JUST 158 days into his new job and Chelsea boss, Andre Villas-Boas, is considered the second favourite with the bookmakers to be the next Premiership manager to get the chop!
The “Blues” 0-3 victory over Newcastle United last weekend in St. James’ Park will have given him some breathing space but, long term, I believe he could be in trouble with an ageing side which will do well but, at the same time, not compete with the Premiership’s top teams.
I certainly don’t envy the Chelsea manager his task, as I believe he needs as many as six quality players to compete with the more fashionable clubs in the top flight.
Commentators often speak about the “spine” of the team being particularly crucial and it’s here, in my view, where Chelsea have problems.
Keeper Petr Cech, centre-half John Terry, central midfielder, Frank Lampard and striker, Didier Drogba, are all past their best and need replaced. Unfortunately for Villas-Boas, Terry seems to wield great power not only in the Chelsea dressing room but also among the club’s management set-up which prevents his own role coming under too much scrutiny.
The introduction of Daniel Sturridge up front has given them some badly needed skill and pace, but its the central striking role which is causing most problems. Drogba will still score the odd goal but he no longer terrorises defences and his pace is all but gone.
Word has it that both Drogba and Nicklas Anelka will be moved on in January but, unfortunately for Chelsea, the main back-up replacement, Fernando Torres has failed to impress. Indeed, the £50m paid for Torres now appears to have been a disastrous decision. However, the manager knew exactly what he was taking on and the squad he would have to work with when he signed on the dotted line, so the buck stops with him.
Tonight’s game with Valencia sees the start of a crucial month for the new boss and one that could decide his fate one way or another.
Read more from the Doc in the Journal every Tuesday