Photo: PA

Whatever decisions Villas-Boas makes with regard to Chelsea's established order, they are likely to shape the success of his reign. And given he appears to be a young coach in a hurry, the suggestions are he will not waste time reaching his conclusions.

"This has been the best and most successful Chelsea team there has been but it can't last forever," said Nevin. "If you look at the successes of Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United or when Liverpool were so successful, they didn't rebuild teams by getting a job lot of players in at once and kicking a job lot out.

"It can work but more often than not it won't and Villas-Boas will probably make his changes slowly but surely. There might be a couple of big players in during this transfer window and maybe a couple more in January.

"As I said, this Chelsea team cannot last forever and change will have to come. It is a transformation other coaches maybe felt they needed to make but they weren't there long enough to be able to do it."

Villas-Boas at least has knowledge of Chelsea's inner workings and a passing acquaintance of the culture that has built up at the club. Now he must decide the scale and speed of change.

Nevin is excited by the arrival of this fresh face at Stamford Bridge. "I think you can divide Chelsea fans into two groups," he said: "There are the ones who have been around seven or eight years and the ones like me who have been around a hell of a lot longer.

"The more recent ones want success yesterday and the ones who have been around a lot longer accept it takes time to build and that no club has a divine right to win trophies. I think the ones who are a bit older will be more excited by this appointment than the other group.

"I'm really looking forward to seeing how Villas-Boas does. I was impressed with him when I saw his team last season. The one thing that stood out was that he was clearly a personality who wants to win - and I suggest that is a very good start."

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    He'll be 1 of the great managers, hope he delivers us(chelsea)the champions league and our rival fans have somthing to think about till august

  • Comment number 2.

    Well thankfully this job has not been taken by a British manager which should mean that Chelsea will dare to challenge Man Utd in the annual two horse race!

    Still, If Man City throw enough millions at different players, who knows? We may even have a 3 horse race!

  • Comment number 3.

    I hope I am wrong, but I can see him being gone by January.

    Anyway, good luck Chelsea fans and hopefully we have a good exciting league next year.


    *missing football already*

  • Comment number 4.

    @2
    Villas-Boas has a British Origin, his grandmother was British(England), so I am not saying you're wrong and i agree about the two horse race and maybe even 3 with man city

  • Comment number 5.

    VB has definitely got his work cut out, but so has Ferguson - two aging squads that really need a good refresh.

    Forget this talk of a two horse race, I predict the top four next season will look very unfamiliar.

  • Comment number 6.

    Not many of the journalists saw this one coming......... Fantastic. Chelsea have had, what is it, six managers in four years and yet, with all that upheaval they've won nearly as many trophies as united. Players are more important than managers with rare exceptions. Only Mourinho can really influence a game for ninety minutes currently. SAF is often very weak tactically. Who knows about this chap, certainly not many 'football writers'. So let's calm down and see what the PL looks like at say, Christmas.

  • Comment number 7.

    Good luck to him. My advice to him is to play Daniel Sturridge

  • Comment number 8.

    Already the media is naming him the Special one II. So that doesn't allow him to show his own personality in and on the game.

    Also next year will be a different Prem with more than 4 teams fighting for the top 4 let alone the title.

    Man City will probably double whatever Chelsea spends, and an appointment like this will only spur them to make more signings.

    For all there good services to make Torress a sucess the attack line will need to be built around him, as Toress still needs to prove his value. But i think Boas will be more suited for Toress.

    I think its an exciting appointment, and hopefully he will bring in some continental football to the Prem.

    I do hope that Chelsea give him a chance and dont expect to much to quick.

    I think Ray Wilkins said something or note about the ability of the new coach to handle the bigger world class players with their big egos and strong minds.

    Hidink was almost a cert and i am sure a few people lost a fair few bob betting on him.

  • Comment number 9.

    I am certainly looking forward for the new seson because it will not be a 2 or 3 horse race but a 6 horse race. Liverpool is back and Totenham is getting better and certainly Man City with their money has broken in into the top four. Lets not forget Arsenal. I am exited as to how Chelsea will play next season. and @ 1. You are jumping to conclusions too fast. We have to wait and see how this manager shapes the team. I thinkt that like Pat Nevin said that Villas-Boas will bring change to this ageing Chelsea team. I think that the older players will leave and Villas-Boas will shape this team around Torres with wingers supporting him just like he used in Porto. I don't think there will be automatic success although i want it to be because I'm a big Chelsea fan.

  • Comment number 10.

    Looking forward to seeing his style of play first hand! Think it will be a properly fantastic season this time up and a 3 horse race for the PL. Man U obviously hot fav's again and rightly so but if this guy is as good as people say and my beloved city strengthen in the right places it will go down to the wire! I cant wait already!! Europa League final was terrible but you could see this guy's qualities then...given Zillions of pounds and an already excellent team we could all be in trouble if he gets a proper chance

  • Comment number 11.

    @4 Well if comes down to between Chelsea and Man U (and i'm fairly sure it will) then I will be rooting for Chelsea all the way.

    Still Villas Boas has a lot of issues he needs to sort out:

    1. Getting Torres firing again
    2. Gradually replacing Terry and Lampard
    3. Getting Essien fully fit and back to the player he was two years ago
    4. What to do with Drogba and Anelka
    5. Introducing some width as only Malouda offered it last season.
    6. How to ensure that he gets the players in that he wants and not that Abramovich wants!
    7. Juggling the Champions League and Premier League!

  • Comment number 12.

    For the sake of others trying to win the league, hope torres stays and becomes 1st choice striker at chelsea.

  • Comment number 13.

