Napoli vs. Chelsea UEFA Champions League: 5 Reasons Why Chelsea Will Lose
Perpetual train wreck André Villas-Boas' ill-fated tenure as Chelsea manager will either end tonight or excruciatingly drag on for a few more weeks.
It's not bold or pessimistic to say Napoli will beat Chelsea tonight, it's just stating the obvious.
There are three ways Napoli can lose tonight: God answering Villas-Boas' prayers, the entire Napoli first team falling ill to food poisoning or a Chelsea player having a "Lionel Messi for a day" type game.
In short, Chelsea have next to no chance in winning if Villas-Boas does what he usually does—mess things up.
Here are five reasons why Chelsea will lose to Napoli tonight.
John Terry's Absence
André Villas-Boas better not rush Terry into the starting 11 because Chelsea do not need further handicaps with a quarter-fit centre-back leading the back line.
Without Terry, it's time for Chelsea supporters to start praying because it's Edinson Cavani time.
Godspeed David Luiz and Gary Cahill
AC Milan's centre-back pairing of Alessandro Nesta and Thiago Silva are world class. They were ripped to shreds by Edinson Cavani in a 3-1 Napoli win.
Vincent Kompany is the best centre-back in the Premier League and he couldn't stop Cavani from scoring a brace.
The aforementioned centre-backs are two classes above David Luiz and Gary Cahill—so what makes you think these two can stop Cavani?
What will happen is one of the two (probably Cahill) will end up feeling the same way Fiorentina's Matija Nastasić felt after Cavani inspired Napoli to a 3-0 win.
That being said, Nastasić is just a kid and if you're getting torched, you may as well get torched by a world-class forward.
What about Branislav Ivanović?
Well he's a better right-back than centre-back, so if André Villas-Boas is thinking straight (which he generally isn't), then he should start the Serbian at right-back to counter Ezequiel Lavezzi.
Ezequiel Lavezzi's Threat
The question isn't if José Bosingwa is going to play bad, it's how bad will he play?
If Ezequiel Lavezzi is pumped up and focused on playing his best in a high profiled game, then Bosingwa is going to have a long night.
André Villas-Boas can limit Lavezzi's danger by starting Branislav Ivanović at right-back.
Napoli Are a Better Side
Christian Maggio and Andrea Dossena will drag Chelsea's full-backs out of position.
Gökhan Inler and Walter Gargano will have no issues dealing with a creative-less Chelsea midfield.
Napoli's triumvirate trumps Chelsea's inefficient and out-of-sync front three.
However, it's not all doom for André Villas-Boas because Walter Mazzarri's back three does give Chelsea two tactical advantages.
Daniel Sturridge will probably win out if he finds himself in a one vs. one situation against one of Napoli's wide centre-backs.
So if Maggio or Dossena are caught upfield, Chelsea can counter through the flank, drag out the wide centre-back, isolate the central centre-back and hope someone like Frank Lampard makes a run into the box.
This is actually a game where I would advocate Juan Mata starting from a wide position because you don't want him located centrally with Gargano snapping at his heels.
You want Mata to vacate the space left by one of the wing-backs and exploit it if Chelsea are on the counter attack.
That being said, Napoli are the better side and should win.
André Villas-Boas Has Lost the Team
One aspect that I respect about André Villas-Boas is his candidness. He's a straight shooter and he's not going to lie.
He basically said he's lost the team, according to The Guardian:
"It's the owner who backs my project. Some of them [the players] don't back the project? That is normal. I think the owner has full trust in me and will continue to progress with the ideas that we have."
Well, Roman Abramovich isn't backing the project but he will be backing Villas-Boas' firing if Chelsea are humiliated by Napoli.
A draw or a narrow loss is fine because Chelsea can rectify the situation at Stamford Bridge, but a loss by three or four goals should automatically trigger Villas-Boas' exit.
Enough seriousness, here's an off-beat look at 15 Footballing Duos Who Need a Reality TV Show.
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