Post-Mortem: Luiz Felipe Scolari's Chelsea

Martyn LandiCorrespondent IFebruary 9, 2009

Luiz Felipe Scolari arrived at Chelsea as the man to bring the free-flowing football that owner Roman Abramovich so desperately craved.

The Brazilian had the credentials, all that was lacking was major success at a European club, and it seemed Chelsea were to be that missing point on Scolari’s CV.

Now, seven months later, the dream has died, having been on life support ever since Chelsea were blown away by the champions at Old Trafford.

The warning signs arguably appeared as early as the third game of the season at home to Spurs when Chelsea failed to break down Juande Ramos’ poor Tottenham side in the second half of a game they bossed.

The real problems started when Liverpool ended the club’s unbeaten run on October 26.  Since then The Blues have won just four of their nine home league matches, and losing to Arsenal in that time.

Add this to the defeats at Anfield and Old Trafford this year and suddenly things were looking bleak for the Brazilian Scolari.

Then there were the rumours of unrest in the dressing room; the players were unconvinced by Scolari’s training methods and match tactics.

The key issue here was the players were used to being loved by Mourinho. He had been one of the group. Scolari was more of a father figure and authoritarian boss. His use of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War emphasises this problem.

It now seems such a long time ago that Portsmouth were simply played off the park at Stamford Bridge on the opening day. It was a masterpiece of football. Deco ran the show, Lampard looked (if possible) a better player than ever and it was great to watch.

Dare I say a few people left Stamford Bridge that day saying: “Jose who?”

How quickly things can sour. It appears that the Chelsea that won back-to-back titles is dead and buried. The draw against Hull fully demonstrated this.

If it can be resurrected we will have to wait and see. The fans will now be torn on whom to replace the departing Scolari, although we are getting used to the guessing game of whose next on the manger merry-go-round.

Some will of course want to see the return of the Messiah, the man who casts an even longer shadow over West London than Abramovich; Jose Mourinho.

On the other hand, as several banners waved at the game on Saturday suggested, a back room staff of Chelsea legends could be the way forward. Zola, Clarke, Di Matteo and Newton would be received as almost conquering heroes, the risk in such appointments overlooked by pure nostalgia.

Of course, the logical decision would be in the shape of Dick Advocaat or Guus Hiddink. But in the Abramovich era at Chelsea, when has anything been logical?


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