    Quietly optimistic about this appointment. I won't get carried away yet but everyone who knows him well/worked with him speaks highly of him.
    Ancelotti clearly didnt have a plan B, and struggled and/or didn't change tactics ever. Where as AVB seems tactically astute and his planning is second to none.

    I am a huge fan of Drogba and hope he stays as we can't rely on Torres, as who knows if he will ever come good again..other players have fizzled out at a similar age before. And given the ages of Drogba and Anelka..think Falcao would be a worthy signing for now and the future.

    If he does prove to be a good manager, i hope he is given time and backing.

  • Comment number 14.

    @11 .... how sure is "fairly sure" ? Remember City finished level on points with Chelsea with "team in progress"

  • Comment number 15.

    Slightly worried as a United fan, but its a good appointment for Chelsea. Should be a great season next year. He has a great chance to do well as he can build a new team with most of the old stars nearing retirement. However, he needs to win something in his first season to secure his job for next year.

  • Comment number 16.

    Complain about this comment (Comment number 8)
    Comment number 9.At 16:21 22nd Jun 2011, nabi8 wrote:
    I am certainly looking forward for the new seson because it will not be a 2 or 3 horse race but a 6 horse race. Liverpool is back and Totenham is getting better and certainly Man City with their money has broken in into the top four. Lets not forget Arsenal. I am exited as to how Chelsea will play next season. and @ 1. You are jumping to conclusions too fast. We have to wait and see how this manager shapes the team. I thinkt that like Pat Nevin said that Villas-Boas will bring change to this ageing Chelsea team. I think that the older players will leave and Villas-Boas will shape this team around Torres with wingers supporting him just like he used in Porto. I don't think there will be automatic success although i want it to be because I'm a big Chelsea fan.
    ----------------------------------------
    I am a Liverpool fan, and I will admit we do not have a snowballs in hells chance of challenging for the league! Certainly not when the likes of Jordan 'Forest Gump' Henderson is been signed. Tottenham challenge? Under Happy Arry who leads a lap of celebration for coming 4th! You are surely joking? Also Arsenal who are steadily going backwards and could lose Nasri and Fabregas! As always they will be happy to secure just a top 4 finish!

    It will be the usual suspects (Chelsea and Man Utd) with possibly City challenging if they can gell quickly.

  • Comment number 17.

    Complain about this comment (Comment number 13)
    Comment number 14.At 16:28 22nd Jun 2011, swindonbluearmy wrote:
    @11 .... how sure is "fairly sure" ? Remember City finished level on points with Chelsea with "team in progress"
    -------------------------
    Well you can never be certain about anything in life but I suspect Man Utd, Chelsea (and maybe City) will be the top 3 with Arsenal clinging on to 4th. Liverpool and Spurs to battle for 5th with Everton (maybe Villa) finishing in the top 8. The other 12 teams will see success as not been relegated! Sadly the Premier League has become rather mundane and predictable due to Money.

  • Comment number 18.

    @17 - If I wasn't a City fan i'd have to agree but only being 29 the FA Cup was the first trophy ever for me and the possibility of more makes it far from mundane!

  • Comment number 19.

    Boas favours the 4-3-3 formation, but from what we've seen, Torres seems unable to adapt to this formation. It will be interesting to see whether Boas builds his team around Torres, or whether he decides to carry on with his tried and tested formation and therefore bring in suitable attackers. Surely, the real aspect Chelsea lack is flair and creativity! I hope he develops Strurridge and possibly let Kalou, Malouda, Anelka leave...

  • Comment number 20.

    @16

    Why would u wont to complain about my comment at number 8.

  • Comment number 21.

    I honestly do not understand how Man U continue to succeed. Rooney, and Vidic aside, the team lack world class players. Depending on who they bring into the team over the summer, and also whether the other pl teams step up, I can see Man U dropping quite considerably - or perhaps this is just wishful thinking...

  • Comment number 22.

    We must bear in mind that long term at Chelsea is this Christmas but the -r-e-a-l-l-y long term is next May. It has been facile to make early judgements with recent appointments.

  • Comment number 23.

    @ 20

    I reckon he was complaining more about your username than your comment.

  • Comment number 24.

    The player signings that follow will be what makes this interesting. You could have 100 different managers work with this current Chelsea squad and you'd get the same starting XI, formation and results every time. The sqaud needs a shake-up and certain players need to go. Only then will we see what Villa-Boas can do. If we sign two or three of the names we've been linked swith (e.g. Falcao, Lukaku, Neymar, Aguero, Modric, Moutinho, etc.) I would be happy to see the back of Drogba, Anelka, Malouda and even Essien. I also like to see Lampard challenged for his spot. We need to get younger and better. Villas-Boas was a good start.

  • Comment number 25.

    The problem at Chelsea has been that the owners constant interference has crept over the club like some paralysis. The owner/s at Man City and Man Utd have at
    least, for the most part, stayed in the background and let the manager and board run the club. We all know that half a dozen indifferent results will mean that the new manager will know he is on thin ice, his 3 year contract means nothing.

  • Comment number 26.

    @ 16. You are completely underestimating Arsenal. You are saying that Arsenal is going backwards but lets not forget a majority of their players are under 25. Those players have matured or maturing. Yes they fell apart last year but all they need is for Fabregas not to get injured and for van Persie to score goals as he usually does for Arsenal to do good next season. You just admitted that Liverpool don't have the squad to challenge for the title. you should be ashamed as a Liverpool fan. Gerrard is turning 31 and Kenny Dalgish at the helm there couldn't be a better time than now for Liverpool to win the Premier League. I agree on the part that Liverpool really overpaid for Henderson. I watched him during the U21 tournament, he didn't even stand out.

