Chelsea players turn on AVB

by Andreas Vassiliades

in Premier League

Andre Villas-Boas, new to London, new to Chelsea, new to the English Premiership and, to some degree, new to football management. Having been a professional football manager for only a handful of years and, considering his relatively youthful age (in comparison to others in the same profession), yet to experience any serious issues the Chelsea manager is on course for one now. Supposedly, many members of the Chelsea first team squad have mutinied.

Nicolas Anelka already jumped ship, or, as others would have you believe, was pushed out. Alex, the Brazilian central defender, was also hounded out of the club. Both departures were seen as victories in the dressing room for Andre Villas-Boas, part of a greater strategy for the Portuguese tactician to take control, absolute control, of the Chelsea dressing room. The reason for these need for control was because, for several seasons, ever since Jose Mourinho’s departure, in fact, it appeared, from the outside, that the Chelsea players, especially the influential contingent including Didier Drogba, Petr Cech, John Terry, Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard, were asserting too much control over team selection and tactical decisions. Managers such as Luiz Felipe Scolari and Avram Grant had struggled to assert their control. Andre Villas-Boas was adamant he would not fall to the same problem. He was going to determine tactics and team selection alone, apart from outside interest.

Now this course set for collision has finally reached its conclusion. The players are engaged in open warfare with their manager as both sides struggle for control. Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea football club, has so far sided with his inexperienced manager, thinking that the young Portuguese tactician is in the right in his attempts to bring down the average age of the squad and to try to implement a new style of play. Pertinently, the manager is also trying to reduce the wage bill and help Chelsea get in line with the impending new UEFA fair play regulations. Now, however, many of the players and the managerial staff are arguing. On Tuesday afternoon it was alleged that the players had a vocal and volatile disagreement with Andre Villas Boas on the Chelsea training ground at Cobham. There was, seemingly, shouting on both sides and plenty of finger pointing. The players pointed out their unhappiness with the managers tactical decisions and the manager, in turn, pointed out each of the players mistakes that have cost the team so much this season. How this will end up nobody knows but there is a power struggle raging at Stamford Bridge and, in such circumstances, there will be only one power holder at the end.

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