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Pressure Mounts on Villas-Boas
New Special One not so special after all
Posted Nov 30, 2011 by Chris White
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Having arrived at Chelsea tipped to become “the new Jose Mourinho,” it appears that the man in the hot-seat at Stamford Bridge isn’t as special as his compatriot, with the pressure mounting by the week.
Andre Villas-Boas moved to the Bridge in the summer from FC Porto, having guided them to the Portuguese Super Cup within weeks, followed by the Portuguese League title, the Europa League and the Portuguese Cup, all in the same season, making him the youngest manager to win a Portuguese domestic title and also the youngest to win a European Competition.
This prompted Roman Abramovich to move to bring him to Chelsea to take over from Carlo Ancelotti for the 2010/11 season, with the aim of bringing not only the Premier League, but the one Abramovich is clearly after, the Champions League to the Chelsea trophy cabinet.
However, we’re now at the end of November, and Villas-Boas is seemingly clinging to his job by a thread, having guided the club to just two wins – against Blackburn and Wolves in the league – a draw, against Genk in the Champions League, and five defeats in their last eight games, seeing them go out of the Carling Cup at home to Liverpool just nine days after losing to the same opponents in the Premiership, and needing a goalless draw or a win at home to Valencia to qualify from what should have been a relatively simple Champions League group.
Results have been poor, and Chelsea have fallen to fifth in the table, ten points behind leaders Manchester City, and outside the Champions League places, with both Arsenal and Liverpool, who have won at Stamford Bridge in recent weeks, two points behind them.
Villas-Boas is seemingly clueless against the bigger sides, struggling to motivate his players to turn up the performances against the very best. The floodgates opened away at Bolton last month, but other than that, no team has taken a real hammering off a team certainly capable of finding the net with ease. At the other end, they just can’t seem to keep the opposition out.
The high line that Chelsea are playing this season has been the downfall on many occasions, getting caught with the full backs up the field and the centre halves proving to be lacking in not only speed but decision making. John Terry is looking out of sorts, and is being taken apart by the quick strikers with good movement, while David Luiz is giving hope to centre halves around the world that they can become Chelsea central defenders, because he is awful. Wandering forward with the ball and getting caught out, trying tricks and flicks and bicycle kicks in his own third of the pitch aren’t what a team needs, particularly against teams hungry to beat them, and noticing their problems. Gary Neville described Luiz’s defending as “like a 10-year old playing FIFA 12 on the PlayStation where everybody just runs everywhere,” and love him or hate him, you have to agree with Mr Neville. Behind them, Petr Cech seems more interested in covering every part of his body with protective equipment than protecting his net, something that a goalkeeper needs to do. Villas-Boas needs to address these defensive issues, and fast.
All of the problems have arrived since Villas-Boas walked through the door at the Bridge. They were second last season behind Manchester United, and will have to have a dramatic turn in form and results if they’re to finish in the top two again this year. My expectation is that Villas-Boas will be out the door by the time the January transfer window opens, because Abramovich simply doesn’t accept winning nothing. It looks at present as though their only hope is the FA Cup – which they are yet to enter – which has proved to be insufficient in the past for his predecessors.
Villas-Boas’ reaction to the 2-0 Carling Cup defeat at home to Liverpool:
What do you make of Villas-Boas as manager of Chelsea? Does he need more time, or is it time to cut their losses and get rid? Give us your thoughts here, on Twitter @ImagineSoccer or on Facebook by clicking here.