  • Comment number 27.

    well at least the fact some of the players are the same age as the manager might help them realsie why its time to move on. Interesting fact about this manager is he used to do all the anlaysis and prep for Mourinho. Mostly I'd like to see him given a chance to rebuild a team in serious need of rejuvenating & time to implement his philosophy. Roman needs to learn patience is a virtue, can't expect every new manager who comes in to keep winning things with what is effectively still Mourinho's team. Time will tell. Last Portugese Manager appointed at Chelsea? Big Phil. Lost his job in? January. Replaced by? ...Gus Hiddink.

  • Comment number 28.

    colinbell wrote:
    SAF is often very weak tactically.

    Unbelievable comment. I reckon he has forgot more than you know. How can you possibly comment? Are you a Professional Football manager?

    One of the most successful managers in the modern era.

    And im a Barnsley fan

  • Comment number 29.

    The main issue is he needs time, we've chosen him, paid for him so give him time to mould a team. as for this summer - anelka, drogba, malouda, mikel and possibly kalou can all leave or at least some of them and we should allow villas-boas to choose who he wants to bring in.

    we could do with falcao as a different option up front, but the main issue is creativity, with modric or moutinho hopefully arriving to add to the return of benayoun. as for the age issue, i dont understand how terry gets lumped in with drogs and lamps because he's only 30! he still has a few years left in him.

  • Comment number 30.

    Man United only won the Premiership because the chasing pack were terribly inconsistent; they were exposed by Barcelona at Wembley and by SAF 's stubbornness not to bring on two strikers when they had nothing to lose at 3-1. down. Chelsea's manager's job is the poison chalice of football, we all know that and Villas Boas will only be allowed to stay if he gets Chelsea some silverware quickly. The Champion League is a tough call, Avram Grant nearly made it but for literally a slip and look what happened to him.

  • Comment number 31.

    @5 Ferguson has an ageing squad? By the definition that everyone is ageing day by day, yes but apart from Giggs there are no pensioners there, Ferdinand is on the wrong side of 30, granted, as is Berbatov, but it's obvious that plans are in place to replace both. Always better to form your own opinions rather than rattle out some nonsense you read in a red top. It will be the usual suspects at the top this year, except Man City may have made more progress but not enough to take the title.

  • Comment number 32.

    Arsenal fans!!! as great as your team, players & manager are, this is the same story we've been hearing for 6 trophyless years! You bring us some of the best football & best players in the league, but by the time those players reach the age where they have that experience & maturity, they want to move to a club where they think the will win something, need to hold on to your best players & build on it, not keep rebuilding - on Liverpool, new owners are clearly ready to invest heavily in rebuilding the squad, I wouldn't dismiss or write them off just yet, I think we will see a much different Liverpool next season, Man U, City, Chelsea, Arsenal & Liverpool will be competeing for the top 4 places next season, someone has to miss out!

  • Comment number 33.

    @30 So basically United only won the league because they won more and lost less than everyone else? Well that's generally how it works! Barcelona didn't expose United any more than they exposed anyone else, Barca are streets ahead of every other team at the moment, mostly as a result of players brought through their youth system, there are no players any other team could buy and no tactics anyone could use to beat them without relying on a large slice of luck.

  • Comment number 34.

    @ 28 what does SAF stand for?

  • Comment number 35.

    @ 34 sir alex ...

  • Comment number 36.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 37.

    Does the appointment of Villas Boas now mean a change of Philosophy for Abramovic?

    Previously he has gone with like of Mourinho, Hiddink, Ancelotti who have all won the trophy that Abramovic craves the most.

    Now he has gone with a relatively inexperienced manager who however shows plenty of potential.

    This could indicate that he's finally ready to actually try and build something for the future and place his faith in a manager, rather than demanding instant success.

    If this is the case then Villas Boas could be the answer, however if Abramovic hasn't changed his philosophy of instant success then Villas Boas could be looking for a new job by the end of the season.

  • Comment number 38.

    @32

    I just don't see Liverpool improving. They donn't seem to draw the big player signings these days, particularly foreign players. I certainly hope for their sake it gets better than Henderson. He wouldn't get a game for any of the top 4 sides. Chelsea or Utd have sent better players on loan indefinately. Maybe the top 3 won't get any the names they've been linked with, but the intent is there and all are plausible given the club's recent track records. Could you honestly see Liverpool signing Aguero or Neymar? Even Spurs have more pulling power these days.

  • Comment number 39.

    @7
    Good luck to him. My advice to him is to play Daniel Sturridge

    -------------------------------------------------

    Yes.

  • Comment number 40.

    2.At 16:08 22nd Jun 2011, JamTay1 wrote:
    Well thankfully this job has not been taken by a British manager which should mean that Chelsea will dare to challenge Man Utd in the annual two horse race!

    Still, If Man City throw enough millions at different players, who knows? We may even have a 3 horse race!

    ----------------------------------------

    Won't inclued Arsenal though will it. They collapse faster than and English middle-order batsman

  • Comment number 41.

    Elsalvador - re. SAF or 'Lord Ferguson of Stretford' - football is all about opinions and if I want yours I'll give it you. Seriously though, Ferguson isn't the most tactically gifted coach, he's all about management. How do I know this, because I watch football.

  • Comment number 42.

    "I honestly do not understand how Man U continue to succeed. Rooney, and Vidic aside, the team lack world class players"

    Toally agree, especially now. Also @31 - you forgot someone kinda important retiring - Van De Sar, who was PL player of the season I reckon. Made all the difference.

    And on the subject of keepers, Cech is not really up to it any more, is he?

  • Comment number 43.

