Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Future Bleak For Ancelotti And Chelsea

Chelsea's Ramires is shown a red cardFor all their talk of big money Spaniards, mercurial Ivorians and malcontented Frenchman, it was actually one of Chelsea's Brazilian recruits who settled the Londoners' most important match of the season.

Abramovich looked on in disgust as Ramires, already on a yellow card, piled into the back of Nani, before receiving his marching orders. From that point onward, thoughts must have already been formulating in the back of the Russian's mind, about the future of Chelsea Football Club.

For Chelsea, 2010-2011 has not been the continued renaissance of Drogba, Lampard and Anelka, not the agglomeration of goals that was expected following an effulgent start to the Premier League season. Instead, Blues fans have been forced to endure months of agony, watching their side slip from the heart of a title race, to the murky depths of a battle for Champions League football.

Individuals like Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and new signing Fernando Torres have failed to deliver the attacking impetus which would have so complemented Chelsea's most miserly of defenses. Lampard has struggled to shrug off consistent injury problems, while both Torres and Drogba have looked shadows of themselves. Torres' first half performance embodied everything that his been wrong with his Chelsea career, a lack of enthusiasm, highlighted by consistent arguing with the officials.

However, Torres can hardly be blamed for Chelsea's struggles this season, the World Cup winner has only been a part of the team for two months, and was unfortunate enough to join the side during a period when they were hardly manufacturing chances.

The man more likely to be held responsible for Chelsea's plight this season, is the very one who was credited with Chelsea's Double success last season, Carlo Ancelotti. The Italian has looked labored all year, and as of yet has been unsuccessful in his quest to find a strike system capable of getting the best out of his wealth of attacking talent. Faced with adversity, and criticized by the press, Ancelotti has been unable to inspire his players to any kind of late season revival, a fact which has seen them crash out of both the Champions League and the FA Cup.

Speaking before Chelsea's first leg loss to Manchester United, Ancelotti described a Champions League success as Chelsea's "destiny." While I am certainly no Nostradamus, I think is fair to say that if a European Cup triumph is fated for Chelsea, then Carlo Ancelotti will certainly not be the man leading them to that most coveted of prizes. Roma have made it clear that despite the success of temporary manager Vincenzo Montella, Ancelotti is the man they want at the club's helm going into the start of a new era, and after this latest defeat there is unlikely to be much resistance from Abramovich if AS Roma do come calling.

Moreover, if Ancelotti were to leave in the summer, he would likely not be the last out of the Stamford Bridge exit door. Consistently linked with a move back to France, it is probable that Didier Drogba will call time on what has been an exhilarating, if at points enigmatic, Chelsea tenure. Following him may be strike partner Nicolas Anelka, who reportedly is interested in a move to Major League Soccer. If Chelsea fail to replace that duo with adequate back up, then others too may begin to eye the exit. One can be certain that yet more overtures from Spain will be coming Ashley Cole's direction, while the likes of Saloman Kalou and Daniel Sturridge may also have their eyes on pastures new.

The future is very uncertain at present, but if Chelsea were to fall off the pace in the race for fourth then the situation would become very grave indeed. In the chasing pack are Tottenham, Manchester City, and possibly Liverpool who though some way back looked capable of  anything against City on Monday.

Whether Chelsea secure Champions League football or not, Roman Abromavich will have some serious decisions to make, ones that must be made with the kind of care that has been lacking on previous occasions. Certainly, Ray Wilkins can pay testament to the fact that Abromavich is not always the most lucid thinking of owners. With a slew of managerial and personnel switches to come, no mistakes can be afforded by Chelsea Football Club.

1 comment: