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Posted by Phil Lythell on 02/28/2012

With Andre Villas-Boas reverting to the so-called 'old guard' to secure three points against Bolton on Saturday, the temptation to say 'I told you so' is utterly overwhelming. However, as this is my debut post as ESPNSoccernet's Chelsea blogger, perhaps I should first briefly state the opinions that I have been making on my personal blog - ShoutyandSpitty.com - and to any fellow supporters within earshot.

Andre Villas-Boas' team selection for the Champions League match at Napoli - as every sane observer, whether Blue or neutral, will agree - was eye-opening, to say the least, almost bordering on the suicidal.

Instead of playing it safe by setting up a resolute back-line in the face of the celebrated triumvirate of Edinson Cavani, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Marek Hamsik by deploying players with considerable European pedigree, the manager almost torpedoed any chance of progression by leaving out competition stalwarts Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and – criminally – Michael Essien. Had Cole not cleared off the line in the closing stages, my £52 ticket for the home leg would have been good for confetti and little else.

His tenure in doubt and his credibility hanging by a thread, Villas-Boas then performed a volte face and drew on every ounce of experience at his disposal by turning to the notable absentees from the match at the Stadio San Paolo to do the job against the Trotters. The change of heart worked but it begs the question as to why he didn't select the same eleven four days earlier.

Yes, there have been reports of divisions in the camp and open criticism from some of the senior players in his squad but equally he could have challenged them to prove themselves against their Italian opponents. Had Chelsea emerged from Italy with a positive result, he could have taken the plaudits for having successfully provoked the best response from his complaining stars. Had they incurred the same fate as befell their stand-ins, he would have acquired added justification for leaving them out of his future plans.

Instead, he has now painted himself into a corner whereby everybody – players, fans, neutrals and journalists alike – is now of the unshakeable mindset that Chelsea lack solidity without the continual presence of the likes of Lampard, Essien and Cole in the starting eleven. It must be all the more galling for Villas-Boas as even the Academy team – perpetrators of a stunning comeback from a 3-0 half-time deficit in a FA Youth Cup tie at Nottingham Forest to eventually win 4-3 last week – would surely have easily dispatched Bolton, so poor were Owen Coyle's men.

The likes of the much (and deservedly) maligned Raul Meireles could have shone against their Lancashire visitors and cast themselves in a new light in front of the Stamford Bridge faithful. However, Villas-Boas had no choice but to crawl cap in hand to the cabal of disgruntled trophy-laden veterans to bring home the bacon.

With West Bromwich Albion, Birmingham City (FA Cup replay) and Stoke City to face in the next three fixtures, one would expect the manager to shuffle the pack a little but even if those matches are won, all eyes will be on his team selection for the return match against Napoli.

If a Champions League exit ensues with Messrs Lampard, Essien and co not on the pitch at kick-off, Villas-Boas' teamsheet may well prove to be his death warrant.

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Comments

Posted by EFANGA on 02/28/2012

Let AVB continue with his senseless experiments. He is a complete sham.

Posted by John B on 02/28/2012

This is nonsense. The notion that any possible XI that AVB could have put out in Naples would have been "resolute" and represented "playing it safe" is nothing short of laughable. You're a season ticket holder - have you actually watched us "defend" this season?

Of course the Academy side would have beaten Bolton. But what you neglect to say but is equally obvious is that the "safe" old-guard-laden team selection would equally probably have got walloped in Naples. The senior players in the squad have basically lost all right to complain about anything owing to the way they've performed this season.

You should really listen less to the likes of Souness and Redknapp.

Posted by Sam Weller on 02/28/2012

He does make terrible decisions. But the problem is that when Frank, Ashley and Michael Essien do play, they do not perform well either. And that is to a great degree AVB's fault. Senior players do not want to play for him. Others simply cannot play well enough - Meireless, Kalou, Malouda, Mikel. Drogba is a shadow of the Drogba we once knew. But even so, the team could have been in a much better position today had AVB been able to establish good relations with the team. But he dudnt. He is arrogant with bad people skills. Plus he makes TERRIBLE decisions. He needs to go. I have been saying this for months. One could see where the team had been going almost from the very start of the season. Now, this season is a total failure and is beyond rescue. Hiddink is gone. I only hope that come summer, Jose will come back!