    Complain about this comment (Comment number 8)
    Comment number 9.At 16:21 22nd Jun 2011, nabi8 wrote:
    I am certainly looking forward for the new seson because it will not be a 2 or 3 horse race but a 6 horse race. Liverpool is back and Totenham is getting better and certainly Man City with their money has broken in into the top four. Lets not forget Arsenal. I am exited as to how Chelsea will play next season. and @ 1. You are jumping to conclusions too fast. We have to wait and see how this manager shapes the team. I thinkt that like Pat Nevin said that Villas-Boas will bring change to this ageing Chelsea team. I think that the older players will leave and Villas-Boas will shape this team around Torres with wingers supporting him just like he used in Porto. I don't think there will be automatic success although i want it to be because I'm a big Chelsea fan.
    ----------------------------------------
    I am a Liverpool fan, and I will admit we do not have a snowballs in hells chance of challenging for the league! Certainly not when the likes of Jordan 'Forest Gump' Henderson is been signed. Tottenham challenge? Under Happy Arry who leads a lap of celebration for coming 4th! You are surely joking? Also Arsenal who are steadily going backwards and could lose Nasri and Fabregas! As always they will be happy to secure just a top 4 finish!

    It will be the usual suspects (Chelsea and Man Utd) with possibly City challenging if they can gell quickly.

    --------------------------------------------------------------

    I think this is an unfair comment. I agree with you that neither Tottenham or Liverpool have much of a chance of coming top, but that doesn't mean they can't challenge for it; they'll be giving us a reason to look over our shoulders warily. And Arsenal will challenge, certainly. I'll be a bit nervous of them in the first few months but I'll have to bear in mind they will fall apart at the end again ;)
    But I think it will be a six horse race this year. Could be tight, but got a feeling it will go to City if they spend well. Otherwise Chelsea.

  • Comment number 44.

    Three weeks ago many of us were on another of Phil's blogs debating Mark Hughes's prospects of taking over Villa or even Chelsea after he quit Fulham. The reason for his resignation was that he's a "young, ambitious manager" who wanted better things. Now the plum job of the summer has gone to someone 14 years younger. Chelsea have made a smart appointment - an excellent coach, already a proven winner - but this must be pretty intimidating for British managers in their 40s, particularly those who are out of work.

  • Comment number 45.

    40.At 17:22 22nd Jun 2011, PetShopBoys_Forever wrote:
    2.At 16:08 22nd Jun 2011, JamTay1 wrote:
    Well thankfully this job has not been taken by a British manager which should mean that Chelsea will dare to challenge Man Utd in the annual two horse race!

    Still, If Man City throw enough millions at different players, who knows? We may even have a 3 horse race!

    ----------------------------------------

    Won't inclued Arsenal though will it. They collapse faster than and English middle-order batsman

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    Not as fast as your spelling, though.

  • Comment number 46.

    42.At 17:24 22nd Jun 2011, dogeared wrote:
    "I honestly do not understand how Man U continue to succeed. Rooney, and Vidic aside, the team lack world class players"

    Toally agree, especially now. Also @31 - you forgot someone kinda important retiring - Van De Sar, who was PL player of the season I reckon. Made all the difference.

    And on the subject of keepers, Cech is not really up to it any more, is he?

    ----------------------------------

    Have you not figured it out yet? You don't need 11 £200,00 a week, superstar footballers to create a succesful team. You must be of the younger generation who now think the only way to achieve anything in football is to throw shed loads of money into it!

  • Comment number 47.

    1 season + 0 European Cups = 1 P45

    This time next year we'll be having exactly the same discussion.

    And the next.

    And the next...

  • Comment number 48.

    My only worry over this managerial appointment is that at such a young age, does he has the emotional maturity and an aura, to successfully man manage a squad of established players, some of which possess large egos and who have themselves experienced a great deal of success and fame in football.

    If he can find a way to man manage the players, then I have no doubt he has enough talent in other areas to be a huge success at Chelsea.

  • Comment number 49.

    #44

    They're out of work for a reason, though, DJ.

    Sparky's head got a little too big for his own good. He may well be jobless for a while unless Joorabchian has a trick up his sleeve.

    Wouldn't surprise me, however, if he was in the North-East by Christmas. Neither Pardew or Bruce are particularly safe.

    Unless, of course, it all goes pear-shaped at Chelski and he's at the Bridge by January.

  • Comment number 50.

    It annoys me when people say the PL is mundane and predictable, name a league that isn't and look at Spain or Scotland if you want an unbearably boring and predictable title race between 2 teams!

    I think Utd will be in the Top 2 and Chelsea, City and Arsenal will be fighting for the top 4. I'm glad that Roman has dumped Ancelotti because the only thing that holds back Chelsea from winning more trophies is the owner and his desire to meddle in everything, Mourinho would have won the CL given more time.

    As an Arsenal fan providing Wenger puts his hand in his pocket (deja vu) then we can challenge but we need at least 3 established players in key positions and one of which needs to be a consistent striker, RVP is great for the 15 games he plays a season when his ankle isn't feeling poorly. We must keep both Nasri and Fabregas at all costs.

    City, same as Chelsea if the fact they have so much money is in some ways a hindrance as they have £200m worth of players on the bench crying they don't play enough and the boardroom will expect better than last season.

    Liverpool could be a top 4 challenger but IMO they are buying the wrong players, solid PL players in Henderson and Carrol yes, top class silverware winning players, i'm not so sure. Can't help but think they could spend the money more wisely although Suarez looks top class.

    Tottenham could challenge if they keep their good players and strengthen but i have a feeling some of the players want to go to bigger clubs with CL football and they have always been inconsistent, beat the rivals Arsenal but lose to Wigan for example.

    Whatever happens i'm already looking forward to the new season but am waiting anxiously for Wenger to do something about the ridiculously obvious problems we have but then we all knew the problems last January when we could have bought enough in to win something!!!

  • Comment number 51.

