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Going Down With The Ship

Ancelloti Can't Have Long To Wait

Posted Feb 24, 2011 by Shaun Edwards

Ancelloti has sufficient cause for concern

It is without doubt brave of Carlo Ancelloti to insist that he will not consider resigning his position at Chelsea, despite both their elimination from the FA cup at the hands of Everton and their agonisingly slow relinquishing of their Premier League title a full three months before the season’s conclusion.  The fact that the weekend’s game was actually their first defeat in the FA cup since 2008 won’t have helped.

With their Champion’s League draw against FC Copenhagen widely considered an easy tie (certainly the easiest of the bunch) it is an unfortunate fact for the Italian that he can no longer guarantee a win in the two leg tie.  He will try of course ‘Maybe this game will be a good moment to get a result and obviously keep our season alive.’  Ancelloti is naturally optimistic, and has hit the nail on the head here: if Chelsea suffer a shock and are eliminated from the Champion’s League, their season will have finished by February.  You get the sense that this would be a failure that Roman Abramovich would be unable to forgive. 

Ancelloti’s refusal to walk away from the job is certainly admirable, but realistically you cannot see him still being in the same job this time next year if he is unable to deliver any silverware.  The idea of Chelsea not qualifying for the Champion’s League at least (not an implausible idea, given that they trail the still well performing Spurs by two points at this stage) would have been unthinkable even in November. 

And yet, it could happen.  Since Abramovich’s Russian wallet financed the huge £50 million investment in Fernando Torres, Chelsea haven’t even been able to score in open play (three games and counting).  How is this plausible from a side that boasts Anelka, Drogba, Lampard and Torres?  The finger still points at the departure of Ray Wilkins as coach, a departure that co-incided perfectly with Chelsea’s slump. Can it be pure co-incidence?  It seems hard to believe.

Questions will continue to be asked of Ancelloti until Chelsea’s end of season tally has been counted.  A top two finish in the league and a run to the Champion’s League final may just be enough for Abramovich.  But then, the Russian is hardly known for his patience.

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