Posted by Alan Frank on 02/28/2012

What suprises me is that there are still some Chelsea fans and nuetrals that support and believe in AVB? When you listen to what the muppet actually says when he is being interviewed in that annoying monotone voice of his, he either states the obvious and what has just happened or comes out with such a load of meaningless garbage usually including the words 'project' or the 'collective'. After last weekends game against Bolton I was delighted to hear the clown spouting forth on national sports tv how Frank Lampard's man of the match performance was no guarantee that he will play the next game for Chelsea 'as it doesn't work like that'?
No it doesn't work like that in AVB's world but there again he doesn't know what he's doing otherwise he would not have picked Bosingwa to play in Ashley Cole's left back position against Napoli. This very big Chelsea job is not easy and far better candidates have failed since Jose Mourinho. AVB is simply not up to standard and his results prove it.

Posted by mubarak s kamba on 02/29/2012

pls abromavich sacked andr
e villa boas he is not good for chelsea

Posted by Eyad Al-kobri on 02/29/2012

AVB has gotten the team selection wrong time and time again for me. When you keep playing your two best young players on the wing and not in their rightful places we never score. Yeah we concede alot offensively has been the problem. Sturridge wants to play striker and Mata is better in the middle of the pitch behind the striker. This should be how the formation should be:

Torres Sturridge
Mata

Lampard Ramires
Essien
Cole Terry Luiz Ivanovic
Cech

Posted by Nic on 02/29/2012

I am sick of you so called 'fans'. The man hasn't even been in charge for a year and already you are calling for his head. Have you ever heard of the word 'patience'?

Yes, we have struggled in comparison to other years under Roman, but Chelsea really aren't doing that badly: We have only lost 9 out of 37 games this season. Chelsea's problem is with firing coaches continuously - how do you expect the team to have foundations if the the man calling the shots leaves on a yearly basis? Every coach thus far have bought established superstars, rather than focusing on developing their youth squad (who are doing fantastically in the FA under-19's.

Give the man a couple of years: he is a young manager, not the reincarnation of Jesus! Stop expecting miracles!

Posted by Arjun on 02/29/2012

I liked the other writer better.

Posted by Carlos Slim on 02/29/2012

cheers mate!! a new correspondent for the team was way overdue!

Posted by Dr Simon Namwandi on 02/29/2012

Chelsea players must learn to fire long balls especially from both wings. For one to win, one needs to have fast player in the mid-field to enable them to supply the ball to the strikers. Sturridge must learn to play as team not lone player, in most cases, he was suppose to pass the ball to the striker who is waiting the ball at the goal post but he attepted to score. What a mess! The formation so far is ok, but need more coherence and composure. AVB, keep it up and hang on a bit!! All the best.

Posted by Stephen Acquah on 02/29/2012

Avb should blame himself if he is been sacked. Bcos he had all the chance to bring in his own players but what did he do? He shld just live.

Posted by Uzzi on 02/29/2012

I think Carlo shouldn't have got the sack last season. He should have been given one more season. Now he is gone look where Chelsea is!

Posted by john chow on 02/29/2012

villas boas poor perform at chelsea and alway blame to player but never think and blame for himself.....very poor coach since Roman bought chelsea club until now.........a manager no experience and challenge why still have job at chelsea club........

Posted by Roger on 02/29/2012

For someone on the outside of England who is a huge blue fan like you all it hurts to sit and watch this teams'performance,its there to see that the old guard is not as it used to be but then again its they who do the job for us time and time again!! i think avb went wrong by thinking he has to have ABSOLUTE control of the dressing room and to show he's BOSS because in the back of his mind he would have the knowledge to know that in the past some of these players have had a hand in the dismissal of managers,however his approach of singling out certain main men was totally wrong and dealt with in the wrong way,yes you have to assert your authority but with dignity and humility,there's nothing wrong with his team selections or his formations it all comes down to his relationship with the entire dressing room!!!!!! and it has been strained from the very beginning and truth be told if all you guys want to be honest with yourselves you'll see that this is the reason for our poor runs!!!!!!!

