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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Andrés Villas Boas to Succeed in The Quest for the Holy Grail ?

Chelsea was like an army without it's king post the sacking of Ancelloti, and this added to the worries of it's people(say fans). The anxiety had started to increase as several names began doing the rounds and when it seemed the old war horse Guus Hiddink would relinquish his post as Turkey's national manager to lead Chelsea back to glory, in steps Abramovich with his magic wand..Kaboom.. And Chelsea get a new manager in Andrés Villas Boas. (I like Abramovich's magic. He always keeps you flabbergasted. You never know who comes and who goes.)

A young manager in Andrés Villas Boas might just be the tonic Chelsea need at the moment. After having the tried and tested men at the Bridge, Abramovich certainly has surprised everyone by choosing the underdog to lead a team desperate to claim the Holy Grail. Jose Mourinho delivered it with 2 teams and Carlo Ancelloti has secured it twice. But at Chelsea everyone has stumbled and fell right on their face while chasing the coveted dream. Will AVB be another of Roman's victim's or will he make Stamford Bridge all of his own? Let's see.

Old AV of 2005 & New Villa-Boas of 2011
Andrés Villas Boas or AVB or Villas Boas as he is refered to is no stranger to the Bridge or the players who currently are at the Bridge previously having played under Jose Mourinho. His transition from being Robson's protege to Mourinho's spy is something worth mentioning. Under Mourinho his role as an opposition scout was praised as his in depth analysis, detailed dossiers and a collection of DVD's on the opposition helped Jose and the players a great deal. AVB starting his career all the way down in the organizational chart and reaching a stage where he has the whole team looking upto him is something which will connect him very well with the team including the backroom staff.

Since his appointment as Chelsea manager everyone has an astonishing look on their face with a question on their lips. Is this the next 'Mourinho'? This is something everyone needs to understand and avoid. AVB has built his own stature and reputation and trying to compare his achievements with the 'The Special One' is disrespect to both the men. When you never hear someone say that Mourinho can do a Fergie or maybe comparison's between Ancelloti and Capello being carried out, then why do fans put needless pressure on a man who has his own inviduality. Saying this I would like to point out that he could go on to be one of the best in the job. Starting so early, so young, certainly gives you an advantage over others.

AVB certainly hasn't had a game on the sidelines at the Bridge yet but surely is making his impact felt off the pitch after he cancelled Chelsea's friendly with Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem citing reasons that the training woudn't be good enough for the senior players to get in shape. Such serious commitment to training might certainly be of help to the squad on match day. He is also in the process of shaping his backroom staff  having released the assistant first-team coach Paul Clement, the fitness coach Glen Driscoll and the club doctor Bryan English . For a guy who started his career working a lot of time behind the scenes, he surely knows how important it is for him to get his support staff right. One shouldn't doubt him and Abramovich would like AVB's no nonsense attitude which is why he would have been bought in the first place in addition to his impressive managerial display at Porto.

A lot of players still hanging around have been there from the time AVB was in the role of opposition scout. And without a doubt many have reached a age from where the performance on the pitch is only gonna get slow and weary. It will take a huge task for AVB to not only rebuild the team for season 2012 but also the long term future. Roman will be ever ready to splurge money for new players but AVB might realize that in the benefit of the club it would be right to promote the club's youngsters, some of whom have moved on to other clubs for lack of opputunities at Chelsea. It's time to start preparing for the 'UEFA Financial Fair Play' which dictates that you spend only how much you earn. And if additional money is used to buy new players Chelsea might be in a spot of bother when the rule is implemented.

Chelsea's present
 AVB has always been a follower of 4-3-3 and if he decides to go with the available squad then for sure he will have the 4-3-3 in place as Chelsea have always been comfortable playing in this formation. The kind of manager AVB is he will give Cole and Ivanovic full freedom to attack down the flanks which Cole especially has always been wanting and something which he likes. Essien as a holding midfielder has always been crucial in moving the ball to attack while also defending when the ball gets in his half. The midfield isn't a problem but the attacking 3 is always a confusion. Preferred Sturridge and Malouda to support the player in a striking position, a role on the pitch which is certainly gonna give AVB a big headache as his predecessor. Drogba was always better off playing with Anelka as a striker out of position. With Torres included it's tough to have both of them on the field as Torres likes someone to play him the ball whereas Drogba is an all in out striker which surely is a tough ask on him.
Chelsea's hopeful future
On the new players front Chelsea haven't signed anyone yet, but they would do good on buying Aguero, Moutinho and Thiago Alcantara. 3 young guys are surely going to increase the pace and agility of a Chelsea squad which has most of it's players on the upper side of 30. These 3 choices are made considering the present squad in mind. An overhaul of the entire squad is impossible and highly inadvisable. They will fit into the current system which is why I have selected the 3 to be the men Chelsea want. Aguero is a perfect fit considering he can play as a striker who can support Torres. He can play the ball on his own , attack deep into the opposition's defence and also provide to the hungry striker lurking close to goal. Both of them having played together at Atletico Madrid can only help matters to get better. However with him appearing to be closing in on Juve, Chelsea have to perform a trick to bring him to Stamford Bridge. AVB's preference for Falcao might also not support this cause. Moutinho might be a surprising choice for many of you but surely he is an apt choice. He isn't a youngster but has bloomed into a central midfielder who can play in any midfield position, including the flanks and as an attacking or holding midfielder .Perfect to Chelsea because of the fact that at Chelsea there isn't a real midfield tactician. His box-to-box dynamism is impressive and he could be a wonderful midfielder at the Bridge. Thiago Alcantara needs no introduction after his freekick in the final of the U21Euro 2011 sealed Spain's win. A look at the free kick and surely you would want this kid to be on your side. Currently at Barca this lad plays in a CM position. Chelsea needs someone who can make the CM position his own. And Thiago matches what Chelsea is looking out for. With Chelsea's freekick specialist Lampard and Drogba , both no younger than 33 Thiago could fit into that role as well. At 19 he could be the youngster Chelsea have been missing. An increase in his buyout clause from ₤30million to ₤90million could be AVB's reason to forgo the young lad.

In bringing AVB to Stamford Bridge Roman Abramovich has made a gamble, but a calculated gamble. A man who had the education of a Bobby Robson, has learnt things from Jose Mourinho is definitely a good man to be at the helm of Chelsea. Is this a 3-4 year programme against the one where he has to win something in the 1st year is something we don't know yet. Will AVB manage to impress the Chelsea fans and the owner? It's a tough ask, a tough challenge, something the Chelsea faithful wish and hope he can live upto.


  1. Bringing through Josh McEachran could be another of AVB's challenges

  2. Big time. Now with news that Essein is injured, Josh could be given the push. The challenge for AVB would be to build this team from a superstar one to a team which could play together for a long long time.

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