    @ 42

    im not sure which cech you've been watching, but the one in goal for chelsea has been back to his best recently

  • Comment number 52.

    Colin_bell

    First - very funny.

    Secondly - you're right football is about opinions. Unfortunately opinions are based on experience. In this case, in comparison, yours are insufficient to comment, if your experience is watching.

  • Comment number 53.

    #46

    Thing is, though, that Barca showed up the English champions at Wembley. I mean really showed them up.

    This is no potshot at Manure but is a reflection on the quality of the Premier League. They won the league because they were the least worst squad, not because they were the best. Both Chelsea and Arsenal fell over themselves to not win it with boneheaded mistakes despite playing better football. So congrats to Fergie for coming out on top but I defy anybody to say it was a triumph on a par with 99, for example.

    Pep's boys showed just what we are missing. Special One II has a lot of work to do. As do Fergie, Wenger, Mancini, et al

  • Comment number 54.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 55.

    dogeared

    That's why he was voted Chelsea player of the year I guess!

  • Comment number 56.

    28.At 17:02 22nd Jun 2011, ElSalvador wrote:
    colinbell wrote:
    SAF is often very weak tactically.

    Unbelievable comment. I reckon he has forgot more than you know. How can you possibly comment? Are you a Professional Football manager?

    One of the most successful managers in the modern era.

    And im a Barnsley fan
    --------------------------------------------------------

    Ergo you know very little about football.

  • Comment number 57.

    53

    Agree about Barcelona, their just class but definately getting bored of hearing "United were the least worst squad" or "United only won the league by default".

    Surely, the "least worst" squad is also the best squad and regardless of what Chelsea, Arsenal or whoever else were doing, United still had to get the points on the board, they didn't just appear from nowhere, they still had to win games.

  • Comment number 58.

    @14, City did finish level with us, but is because we gave up after the Utd game when 2nd was safe and there was nothing left to play for.

    @54 I take exception to your comments, all big clubs have poor fans it comes with success but for some one like me a ST holder with my old Man for over 20 years, attending my first game in 1976, my father in 1945, i do not call the team fake. I do not know who you support but if a Roman came to your team would you say no we do not want your money. No you wouldn't

  • Comment number 59.

    If Villa-Boas is the rising star of European football, then Guardiola is THE star. Villa-Boas could learn one or two things from Guardiola. The biggest challenge VB faces will come from the established starts, and their mouth piece, the London based or English media. If I were him, the first thing I would do would be to show Lampard, Drogba and Terry the door and replace them with fresher, better players. Make an audacious bid for Wilshere and Ramsy, for example. Once he has control of the dressing room, then he can ignore the media and be the next Guardiola. Not easy but should he start by wanting to please everyone, he might not last 10 games...

  • Comment number 60.

    Based on the very small amount I have read about Andre Villas-Boas, it would seem that he is something that the vast majority of football supporters, players and managers are not; intelligent. However, the law of averages suggests that eventually a freak of nature will appear in every data universe.

    I am sure he will be succesful.

    I'm looking avidly looking forward to the onset of the myopic optimism and hyperbole, not to mention disgraceful behaviour, otherwise known as the football season.

    And before anybody states the obvious in light of my comment, the reason I'm reading a football blog is that I gain great insight (into human nature) from the simplistic and polarised comments posted.

  • Comment number 61.

    56
    I take it youre mourinhos right hand man then. I thought not.

  • Comment number 62.

    58,

    Take exception all you like, mate. The simple fact is that the Chelseas and Man Cities of this world have turned the game into a joke.

  • Comment number 63.

    #57 James

    I did try to say that it was not an attack on Manure, but an attack on the PL in general. All of our teams fell short in Europe so there is collective responsibility.

    My point was that this is not a vintage time for English club football - how it has fallen in three short years - and that the current Old Trafford crop could not hold a candle to the 2008 team, let alone 99.

    Hope this clears things up.

  • Comment number 64.

    #61

    No. But are you?

  • Comment number 65.

    I was fascinated by AVB's success with Porto this season and was very much curious to see how would he compete at the CL level with the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, ManUtd, Bayern, AC Milan, etc. Unfortunately, and I say that is unfortunate for Porto of course, he decided to move, and will most likely sign a couple of best players from Porto. This is something I dislike about football these days... you basically rip your club apart, André. But hopefully they will survive.

    But for Chelsea I think this is a very exciting prospect, and I certainly do not share the view of some skeptics who say that he will be lucky to be still their manager by the next season. Yes, he absolutely will be there next season, and I actually think that he may succeed in making Chelsea a more likable team.

    Yes, they are going to be a threat, and yes, it's going to be the toughest season ever in the top 6.

    Oh, and stop calling him New Mourinho or even Mini-Mourinho (sic) or the Special One II....

    Just call him "The Special Two" if you like to use clichés ;)

  • Comment number 66.

    62.At 18:00 22nd Jun 2011, CoalitionOfTheWilting wrote:
    58,

    Take exception all you like, mate. The simple fact is that the Chelseas and Man Cities of this world have turned the game into a joke
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I agree with this, although the most obvious problem is what they've done in the transfer market, the likes or Arsenal and Man Utd have been outbid time and time again but then it takes more than money to win silverware (granted it helps!!).

    Real Madrid spent astronimical sums of money to come 2nd to Barcelona who although spent a lot of money developed the messi's of this world through the academies.

    City spent loads of money on Milner, Barry etc but they will never be as good as Fabregas (500k) or Messi (developed through Barca youth system).

    Arsenal and Utd will hopefully benefit from the new financial systems which were basically drafted up to stop Chelsea and City ruining everything, if they had it their way they would just buy a 100 players just to stop them playing for their rivals!!!

  • Comment number 67.