Posted by Dozie on 02/29/2012

Patience, guys, patience. We should do away with the culture of hiring and firing coaches. Chelsea needs stability now more than ever. AVB may not be the greatest of them all but sacking him now may cause another implosion.

Posted by Nyasha Dewu on 02/29/2012

AVB must learn to respect the senior players. They have all the necessary experience. The game is not only about running

Posted by Roger on 02/29/2012

yes Dozie patience is needed and if we are to move fwd wholesale changes would have to be made but in the mean time disharmony and dressing room disruption is killing the season plus if you ask me or any one really looking @ the matches I would tell you the team is way too slow!!!!!!!!!! slow from the midfield to the wingers with the exception of Sturridge and the forwards whether its Drogba or Torres are not at their best,what i am trying to point out is regardless of AVB and others the team generally isn't championship pedigree not only this season but the previous one as well,the transfer market for us was a joke in terms of the buys .......no real attacking midfielders no proper striker and we sold Alex and replaced him with who?????????? i know we need younger talent but look at what we have and tell me if it's good enough to compete,we can hardly put away bottom teams in the premier lg farless teams in CL!!!

Posted by berry on 02/29/2012

let d man do his job

Posted by Sid on 02/29/2012

Villas Boas, now that he is here should be given time. Although, I am not convinced that he be at the Bridge in the first place. Carlo Ancelloti had one absolutely amazing season. The next one was not so great but that happens to everyone, isn't it? He had an outstanding relationship with his players. He looked settled. He should never have been sacked. Or for that matter, Jose Morinho. Having said that, I think AVB needs to quickly sort out his differences with Lampard. He is still a top class midfielder. The guy scores whenever he puts that Blue shirt. Plus he is kind of guy who likes to play every week and not warm the benches. He is not used to coming on in the 75th minute and hit the ground running. All this has never happened to Chelsea. Certainly, no player is sacred. But Lampard never stopped netting goals. So it surprises me to see Raul Meireles on the team sheet every week and not Lampard. Comeon, Villas Boas, what do you see in Meireles apart from same nationality as yours.

Posted by Oladosu on 02/29/2012

Its nice by avb now he should keep it up , put more effort

Posted by Arian on 02/29/2012

Tactics are very much the problem. He has his own tactics but has players who are not accustomed to playing in those positions! Sturridge is extremely fast and left footed, but he has the mindset of a striker. He is too selfish to play winger. He needs to be playing striker. The only unselfish playmaker we have is Juan Mata. The defense is new and is establishing itself. And by god how I wish we could have snagged Luka. That midfield doesn't know the meaning of creativity. I hope we get Moutinho or someone of that mold. Our team doesn't like to create chances, they just shoot and pray.

Posted by Dan on 03/01/2012

I think both good and bad of AVB so far. To start with, he was probably just not cut out for this kind of pressure cooker job at this point. Probably needed more seasoning, to experience some trouble and learn to deal with it, before trying it at the highest level possible.

And while its obvious Chelsea requires some wholesale changes over the next few years, he tried to implement his new style too quickly, without the proper personnel.

But to judge a coach so quickly, before he has gotten a chance to even begin to reshape the roster, is hasty in my opinion. Everyone knew this would take longer than a year, and while he has been poor....so has everyone else at Chelsea. He has to get a bit longer.

Posted by Temmuz on 03/01/2012

AVB's XI selection was definitely suicidal. Now it'll be tougher for him to make a comeback on the 2nd leg.

My choice of the starting 11 would be:

Torres
Mata Lampard Sturridge
Essien Meireles
Cole Terry Cahill Ivanovic

It might seem pretty stupid to start Torres without Drogba, but theres 2 benefits to it:

1) If Torres does score, champs league game will give him huge confidence
2) Subbing on Drogba at the halftime, will help chelsea due to Napoli being exhausted, and everyone knows Drogba is very powerful, and will have advantage over their defenders.

