Sunday, April 1, 2012
It is a known fact that Roman Abramovich goes into panic mode when his Chelsea team stumbles either in the Premier League or in the Champions League. He has done so in numerous occasions during his ownership of the Blues. With the inevitable departure of Andre Villas Boas, Roberto Di Matteo was entrusted with the task of seeing the current Chelsea players through the season. RDM as he is now known, has shown that a temporary manager fare a whole lot better at Stamford Bridge.
RDM has done fantastically well since taking over from AVB. From impossible situations and player power, he has guided Chelsea into the Champions League quarterfinal and FA Cup semifinal. Overcoming a 3-1 deficit against Napoli and victory over Leicester have earned RDM the player's respect and the chance to improve on Chelsea's poor season. Under Di Matteo's Chelsea, the enigma who is Fernando Torres is even beginning to regain form and goalscoring touch. El Nino has scored three goals and made four goals since AVB's sacking.
Abramovich clearly knew what he was doing when he sacked AVB. The owner was sure that results would improve once the manager was gone and he dealt his ruthless hand. It wasn't a risk, in his mind, after all he had done it before, sacking Mourinho and Scolari, bringing in Avram Grant and Guus Hiddink. The previous temporary assignments had brought immediate results to Chelsea.
Scolari's initial superb run of results with Chelsea earned the World Cup winning Brazilian rave reviews. However his "flying fullback" tactics were subsequently found out, and after a 2-0 defeat at Anfield, he was sacked. Guus Hiddink was brought in to carry Chelsea through that troubled season. He did just that, with Chelsea winning the FA Cup against Everton. However, the Dutchman could not secure the Premier League title for Abramovich. Players and fans truly loved the football that he presented.
All three interim managers have winning records since taking over from their predecessors, lending weight to the perception that stand-in managers do better with the same squad of Chelsea players than their sacked predecessors had done.
Sinister undertones of players refusing to perform for their beleaguered managers? The troubled manager losing dressing room confidence before his sacking? After all, this is Chelsea with larger-than-life players.
Anything is possible at the high profile, multinational club like Chelsea. For now though, the replacement manager is doing a great job, uniting players and fans alike. More crucially, Torres finally looks happy.
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