    60. At 17:58 22nd Jun 2011, Charliehatstand wrote:

    And before anybody states the obvious in light of my comment, the reason I'm reading a football blog is that I gain great insight (into human nature) from the simplistic and polarised comments posted.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    Superiority complexes are never out of place on a blog

  • Comment number 68.

    64
    I never claimed to be. Just can't understand how anyone who isn't directly involved in the game at top level can criticise successful managers and players. It's a bit disrespectful. Nothing personal against you.

  • Comment number 69.

    63.At 18:02 22nd Jun 2011, Bass_Man wrote:
    #57 James

    I did try to say that it was not an attack on Manure, but an attack on the PL in general. All of our teams fell short in Europe so there is collective responsibility.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    4th placed PL team Arsenal beat Barcelona in the first leg 2-1 and not for some very dubious refereeing Barca might not have been so lucky again (see Chelsea game a few years back, countless sendings off against all opposition, did you see the second yellow RVP got at tghe Nou Camp. And the fact that Iniesta got off with a deliberate yellow card to stop him being suspended while Madrid didn't.)

    Barcelona are the best team in the world, no doubt. But even they need a little luck/help.

    The Uefa cup is of no interest to English teams because it involves too many games (wasn't it like 19 games from start to finish?) and doesn't make any money, which i know is lame but true.

  • Comment number 70.

    #49
    I don't disagree with you about Hughes. He made a serious error of judgment and other chairmen will think twice before appointing a man who's indicated he thinks he's too good to waste his time with most Premiership clubs. One thing that interests me about Villas-Boas appointment is that this could be the final nail in the coffin for the "show us your medals" attitude towards managers who didn't play the game at a high level (or at all). Arsenal took a brave step with Arsene Wenger, Chelsea didn't hesitate to appoint Mourinho and they're arguably the most respected managers in the history of those clubs. Now we have a 33 year old who had no interest in playing the game professionally and set out to be a coach from his teens. Doesn't seem to have held him back so far. By the way, what a brilliant mentor Bobby Robson turned out to be.

  • Comment number 71.

    The most dangerous for Boas is DRESSING ROOM. Negative reaction from dressing room is usual tough as far we have known. The changes that affected senior players will challenge Boas.

    IMO i don't scare Abramovich but I do scare dressing room players.

    Good luck

  • Comment number 72.

    Phil - This is a very interesting appointment in many ways. As you have pointed out Villas-Boas is a manager on the 'up' so to speak and will have a hunger for success at the highest level. Previously Abramovich has gone for the so called 'proven' manager, believing that experience is the key to winning the CL trophy; with this appointment he has gone for someone who has tasted some European success and will want more! Therefore you have to say there should be no shortage of motivation in Mr Villas-Boas 'make up'!
    The age of the new manager in relation to his playing staff means that he is almost their peer, rather than their senior -whether this is a good thing or a bad thing with the likes of such as Terry and Drogba, remains to be seen. Certainly Villas-Boas has a reputation for almost 'surgical' analysis of players and teams, not just the opposition but his own as well. Such detailed information, probably to be used as a player performance 'database' also may not go down well in some quarters and given the previous dismissal of Wilkins (who was also reputedly something of an 'analysis-guru') you have to wonder how/will such outcomes actually be acted upon?
    It would seem as if that Chelsea's owner has taken a different approach with this new appointment, but how long will it be before he gets fed up with his new look?

  • Comment number 73.

    67.At 18:07 22nd Jun 2011, Roman Philosopher wrote:

    Superiority complexes are never out of place on a blog

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Nicley identified.

  • Comment number 74.

    Congratulations to Abramovich for getting Villas Boas in, I had looked at him as a Liverpool manager last year when Benitez left the club, along with Pelligrini and Rangnick of now Schalke.

    Excellent manager and with a little cash Chelsea are back, last year was I think the watershed for some ageing stars, but like Scholes for united, if they're willing to operate in the capacity of supporting the first 11, then I don't see why they can't remain at the club.

    Good luck to Villas Boas, would like it if you won nothing, but I am a Liverpool fan.

  • Comment number 75.

    I'm sure I'm not adding anything, none the less...
    It is a brave appointment and Vlllas Boas is brave to take the position, knowing how soon Abramovich grows tired of his managers. I really hope he settles in and Roman gives him a few years. The guy is still young and a knock back from this may hurt his attitude and career in years to come. Don't be a fool Roman, play the long game for a change, instead of the short one.

  • Comment number 76.

    The trouble with Chelsea is that there is no strategy in place geared for success. There is no footballing philosophy. Appointing a good manager has been in the past one way to achieve success, provided he has lots of money to spend. But then when you lose patience with said system, it leaves you nowhere. Abramovich even tried a period of austerity which failed, and has led to Chelsea's biggest problem, their squad.

    They have an old, tired, set-in-their-ways and stubborn squad. That is the the problem, it has been for some years. They managed to get it together for one season and win the double, and guess what, it was under a fine manager in Ancelotti. Sacking managers isn't the solution, it is changing the playing staff, and changing the style. How can Villas-Boas, a fine young genius be expected to do this with people like John Terry in the side who we all know calls a lot of the shots.

    I understand, and suspect, that Villas-Boas will be given a huge amount of money to spend, but in the long run (which is what Chelsea need to consider), they can't keep doing this. Infact, any contracts which run into the term of Financial Fair Play have to be accounted for: now. They're not going to break even. So it's all well and good recruiting a good young manager, but if long-term, and that's what this manager needs: time, then how can it all fall into place?