Posted by Diggity Damo on 03/01/2012

Manager should manage the club. These influential players need to be moved on and it is fair he is trying to phase them out of the squad. Unfortunately AVB has not stuck to his convictions and when he calls on the remnants of Mourinho they keep delivering. AVB should make a stand and either remake his team (if he keeps the job) or resign if the players have the power.

Posted by Ron Stamos on 03/01/2012

I do not get what the media has against AVB. Sure, the guy's made some bad decisions but this is a TRANSITION YEAR. Is there any sane and rational Chelsea fan that expected them to run away with 3 titles this year? No, qualifying for the CL and a deep run in the cup competitions would have been more than satisfactory.

For all of his shortcomings and questionable tactics, AVB has made it further than SAF, Mancini, and Wenger in the Champions League. AVB had made it further than SAF, Mancini, and Wenger in the FA Cup. Comparatively, the guy HAS had success this year, it's just that the media has chosen to focus on a slightly sub-par performance in the league (which is another issue entirely.)

Give him time and the tropies will come (maybe even this year!)

Posted by Joel on 03/01/2012

Um Roger Alex was replaced with Cahill..

Posted by George Joky on 03/01/2012

bcos of inexperience, AVB thinks he can achieve d mandate of building a new team without d old players which never works at all. He shld know that for him 2 succeed, the veterans shld be central 2 his plans. I just hope he learns in time & more importantly given sometime.

Posted by Tringles on 03/01/2012

What all of you completely fail to see is that Villas-Boas's intention is for Chelsea to be successful constructed through his own project. He is coaching players that have played under way too many managers. It is nearly impossible to maintain a good record in matches if you are trying to rebuild a club and deal with the players of the mourinho trophy era at the same time. His contract is 3 years for a reason. I bet all of you Chelsea become an ultimate squad by next season because Villas Boas will shave off the dead weight and old players and create a great squad that he can actually call his own.

Posted by Kilima on 03/01/2012

AVB must play defensive football with fast counter attack. This has proven true in all games Chelsea attempted to play defensive with quick counter attach. I can mention one game which interested me is when they play with Newcastle United. I'm wondering why AVB can't see this. The question is "is AVB the right person for this job at this moment?". Personally my answer is big NO

Posted by solomon on 03/01/2012

AVB lacks team spirit.He shud know by now that his relationship with the players shud be paramount.

Posted by gd on 03/01/2012

AVB is a lame!!! he got no class, no brains, no tactic and no actics!! just recall how many times lampards has save his ass this year when he plays. We need leaders on the field. Is this the way to treat players that have contributed to the Blues success. look how he treat lampard, alex, anelka piss off He shld be sack!! if not we will becomes the next Arsenal with all the young goonie...

Posted by dj on 03/01/2012

avb: beware the ides of march.

Posted by kemar on 03/01/2012

I think avb is trying to shape up his buyer for the next season and he should be given more time to suceed at the bridge I'm following his pattern of play and I think he need midfielders who are much faster on and off the ball in the centre of the pitch. But frank to me is the best midfielder in the team and I would also say the league so he should feature more regularly and also michale E when. 100 per fit. There are players with quality in the team so they need to live up to their standard and give the coach more time to build his squad

Posted by David on 03/01/2012

To me i believe he needs to understand the player and learn how to be in charge of the team, and if you want to introduce new pattern of play for Chelsea it must be far more superior formation build by Jose, please anything short of that is a trash. please also let him not try to play player in there wrong position it is not is style of play if you want to do experiment it should not be in the primer-ship matches or champions league either it be in Carlin cup and FA.please AVB primer-ship and Uefa is the talking point of your achievement and if you fail in any, it showcase you as a bad coach. please learn and make adjust to this weakness of yours.

Posted by AJCook on 03/01/2012

It's sickening the sense of entitlement some Chelsea fans have due to Roman's roubles, does anyone remember pre-2003 when 4/5/6 was a good finish for us - to be calling for AVB's head and demonising him to the extent that has been done, is in my viewm absolutely disgusting.

