The problems at Chelsea have been well documented and for many, still exist. Ageing squad members, an owner with no patience and a desperate desire for that elusive Champions League trophy, distinct lack of creativity and width in midfield and, not to forget, the controversial dismissal of assistant manager to Carlo Ancelotti, and fans favourite, Ray Wilkins.
Last season, with those problems, and others, Chelsea received negative media coverage and the buoyant feeling of recent seasons was a distant memory, understandably.
Up steps Portuguese ‘smoothy’ Andres Villas Boas to take the highly prized yet massively unpredictable Chelsea hot seat. Is he worried? No. Has Roman Abramovich warned of ‘very big trouble’ should he not deliver a trophy next season? Probably. Can Villas Boas be successful at Chelsea despite the inevitable pressures and lack of managerial experience? Yes.
Andres Villas Boas has an aura about him, perhaps one that Carlo Ancelotti didn’t have. Not only has he already been at Chelsea and learnt from Stamford Bridge ‘pin up’ Jose Mourinho during his time there, but also, when he was sixteen years of age, got the chance to work under legendary Englishman Bobby Robson at FC Porto’s observation department. Yes, I’m not fully aware what that is either, but still, he must have had something about him.
When in charge at FC Porto, Villas Boas was adored by the clubs fans. His subsequent departure infuriated the Porto faithful after he’d previously committed his future to the club shortly after they’d secured the Europa League trophy. He was loved by all at the club and nobody wanted him to leave. Arguably, the last man to be hailed in that way at Porto was Jose Mourinho and we all know how well he did at Chelsea.
But, it happened, the lure of Premier League football and, perhaps, the money at Chelsea was enough to tempt Andres Villas Boas to go back on his word. Cue the animosity from the “Portistas”. Money really does talk these days, after all. Chelsea are, too, a top European club on a Champions League mission. Nothing has changed since Villas Boas was last at the club then, really?!
Villas Boas was no bargain either, costing Chelsea a staggering £13.3 million compensation to activate his release clause and therefore, free him from his contract at FC Porto. Is he worth it? I think so.
Quotes from his recent press conference already suggest he will give the players more freedom to attack and play the way they want to: “It’s not just about winning, but winning with a certain amount of flair. Everyone likes attacking football.”
He added: “If you see the technical staff in front of me, and my appointment of Roberto(Roberto Di Matteo, former Chelsea player), these are people who like the quality of the game and have a philosophy.
“The Premier League has a certain amount of goals in every game and it should be an entertaining game for the fans and that is what we will look to do.”
Those comments can only excite the players and supporters of Chelsea.
In some quarters, Chelsea have been slated over recent years, especially under Mourinho, for playing negative, hard to break down football. Andres Villas Boas plays a similar way. The ‘Mourinho 4-3-3’ is still his favoured formation but Chelsea fans can expect this particular system to be a lot more attacking. In other words, Mourinho liked to stay solid, get a lead then close the game out. Andres Villas-Boas on the other hand, will like to win well, play attractive football and entertain the fans. That can only be good, no? Arsenal fans?
Is Andre Villas-Boas similar to Jose Mourinho in any other way? Not really. Oh hang on, he’s Portuguese and likes hair gel.
Can’t really write this article without mentioning the man everybody loves to hate from last season – Fernando Torres. Remember him? I kind of do. Apparently, he’s a fairly decent Spanish striker, some say he’s now massively overvalued despite being one of the best forwards in world football 2-3 years ago. Do I think he will come good and score a few goals next season? Of course.
Andres Villas-Boas will want to address the lack of creativity and width in midfield that haunted Chelsea for large parts of last season. Signing a quality wide man, which is believed to be in his plans, and an attacking central midfielder, Luka Modric is a Chelsea target, can only help Torres and a few other underperforming ‘top’ players around him.
Chelsea ran out of ideas last season. Poor tactics and lacklustre displays from senior players, granted there could be other reasons too, meant an out of sorts ‘Nando’ not only had the pressure of his £50million price tag on his shoulders but he was playing in a side that was not creating many chances, in a system that clearly didn’t suit him. Will that change next season? Yes, Andres Villas Boas has already said so.
Well it’s done. I’ll sum it up in simplistic terms: I like Villas-Boas, he oozes confidence, likes to play attacking football and Fernando Torres, yes Fernando Torres, will shine next season and beyond, as long as Villas-Boas is in charge. As for Roman Abramovich, he’ll be witnessing this attacking football promised by Villas-Boas and a few trophies too so he should be happy, for once.
Chelsea to boom with Boas in charge? Very much so.
By Mark Gregory – Chelsea fan