Since the departure of Jose Mourinho back in 2007, Chelsea have been searching for guidance in all the wrong places.
After coming to grips with the likelihood that they would never experience such managerial chemistry again in their careers, many of the players at Chelsea became despondent. Mourinho's immediate successor Avram Grant was greeted by a knee jerk reaction from players like John Terry and Frank Lampard in response to the ousting of their coach and friend. This came into public view after training ground bust ups with coaching staff and rumours of transfer requests out of the club.
But something turned Chelsea's season around at the start of 2008. Many believe this was due to Grant being a worthy coach who put Chelsea's megastars in their place (a role neglected by Mourinho in favour of an empathetic father-figure). This reporter believes this was not the case, however, as is being proved by the unfolding events in 2009.
But if Grant wasn't responsible for rescuing Chelsea's season, who was?
John Terry has admitted in recent months that the players themselves were the main motivational force that season, and Terry in particular took on the role of keeping the players together in the wake of Mourinho's exit from Stamford Bridge. And this clearly worked for the club, reaching the Champions League final, and a close second place in the Premier League.
But this dynamic had to change when the club employed Luis Filipe Scolari. Having previously forged teams of unique players like Ronaldinho, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Kaka, Scolari was the obvious choice for a club in need of taming some large personalities.
However, this has not come about straight away. At the beginning of Scolari's reign, a highly motivated (and still somewhat scorned) Chelsea romped to a commanding position in all competitions. But once Terry and others were forced out through injury, the manager was required to maintain those levels of performance. This is proving difficult for Scolari, who is effectively being handed the reins by the players now that a real manager is desperately needed.
The first port of call for the big Brazilian will be the task of picking a first eleven. This means cutting a central midfielder from the team sheet, and also either Drogba or Anelka. Scolari has already hinted in the papers that Anelka has got the nod over his Ivorian counterpart.
The second job will be putting the players in their place. With a definite starting XI comes an inevitable hierarchy within the squad. This is not a bad thing, as it creates more competition for breaking into the team. Bickering tends to only ensue when an unjust selection is made, and no Chelsea player can argue with being dropped after their current performances.
But will this supposed abdication of power from the players to the manager work straight away?
Needless to say the coming few weeks in West London are set to be fascinating.
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