Posted by Ben on 03/01/2012

Mr. Abrahamovic has invested a great deal of money on our Club. AVB has failed with the level of talent he has in his roster. He has made back breaking mistakes in line up as well as critical subs. Torres is a failure and we need to see more of Lukaku. Get rid of all Portuguese players!!!!

Posted by BARRINGTON. on 03/01/2012

I AM FROM JAMAICA AND I HAVE BEEN A CHELSEA FAN.MY IMPUT IS THAT YOU CANT MAKE MISTAKE BY LEAVING OUT SENOR PLAYERS BECAUSE OF PERSONAL DIFFERENCES,I LOVE THIS TEAM AND IT HURT ME SO MUCH TO SEE THEM IN THIS POSITION ,SINCE OF LATELY WHEN THEY ARE PLAYING I JUST WANT TO SEE THERE STARTING TEAM TO WATCH THE GAME.DRAGBA IS A SHODOW OF HIM SELF,SOMETIME I WONDER HOW LONG THE COACH HAVE TO WAITE TO MAKE THE CHANGES WHEN PLAYERS ARE NOT PLAYING GOOD.PLEASE HELP MY TEAM AT LEAST TO FINISH FOR THE NEXT CHAMPION LEGUE NEXT YEAR.

Posted by Eringloss on 03/01/2012

AVB, was in trouble at the outset. He is young, was a big winner last year, was entering a dressing room full of opinion, players who were hugely experienced who played under the most succesful coach, has an owner who wants immediate success, has a team of wilting stars. It was a hopeless situation. Having said this i also need to question AVP's ego and his lack of humble patience. He should have seen it was hopeless and waited. The stars, Drogba etc should have put the club first and helped but Prima Donna came to the fore. I am hugely disapointed in Terry, he is captain and he should have taken charge of the dissent, I am hugely disapointed in Lamps who underminded his coach with deliberate getures and very poor body language. There are 2 camps, young and old and Terry should have acted as captain. The older "Stars" (and there is more to being a Star than kicking the ball) forgot the CLUB. Roman needs to step up and let all know, who he buys he can sell.

Posted by matthew on 03/01/2012

lampard hasn't performed in the matches he's played? seriously? who else is scoring? who else is in the right place when needed (except mata)? ashley, too. not as dominant offensively as he's been, but he's still stop drawer on the left. essien is only just now fit. ask yourself this, when has mereiles produced when playing w/o lamps? when has torres? lamps may be aging, but he can and does make others better around him. avb's my-way-or-the-highway approach was faulted from the start. clear the decks of the old if you want to do that, but don't expect players with more silver than he can hope to ever win to take that kind of treatment. people want lamps to age gracefully like scholes or giggs ... scholes or giggs were never disrespected the way lamps has been. neither were they still scoring double-digit goals every season when they were platooned. the lack of regard and acknowledgement chelsea "fans" have shown a man who has brought (& can still bring) so much is appalling.

Posted by D. Devil's Advocate, Esq. on 03/01/2012

There's only on real problem with AVB's selection: other teams' strikers salivate every time David Luiz appears on the team sheet.

It's funny that beating Bolton somehow "proves" that his selection was wrong for the Napoli game. By that logic, he could have picked Wigan or Norwich or Swansea players for the CL game, because they all beat Bolton too, as if pounding the second bottom team in the BPL is somehow the same as playing a top European side away in the CL knockout rounds. I never thought even Chelsea fans were that stupid.

Posted by Victor Jason on 03/01/2012

Hi Guys,
AVB dug his grave a long time ago when he decided to throw Anelka and Alex. I wont be going into that issue at the moment cause its a waste of time. He does have an BIG chip on his shoulders and spends more time in the media trying to show he is the BOSS than spending time on amending his tactics to suit the players.