    For me, it has to be a gradual process, and you can't expect great things from this man straight away. But people will, and crucially, so will Abramovich. And then, if he doesn't win the Champions League in two seasons, three at a push if he's afforded the same time as Mourinho, then what happens? Will he be binned? History suggests yes. Chelsea at one point had the finest manager of the generation, yet sacked him for not winning the Champions League and for him not conforming to the owner's interference. Grant: sacked. Scolari: sacked: Ancelotti: sacked despite winning the club's first ever double.

    This job comes with no managerial security and therefore increased pressure. Apart from reassurances, Villas-Boas will be loaded with money. Money that Chelsea realistically can't afford if they want to get even with the accounts. The top performers at Chelsea are also the oldest, while the young players are the bit parters. They're not going to get much more out of Drogba, Lampard, Terry, Anelka, Malouda and even Essien who's had his injuries. While Kalou underperforms, as does Mikel, and Torres looks an absolute shadow for £50m.

    On the one hand this is a great appointment, but I fear for Villas-Boas it is at the wrong club. The environment in this modern-age just doesn't exist for continued well sustained success. Money might be there, but that is an ever increasingly temporary and unviable solution, given Chelsea's lack of commercial profitability relatively speaking. For a manager to succcess he needs stability, something that Abramovich can offer no manager. Even the fans are quick to get on the backs of their manager at Chelsea. Ancelotti received little backing when it became clear he was going to be axed. Chelsea fans must be a lot more patient with Villas-Boas if they want to best from him.

    This isn't 2004 and Villas-Boas cannot replicate Mourinho. This isn't at the start of a unique, exciting and expensive project at Chelsea. They're long into a cycle of playing staff, the competition is much more fierce and we know much more about Abramovich's attitude to his incumbent managers. Until Chelsea start executing a board-room strategy which extends to the footballing side of things to cover the youth system, sensible spending and time given to managers, there's going to be a series of "failures" and comings and goings of managers at Stamford Bridge.

  • Comment number 77.

    Absolutely gutted!

    Villas Boas was the coach that brought the most attractive football that I have seen at Porto.

    I was equally looking forward to playing Barcelona for the European super-cup.

    Each time we get an excellent squad together we have to totally break up the squad and sell players and change coaches.

    Falcao and Mouthinho are next and trust me in a few days they will be sold yet again to Chelsea.

    I can only wish them well and thanks Villas Boas.

  • Comment number 78.

    He'll be gone by January...

  • Comment number 79.

    Villas-Boas is a great appointment, youthful, new energy, new ideas, familiar with the club. I feel this is the beginning of a new up-cycle for the club.

    He is the man to finally lay to rest the ghost of Mourinho, who now suddenly seems out-dated and yesterday's man.

    He has the same precision and team-building ethics of Jose but without the bluster and unnecessary fights.

    Very excited to see how he fares in the new season. So much better than appointing yet another tired older man with success in previous eras but not up to speed in 2011 like Grant, Scolari, Ancelotti and even Hiddink.

    #42 "And on the subject of keepers, Cech is not really up to it any more, is he?".

    You've got to be joking, Cech is still a young keeper only in his mid-twenties, it is well known that goalkeepers age better than outfield players and peak later. He has rich experience at the top level of European football for his age and will get better as he matures.

    Don't buy into the press hype that he's not as good as he was before his "accident". He's better now than he was then and still improving. Yes, he went through a bad patch but so do all players, Van der Sar did himself a year or two back.

    (I do agree though that Van de Sar was the best player in the Premier League last year, he had almost the perfect season.)

    Chelsea have been through six managers since we signed Cech and none of them have let him go or bought a second keeper to challenge him. No, Cech will be Chelsea's number one for a good few years yet.

  • Comment number 80.

    @ 76

    3 league titles since 2005 and a first double in cfc history 2 years ago suggests there is a strategy in place geared for success, unless you consider 1 barron season a failure.

  • Comment number 81.

    All I can say about AVB(Andres-Villas-Boas) is he speaks FLUENT english which will be a bonus for chelsea because it covers all about the communication system.
    Ok, so Villas Boas, as some people saying he's the next mourinho, including Phil(and i should give you credit for finally bringing a good blog), he's not morinho. For instance, Mourinho is defensive tactics minded manager and AVB is attacking minded as he proved this while he was at Porto. This could be the next season Chelsea line up starting XI:
    ---------------------Cech-----------------------
    Van Der Wiel----Luiz-------Terry-------------Cole
    ---------------------Josh Mac-------------------
    Hulk------------------------------------Benayoun
    --------------------Modric-----------------------
    ----------------Falcao------Torres---------------

    Reason Benayoun could be on the team is because he knows how to use torres along with modric for creativity. Falcoa partnering with Hulk + Torres + Modric + Benayoun is probably the best attack in the premier league but you never know.
    Josh Mac, the possible cm with Jack Wilshire in England football team, should be given a season to prove him self of a worthy dude. Hopefully we will get Modric, Van De Wiel and Hulk to make Roman's Champ League dream come true. Oh and AVB is also interested in the possible future ballon d'or winner Neymar Dos Santos, great lad he is probably we can fit him in the left wing role? your opinion matters and Manchester United players and SAF has finnaly somehing to think about and can't wait to see how Hernandez does at the prem next season. :)

  • Comment number 82.

    nicknack1 @ 66 says 'Arsenal and Man U outbid time and time again'

    Can you tell me who these players are that Man U wanted but Chelsea/Man C outbid them for. Man U are just as prolific in the transfer market. Of the 10 biggest transfers in the premiership 4 have been bought by Man U and 4 by Chelsea. It is too early still to say what success Man C will have but if Chelsea had not come along to challenge Man U the premiership would have been even more boring.

    The fact is the premiership has becoming more and more oriented as the years have gone by until it is now the cash cow it has become where the rich get richer and the rest can go to hell.

