Chelsea Football Club: Is Andre Villas-Boas the Right Man for the Job?
In one of the most hotly-contested title races in Premier League history at the halfway stage, many Chelsea fans have already given up on championship glory and would settle for a Champions League finish.
The two Manchester clubs have dominated the league season from the get-go. Chelsea's bitter London rivals, Tottenham, have been playing scintillating football and are in a good position to finish above the Blues for the first time since 1996.
With Chelsea plodding on and dropping points in the most unlikely of places, much criticism has been levelled at the young Portuguese manager, Andre Villas-Boas.
It was seemingly a big risk for Roman Abramovich to appoint a man younger than several of the strong personalities in the Chelsea squad who had no managerial experience at the highest level.
Granted, his Porto side had been extremely impressive in their dominance of Portuguese domestic football and their conquering of the Europa league.
But the gulf in class and managerial pressure between the two countries is vast, especially given Chelsea's well-documented lack of patience in the man at the helm, with the harsh sacking of Carlo Ancelotti in 2011 a prime example.
Villas-Boas offered youth, meticulous planning and preparation. He was a disciple of Chelsea's beloved former manager, Jose Mourinho, who had brought the club their first league title in 50 years back in 2005.
Should Chelsea stick with AVB?
The man labelled the "new Mourinho" was expected to usher in a new era and build a new team that would take Chelsea back to the pinnacle of English football.
Defensive frailty has been a major theme, along with Fernando Torres' continued lack of form in front of goal.
Old favourites Alex and Nicolas Anelka have been all but forced out. Didier Drogba is still rumoured to be the third experienced player to leave the club this January.
There have, however, have been some bright sparks this season, with Juan Mata, Oriol Romeu and Daniel Sturridge representing a new generation of Chelsea players that have already shined for AVB's side.
Gary Cahill has been added to the mix to strengthen the depth of the defence. At least one more big signing is rumoured with Eden Hazard or Edinson Cavani possible multimillion pound acquisitions.
While Chelsea cannot be written off in the title race, a major resurgence would be needed from now until May. The board may have to accept that Villas-Boas needs a consolidation period to weed out the dead weight from the previous regimes.
A hefty buy-out fee was paid to Porto to secure this man's services, and it would most likely cost even more to prematurely release him from his contract.
He has unquestionably made some key tactical errors, but as a young manager, he is constantly on a learning curve and will develop and continue to improve.
The animated figure that he cuts on the touchline has already endeared him to the Chelsea fans. If the board can just be patient, then the Stamford Bridge club may have found themselves a real gem.
I leave you with a famous example of another young manager who was close to the sack after a poor run of results. The board decided to stick with him, and he went on to become the most successful manager in English football history. His name was Alex Ferguson.
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