So it was quite suprising to find Malouda start and Cole being benched.
AVB may just not be the man afterall

Posted by FlyingBlues on 03/01/2012

It is time to make a bold decision, switch Luiz to RB and Ivanovic to Center till terryu arrives. Really and honestly need to get rid of bosingwa, ferreira, molouda and esp mikel. Molouda against napoli was an embarrasment to watch. I saw him taking 2 shots from outside of the box and both ended in the 50th row. about AVB, his team decision has been worst and his project and style of play looked really a struggle in this aging and Mourinho stamped team. I would give him another year with around 20-30M to buy (spend wisely) as 80M for hulk seem outrageous to me. He needs to find more players like Romeu and de Bruyne (altho his comments after we signed de bruyne were rather immature) and play them often. There is very little he can do about Torres' form, drogba's dodginess and sturry's age. His prferece for Molouda over Lampard, and Bosingwa (who barely manages to play at RB) over Cole at LB were suicidal indeed. Well RA being around cobham with sneiper amused me the most in past week.

Posted by OzBlueFan on 03/01/2012

Unfortunately, AVB was just too young, too inexperienced to be thrown in the deep end at a top Premier League club like Chelsea, that had trophy-winning, strong personalities in the dressing room.

One can infer from his, at times, incredulous decisions and team selections, plus the belligerent press conferences, that he certainly feels in over his head, thus over-reacting or being too heavy-handed in his management of personnel.

It also speaks volumes that none of the Porto players he wanted to bring to Chelsea were interested in coming over to play for him, even after a triple winnig season.

Like many, I don't believe Ancelotti should have been sacked. But now that AVB is here, there is enough potential in him that we should give him some more time to shape this "project" as he calls it and prove himself.

Posted by K3lv1n on 03/02/2012

I will always support chelsea no matter the club in what situation now. All we need to do is be patient now. I believe they will back up to top 3, once they over come the situation. With torres poor perform now i think he should play as right winger because he's assists more than score goals.

Posted by cramrav on 03/02/2012

Totally agree with AJCook. In addition, AVB should be given time. It should be accepted that Chelsea will not return to the Mourinho era. And the old guards are not the ones to return Chelsea to glory. The old guards are bad examples for tne new generation of players. If Chelsea will continue the musical chairs of coaches, then it will be good for the Manchester clubs because Chelsea will be mired in instability for the foreseeable future. Benitez - here he comes!

Posted by AARON MARK HENDRIX on 03/02/2012

It's ridiculous tht a team with Torres,Mata,Cech,etc can be playing so bad.But its true.You lack a "BOSS"like Fergie for example.He sticks and dies by his choices.He's the absolute tyrant.Defends his players.The players play for him.Yes I'm a United fan but let me put it to you this way.You need a Mourinho.When he was around you knew who was in charge.Roman let him be,until he started "under performing" and cut him loose.Mourinho had the team and they'd have killed for him.Currently,AVB doesnt have tht "gelling" ability.Senior players you have too are rulling the roost in the dressing room one suspects.You need to cut Terry,Lamps,Cole,etc and re-build.Sounds crazy I know,but you need to remove the baggage before you can make strides towards the goal.And besides,I'm sure there's still some roubles in the coffers to buy good replacements.Currently there's too many mouths talking and the ship isnt stable.If the gaffer isnt the MAIN man,you're bound for the dogs believe you me..

Posted by udoka on 03/03/2012

up blues,is quite sadden to c wats happenin to our dear club,d problem wit our team is dis,frm d defense,luiz is good but not gud enough to play central,he shld be moved to play Lampard's role,struridge as a winger is not creative,he s too selfish.we shld revise bk 4-4-2... Torres Mata luiz essien Mikel ramilraz cole, Terry,Cahill,ivanovic.

Posted by Onah kosi..in enugu Nigeria on 03/03/2012

Lampard,terry,drogba,cole,essien..etc...struggle,play and give everything for chelsea all these years...and now someone wants to faze them out just like that?...look at man united...even paul scholes has been asked to come and help out...look at that level of regard and respect from sir alex...how abt ryan giggs?.....AVB has disgruntled chelsea core players...he has failed to realise that he needs the "old guard" to help in the transition...has there ever been a "project" at man united or hav they not been progressive?(with the older players helping to usher in the new ones)...every season lampard nets double figures..drogba still has quality and is not performing because of dissaccord with the manager..(same happened under scolari and he became explosive as soon as guus stepped in)..AVB is a kid.He has a lot to learn before stepping up to a club like chelsea...We have lost Alex...Anelka..to his poor people skills....AvB should go..ancelloti should have stayed.and our warriors should be allowed to age gracefully(treat them with respect for whom they were and for who they stil are)..hala chelsea!

