Chelsea FC: Can Andre Villas-Boas Lead Blues to Champions League Glory?
Roman Abramovich is a man who knows what he wants.
And when he hired former Porto manager Andre Villas-Boas to lead his team this upcoming season, he was looking to put some demons to rest once and for all.
This marked a new low for the club and brought up lingering questions for the Portuguese manager to address.
The once dominant backline of Chelsea is starting to look extremely leaky, and their decision making all over the pitch merits a lack of confidence in this side.
The Blues have a powerful payroll and will always be in the conversation when it comes to Premiership title race. But after a shock draw against minnows Genk in the Champions League, it appears they have a lot of kinks to hammer out before they consider themselves contenders in Europe’s elite club competition.
CL glory is the only thing missing from the Stamford Bridge trophy case, a piece of silverware Abramovich has been desperately seeking.
With more roster tweaks and a massive goal set by RA, is AVB the man ready to lead Chelsea to CL triumph?
Perhaps in the future he can lift the cup—that is, if he sticks around long enough—but right now he is not going to achieve CL success. And here are the reasons why.
1. Mentally Weak
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At the moment, Chelsea is a team in desperate need of some confidence, especially after two unfavorable results.
Petr Cech has denied the fact they suffered a setback from their loss to Arsenal in the match against Genk, but it is hard to believe him.
Even though they are two points ahead of Bayer Leverkusen in their group, yesterday’s game indicated a lack of cohesive mentality in AVB’s men. Many of their games begin with positives, but they are unable to string a full 90-minute performance together to get a result.
The team needs to start putting in complete displays, or they will be knocked out of the group stage in a heartbeat.
2. Frail Defense
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Chelsea is conceding goals at an alarming rate, and this is very odd for such an experienced set of defenders.
John Terry, David Luiz and company have all vastly underperformed so far this season, and all appear lacking concentration.
JT is embroiled in yet another controversy that looks to have infiltrated the locker room. As the outright leader of the team, he needs to step up his backline and the criticisms of the coach must be taken to heart.
As the latter stages of the CL are almost a certainty for Chelsea, their frail defense will prove to be too much of a liability when it is all said and done.
3. Too Much Optimism
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Heading into this campaign, Abramovich and AVB set lofty expectations and eyed numerous accomplishments for the club.
Perhaps all that optimism has become too much for the first-year coach, because they are a shadow of the Chelsea teams of recent.
It is fine to have loads of confidence in your team, but having so many mixed results can hinder a team’s development. AVB wants to instill his own methodology and tactics on Chelsea, but he may be trying to dive in a little quickly.
They need to be realistic at this point, and start examining the current state of the squad instead of the future aspirations they haven’t obtained yet.
4. Poor Decision Making
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What in God’s name was AVB thinking letting David Luiz take the spot kick against Genk?
Having confidence in Luiz is one thing, but with a potential three points on the line, letting someone else take the spot kick would have been a wiser choice.
Chelsea has been marred by poor decisions and they often pay for such mistakes. Whether it is AVB’s use of the 4-3-3 formation, players’ losing their cool or the erratic play of certain individuals, the team is dropping points due to careless errors.
And with the CL proving to be a breeding ground for younger players and people on the fringe, I think such gaffes will only increase.
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It would be crazy to think Chelsea will not make it through the group stage of the CL because they definitely have the quality to not only qualify but to potentially go far in the competition.
Yet I don’t think they will complete their CL goals this season, and the future of AVB might come down to this.
I feel it is a transitional period for the Blues, and it is hard for fans of the club to swallow this because they haven’t had to go through a developing stage like this for quite some time.
They are accustomed to success and are used to consistently fighting for trophies. The same goes for AVB, who took an unknown Porto squad into the depths of European and domestic glory.
And I think this is the reason why Chelsea is having such trouble at the moment. When RA, AVB and the club habitually attain their objectives, it can be hard to accept failure.
Fans need to be patient for the time being and realize this is not the year they get the CL duck off their back.
I realize this is easier said than done with Chelsea fans, but it is true.
While it would be stupid to blatantly give up the rest of the way, there are bigger concerns for the club and if AVB wants to keep his job, he must prioritize.