Now that it's officially confirmed that Carlo Ancelotti will take charge at Stamford Bridge, many Chelsea fans don't know what to expect of the coming season. Quite a few fans are not totally convinced by his appointment as manager.
Till yesterday, I felt quite the same. But today, once I read about him being confirmed as the Blues' boss, I felt a strange bit of confidence for the coming season. Things are probably not as bad as we Chelsea fans think.
A few days ago, the possibility of Ancelotti becoming Chelsea manager left me cold. Surely he would prove to be another Scolari.
But, come to think of it, there are some significant differences between the two and the circumstances under which they were appointed. When I gave a thought to the following I have written, I personally felt much better about Ancelotti.
Scolari had never managed a club in Europe before Chelsea. He had instead been engaged for many years in coaching international teams in Brazil and Portugal. Managing clubs in Brazil, Kuwait and Japan is much different to managing one in England, particularly a big-four club.
He came in at a time when Chelsea had just had a crazy, yet trophy-less season. Jose Mourinho had left by mutual consent and Avram Grant never got the credit and support he deserved despite guiding the Blues to the position of runners-up in three of the four competitions they were involved in.
Chairman Bruce Buck said after Grant's sacking that a few second place finishes were just not good enough at Chelsea. Big Phil was seen as the ideal choice, one who could ensure stability, handle players with ego problems and get the team to win while playing beautiful football.
He turned out to be quite a disappointment and got sacked in February.
Many fear that Ancelotti will also turn out to be the same and don't think he is a choice for the long term. It feels even worse since Guus Hiddink had everything Chelsea needed and he only just left.
Ancelotti, in contrast to Scolari, has experience in Europe in abundance. He has spent eight years as AC Milan's manager, which has seen him help the Rossoneri win one Serie A title, two Champions League trophies (something Roman Abramovich craves for), one Coppa Italia and the FIFA Club World Championship once.
"Carletto" comes to Chelsea under much different circumstances than Scolari. Chelsea played an amazing last one-third of a season under Guus Hiddink, pushing Manchester United in the title race almost till the very end, having gathered 34 out of a possible 39 points since Scolari's sacking.
They have also won the FA Cup and come amazingly close to winning the Champions League, losing out on a spot in the final for the second year in a row only due to some poor finishing and some poor decisions by the referee. Most Chelsea supporters have been pleased with this season, which was completed with a deserved win in the FA Cup final versus Everton.
Thus we can't be so sure that Ancelotti will have the same fate as Big Phil, even though there are some striking similarities in their appointments. Both of them have taken over a Chelsea team that people have a lot of expectations of for the next term. Another thing is that, upon both the appointments, the official Chelsea Web site has said that they were the outstanding choice. But I don't think that really makes a difference.
Most of us saw Scolari's appointment as the right decision, but it turned out to be the wrong one. Now most see the confirmation of Ancelotti as manager a bad decision, so maybe it turns out to be a good one.