December 5 2013 Latest news:
Paul Lagan, London24 Chelsea blogger
Monday, February 27, 2012
“A win certainly lifted his spirits, but most Chelsea supporters think it just delayed the inevitable - that is the removal of Villas-Boas from his job”
Alright, c’mon how many of you were secretly cheering on Arsenal’s incredible victory over Spurs yesterday?
I know some of you were because I was following your tweets as the game was unfolding.
The fact that so many of you were, I think underlies the perverse psychology us tribal supporters undergo when our side’s future is under threat and another game can have a direct impact on it.
On Saturday, the not-so mighty Blues defeated Bolton Wanderers 3-0.
As a result, Chelsea moved up a spot from fifth to fourth overtaking Arsenal and back into the coveted Champions League position.
Now you might think this was a moment of joy, and indeed Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas was mostly in a charming mood in his post-match press conference.
A win certainly lifted his spirits, but most Chelsea supporters think it just delayed the inevitable - that is the removal of Villas-Boas from his job.
Certainly the team sheet looked far more balanced and strong. So different from the tinkering of Villas-Boas’s previous efforts.
One hack in the press box suggested that the unverified late arrival of Roman Abramovich to his presidential seat was because he was handing in his team sheet to the referee.
Villas-Boas became a tad prickly at suggestions that this was not his team selection and the reinstatement of Frank Lampard, Michael Essien and Ashley Cole to the starting line-up was by dint of some grand design that only his sophisticated and ultra professional brain could construct.
Before the game I tweeted for predictions - virtually all the responses were gloom and doom, very few predicted a win and most were hoping that that game would signal the manager’s demise.
They were furious at the apparent petulant reason for the omission of the three from the Napoli match in midweek.
They could just about accept that Essien needed to be treated with kid gloves after his long lay-off. They could almost agree with the spin suggesting that Lampard is too old and has lost his prowess. But they refused to accept any rationale for the dropping of Cole.
Post-game suggestions were that Cole was dropped by Villas-Boas because he, like Lampard was one of the so-called rebels who challenged his authority a few days beforehand.
They were unhappy that rather than doing the best for Chelsea, Villas-Boas team selection was all about him and he punished the players by dropping them.
The defeat simply exacerbated their frustration that their team was being messed around. The focus of their ire was directed at Villas-Boas.
Thus that was the reason why Chelsea fans were cheering on Arsenal to win by three clear goals and regain fourth spot.
The fact that they also humiliated Spurs in the process only added to their sense of justice and glee.
They want the Blues to drop out of the Champions League position. They want more pressure to be heaped on Villas-Boas. In truth, they want him out.
The Chelsea boss has accepted that if the Blues fail to get Champions League football next season, then he walks.
While talking up his “project” in future tense and throwing in that he has two more years on his contract, Villas-Boas is displaying all the characteristics of a “Dead Man Walking.”
Pleading for his bosses to publicly support him has fallen on deaf ears.
Neither chief executive Ron Gourlay nor chairman Bruce Buck are getting involved in anything like that. What if they did come out and back him, and then they get a call from Abramovich to sack him - that just makes them look foolish and lacking control, so they are steering well clear of that pitfall.
The soap opera that is Chelsea FC continues unabated - a club insider suggested to me recently that Chelsea is in such internal turmoil that they make the dysfunctional Simpsons look like those paradigms of virtue and wholesomeness the Waltons.
“Goodnight, John Boy Terry.”
“Goodnight, Grandpa Buck.”
“Goodnight, Grandma Gourlay.”