Posted by Eringloss on 03/03/2012

I think David Luis is an amazing footballer BUT I do not think he is an amazing central defender. I think he can be the best defensive midfielder in England. The Roy Keane of Chelsea. This lad has attitude, fearless, ball skills, vision, is a great distributor, can beat players, has speed, physical presence and can score.

Posted by alhassan issah from Ghana, n/r tamale on 03/03/2012

avb should be given time to set up his own squad to win trophies.for me i think drogba, kalou,malouda mikel,cole,lampard bosingwa and sturridge should all leave the club.

Posted by Ch Ch on 03/04/2012

I do not believe a revolving door of Managers is the solution for Chelsea FC.

People are always quick to point fingers when things don't go as planned, but Chelsea Football Club needs to:

1. Decide upon a Manager and back him.

2. Hold the players accountable for their performances.

3. Settle personal issues being closed doors.

Posted by Grimbold Romanavolatature on 03/04/2012

So Cole, Essien, and Lampard are in the side and they lose to WBA. So what's the answer now, armchair generals? It certainly can't be these players are over-rated geezers on a declining team that is sketchy on defense. No, clearly it's AVB's fault. Clearly it's his fault that nobody created a tap-in for Fat Frank to finish so it can appear he's a brilliant scorer, or that Essien is a genius of the sideways and backwards pass, or that COle is just a deplorable human being.

Posted by Chris Inns on 03/04/2012

The blame for poor performances lays directly at the feet of under performing, over paid players who think that everything should fall their way. Why should they have to put in a 100% honest effort? Get rid of the constant under achievers and bad attitudes. I don't like to see my team lose, but in reality it's about all they deserve right now. AVB was brought in with a 3 year plan and not instant success. Abramovich and all you other "fans", give it a chance. Short term pain for long term gain.

Posted by Adsi Rich on 03/04/2012

Roman can sack AVB and probably will, but who's to follow? Benitez?? How about we just go into administration, get relegated and be done with it! If these Benitez rumours are true then we should thank our lucky stars we have AVB!! Better to struggle to make the top four than to languish in mid-table for the next few seasons...

Posted by AJ BAnks on 03/04/2012

Finally AVB is gone, any idiot with a copy of FIFA12 could stack a better lineup than the late Chelsea boss! I am an american footballer and love watching the worlds best at club level. No team is more exciting than the Blue's side when in top form. It saddens me to see class players in bad form, top strikers w no goals, and most of all green rooks lacking CL quality in the side come matchday!
Here is an outsiders view of problems and solutions.
Torres, Lampard, Sturridge= poor form > more playing time, Torres esp needs to have the full backing and play every match whistle to whistle, then and only then will they regain their dominance of lesser foes.
Two players who stop the flow so to speak while they are fit to run 4 ever, but lack the quality to play alongside stars of Chelsea caliber... Malouda & Ramirez. Theese are super subs at best! I would like to see a side in which we incorperate all of our top names and they play until they physically can not, this will solidify chemist

Posted by AJ BAnks on 03/04/2012

Torres
Sturridge Mata

Lampard Raul


Essien
--------------------------------------------------
Cole Ivo


Cahill Terry

Chech

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About
Phil Lythell Phil Lythell is a Chelsea season ticket holder and lifelong Blues supporter stretching back to the sepia-tinted days of Kerry Dixon and Pat Nevin. Author of Chelsea-centric blog ShoutyandSpitty.com, Phil has spent his entire life living within a 20 minute walk of Stamford Bridge which has cost him a fortune but has also kept him from those interminable queues outside Fulham Broadway Station giving him more time in the pub to discuss the latest glorious/calamitous/insipid match.

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