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AVB – Off With His Head?!

Yesterday, TheChelseaBlog ran a reader’s post on the subject of AVB – now here’s my own take on it.

The knives really seem to be out for Andre Villas-Boas – and this time, it’s our own supporters rather than the press. Not that we’re fickle or anything, but with more or less the same points at this stage of the season under AVB that we had the same time last year under Ancelotti, there seems to be rather a large section of supporters calling for his head. Probably the very same supporters who felt Carlo had been harshly treated at the end of last season but that’s the football fan’s logic for you.

And why exactly do they want to see AVB’s arse? Because he’s not Jose fucking Mourinho probably!

Ok, so Mourinho brought us a couple of titles and AVB clearly won’t be making a start on that just yet but are their starting places even comparable? Of course they’re not.  Jose picked up a well-stocked squad on arrival, a squad fully furnished with talent, energy and motivated to go looking for top-spot in view of the world’s press wanking over our latest purchases on a weekly basis. AVB, on the other hand, picked up a smaller squad and one that had been desperate for an overhaul for at least a couple of seasons.  As for the energy and motivation, well put it this way – if you flog a dead horse, does it get up and win the Grand National?

Aside from the squad he’d already inherited though, money was no object as far as the Mourinho era went, he could add whoever he liked at whatever cost.  Or in other words, if he was a builder, he had all the tools available to him to establish the sort of erection one would expect.  AVB meanwhile would be lucky to get to a semi this season with the tools he was left in his box. Besides, even if Roman had chosen to give AVB the same sort of funds he very generously bestowed on Jose, with City’s money making us look like paupers in comparison, he wouldn’t have had the sort of carte blanche in the transfer market TSO enjoyed.

Ah, but AVB hasn’t introduced youth has he? So that must be a stick worthy of beating him with, although I’d have to think it’s more like a straw to clutch at bearing in mind half of the supporters whingeing about it probably haven’t been around long enough to have seen the debut of our last youth player to truly establish himself in our first team. He’s been at Chelsea six months and in that time he’s expected to have done what none of his predecessors in recent history have genuinely considered? They’d no doubt tell us getting beat every week as a result would’ve been acceptable as long as it was youngsters though, right?

What about those results though, I mean we’re totally struggling to get any this season, right? Well, if you take our start to 2012, we’re unbeaten. Could you say the same about the start to 2011 under Carlo at this stage? How about the start of 2007 under our much more ‘special’ manager? Obviously I’m asking the question because the answer is no, so how bad is AVB doing really?

Of course, we’ve had to watch some pretty lethargic performances this season.  Players like Malouda, Bosingwa have us pulling our hair out, yet these are inherited players (one of them brought in by Mourinho incidentally).  Should AVB have sold them the minute he was in the door without having a look at them? Or should he have them sit games out where we already have players like JT, Lampard, Mikel and Ramires out injured? Here’s another idea, maybe he should wait til our defence has finally managed a run of clean sheets to introduce a new signing like Gary Cahill? The truth is, he’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. He wasn’t shy of dropping Lampard when it was warranted and in spite of the inevitable questions that went with that decision, he continued to make it.

The thing is though, Cahill’s there, he’s a good addition and when we do actually need to bring him in, AVB will use him, just like he’s done with Mata, Meireles, Romeu and occasionally Lukaku.  And in spite of our former manager sending Sturridge out on loan, AVB also had the nous to bring him back and more than give him his chances – exactly what he’ll do with Josh McEachran when he’s ready.

Of course, he could always have responded to criticism by going out on a spend up and bringing in players like Kezman, Tiago, Jarosik, Del Horno, SWP, Maniche or, God help us -, Boulahrouz, but thankfully he didn’t, so for now he’ll continue to get slated for not being able to make a silk purse out of the sow’s ear he’s got – and the pantomime fanatics amongst us will continue to thrive on it.

Fourth in the table, still in the Champions League – Off with his head!



Blue is the colour is an honest insight to the World of Chelsea FC. Not always pretty, sometimes rather cynical, but always realistic.


February 2012
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