    Already before next season has begun we know that there are at least 14 clubs with no chance of a top 4 finish. Why? Money.

  • Comment number 83.

    3 year contract? Clever move by Boas reps, if he gets sacked early which is the fashion with abramovich he gets big compensation...good stuff.

  • Comment number 84.

    Cant the premier league do the world a favour and have a year off. I wonder what fans would do if they discovered the real world.

  • Comment number 85.

    For me Chelsea need someone like Luka Modric or Wesley Sneijder in the middle to run things.

    I feel that Drogba, Terry, and Lampard, with their untouchable status, hurt the team as a whole. I'd like to see them gone. Drogba is too big a personality. You either play him or get rid of him. If you rely on him he'll let you down at various times during the season.

    Obi Mikel slows down the game too much. He's not good for the team. I think Luis could fill that role. He's a little wild, but he gives you that drive and hunger.

    I still like Malouda. I think Kalou might be great if he were to playing every week.

    Essien is a key player. Ramires too.

    Spending that amount of money on Torres was puzzling. I always liked Robben. I was sorry to see him go. Thought they should have bought Tevez and Alves when they had the chance. I thought Ballack was more important than Lampard. I think the season would have ended differently if they would have kept him.

  • Comment number 86.

    @23

    And why would he do that, its just a name.

    The main problem with Chelsea is that RA and his obsession with the CL.

    I find his appointment a bit strange as its a gamble, quite a new coach and thrown in at the deep end.

    But he sounds like a smart cookie and for all the results that Chelsea mostly ground out it will good to see a club with that amount of investement to produce some stunning attacking football and i hope this new manager gets the time to apply his football tactics because what i have seen of porto with some recent research is that they play very very good football.

    So good luck to him and to Chelsea and lets hope the Prem next year is as competitive as we all anticipate.

  • Comment number 87.

    @81

    Quite a few fantasy signings there. Might want to throw someone in midfield who can tackle though.

  • Comment number 88.

    I don't think there will be a massive number of players in and out. Maybe 2 or 3 new signings.

    AVB knows a lot about the existing CFC players already, and with better organisation and tactics than Ancelotti offered, some players who were poor last year will revive.

    I think he will be allowed to fail (i.e. win nothing, but qualify for CL) in his first season, but after that he's on notice for trophies - that's the standard these days at Chelase, and he knows it.

  • Comment number 89.

    This guy will be sacked by the end of the season. In Portugal whoever coachs Porto is champion even if you are the worst manager of the world. Beleive me... Even Mourinho called "donkey" a fellow manager who at that time was manager of Porto, and this guy was champion there, but recently got the sack at Malaga, Spain....

  • Comment number 90.

    88 ...*Chelsea*....typing, who needs it

  • Comment number 91.

    @81
    Except you're not getting Modric are you? And McEcheran (sp?) is IMHO not good enough yet to play holding midfield at the level Chelsea are playing at. Essien is the far superior player, despite the season he just had. Also, I'm not sure anyone rates Benayoun as highly as you do ;)

  • Comment number 92.

    He has the same precision and team-building ethics of Jose but without the bluster and unnecessary fights.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Based on what? He's had one season of top flight football and has never had to build a squad. He could be a success at Chelsea but when the new financial rules kick in he'll not have the finances at his disposal that were available to Jose, that was the major factor in Chelsea being successful in the first place.

  • Comment number 93.

    ---------------------Cech-----------------------
    Van Der Wiel----Luiz-------Terry-------------Cole
    ---------------------Josh Mac-------------------
    Hulk------------------------------------Benayoun
    --------------------Modric-----------------------
    ----------------Falcao------Torres-----------

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Brave assumption with Modric in the starting line-up.

  • Comment number 94.

    after a 5 year absence since posting on the FA cup boards I have come back,
    THis is a very good appointment and I feel AVB will be a bigger success than Jose, Expect to see 4 new signings including a shock.
    Can I say its nice to see Swansea in the PL

  • Comment number 95.

    I'll give him till Christmas before Abramovich wields the knife again..

  • Comment number 96.

    I'm not convinced that it is just winning trophies that RA demands. He wants exciting football. Chelsea started out last season very well, and the play was fluid, exciting and high scoring. Once the injuries hit, the team went into a funk from which they barely emerged, even when everyone was fit again. Watching them play became almost painful. I think RA has every right to expect a decent performance from this team, considering how much he has shelled out, and getting that performance is the manager's job. Carlo just wasn't getting it done any more and did not seem to have a game plan for changing that.

    I think Villas Boas will get an opportunity commensurate with the right mindset. If his gameplan becomes boring, or overly defensive, RA is going to get irritated. Winning is great, but if you're not entertaining the man who pays the salaries, you aren't going to stay around too long.

  • Comment number 97.

    Good luck to him. He'll probably need it. Unless he wins the Champions League, he's likely to have a short time at the helm. If he wins the Champions League, he then has to retain it, or it's bye bye. Not forgetting, whilst that is going on, he has to win a premiership and the odd cup to stay at the helm. Not asking much is it?

  • Comment number 98.

    @ 81. too much change. modric is good but hulk and falcao will bring too much porto to chelsea.

  • Comment number 99.

    Andre Villas-Boas, we welcome you
    We want to see what you will do
    Will it be 442 or 433
    We shall have to wait and see

    With eager anticipation and much aplomb
    We know you will be around for very long
    Will it be the cups League or champions league victory
    I have a feeling it will be all three

  • Comment number 100.

    If Villas continue to be professional and not sentimental and sort out the egos of some midfield players who're not creative and past their sell by date, then there is hope for Chelsea to fulfill Abramovich's dream, which by the way is no fantasy considering the amount of investment he's pump into the club and a team core that's been together for around 6 yrs or more.

 

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