Poisoned Chalice or Perfect Opportunity?
Andre Villas Boas is now the world's most expensive football manager, tasked with the unenviable task of ensuring that Roman Abramovich can bring home the UEFA Champions' League Trophy from the Allianz Arena next May without committing a felony. Now is that the type of pressure that "makes diamonds" or the type of pressure that cripples even the best of men?
Carlo Ancellotti was sacked almost exactly 1 year after winning Chelsea's first ever domestic double,with the commonly accepted reason for dismissal being the relative lack of success on the European front. Having secured 2nd place in the Premier League after looking like they would drop out of the Champions League qualification positions during their abysmal run during winter, one would think that Carlo had done a good enough job over the time that he was there to continue. Not even the best can win the league every year and winning the Champions League during this era of Barcelona dominance would be an extraordinary accomplishment for any club. The pressure placed on Villas-Boas and all the mangers who've preceded him to deliver the Champions League has been greater than even that which has been placed upon the managers at Real Madrid.
So what kind of squad will AVB inherit at Stamford Bridge? A relatively small squad with players at both ends of the age spectrum with not many in between, a squad with an abundance of attacking talent, not much else, a great goal keeper and a few good defenders. One experienced winger, one great goalkeeper and a midfield that seems to be in need of a tactical and physical revolution. The biggest problem Andre will need to find a solution for is that of the strikers. Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka, Fernando Torres, Saloman Kalou, the returning Daniel Sturridge and the possible new arrival, Radamel Falcao can't all play. Having 6 strikers is great if they can be rotated effectively and they work hard to make the most of limited pitch time.This requires them to play effectively with each other and 1 or 2 are younger, more inexperienced ones to keep the others on their toes, but if the 5/6 can't or won't accept the new reality, it may be best to sell 1 or 2 of them.