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A Bridge Too Far For Ancelotti As Romans Axe Strikes Again



Abramovich is possibly the most of demanding owners in the PremiershipAxed Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti paid the ultimate price for not leading Chelsea to Champions League glory, which Russian owner Roman Abramovich so desperately craves. The phrase “your fired” usually only appears on the apprentice but is becoming all too familiar these days at Stamford Bridge. The obsession the Russian billionaire has with leading the South West London club to European success, has seen seven other managers bite the dust since he purchased the club back in 2003.

The next Chelsea manager will be the 8th manager in the last 7 years and will have to hit the ground running if he is to survive the Abramovich axe. That said, despite Ancelotti winning the double in his first season in charge, the first time in Chelsea’s 106 year history, his early Champions League exits in both campaigns he was in charge for, losing to Inter Milan last season and then again to Manchester United this season, ultimately cost him his job.

In a football world at Stamford Bridge where managers are judged on results, trophies and success, Ancelotti was never going to survive after a disappointing 2nd season in charge. The only thing he lifted this season was his famous eyebrow, not an appropriate measure of success in Abramovich’s eyes and more significantly, not enough to meet the clubs high expectations, where second is simply not good enough. The harsh reality of life at Stamford Bridge under Roman Abramovich.

Even against the backdrop of five straight wins at the start of the season including big wins against Wigan and West Brom, which propelled Chelsea to the Premier League summit, a continuation of the devastating form they showed at the backend of the previous season couldn’t save the 51 year old Italian his job.

However Chelsea’s uncharacteristic slump in form over Christmas is where the season began to crumble for Ancelotti’s men. A run of 5 defeats in 11 games that saw them take only 10 points, proved in the end to big a challenge for them to overcome.

Despite a late season charge that saw them cut Manchester United’s 18 point lead to just 3 points wasn’t enough to save Ancelotti his £6 million a year job. The gap eventually crept back up to 9 points following defeat at Everton on the final day, which proved in the end to be his final game in charge. Nobody can deny that Chelsea showed great fight and character to recover but not sufficient to appease Roman Abramovich’s hand.  

All in all, the last few months of Ancelotti’s reign bears a striking resemblance to Jose Mourinho’s acrimonious departure back in September 2007. The similarities in particular surrounding the signings of Anderi Shevchenko and Fernando Torres.  Both big name European strikers signed for huge transfer fees, but on both occasions it must be questioned whether Mourinho or Ancelotti wanted them, or as many people predict they were “Abramovich signings”.

The demise of star striker Didier Drogba who hit an impressive 29 league goals the season before, struggled to do the same this season, coupled with Frank Lampard’s two month absence with a groin injury and Fernando Torres’s failure to settle in at Stamford Bridge could be held responsible for Chelsea’s below par season and with it Ancelotti’s departure.

For the new man in the Chelsea hot seat at least, a chance to turn a group of aging underachievers into a group of born again hungry winners. Let the Stamford lion roar loudest, not only in England but in Europe as well. Whoever it is, let’s hope for his sake he celebrates instant champagne Champions League success next May in Munich, or next time perhaps it will be Abramovich’ s time to wave goodbye to Chelsea and the fall of the “Roman” empire.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. gary

    May 24, 2011 at 11:17 AM

    We complain that Chelsea have had 7 managers in 8 years but forget that Chelsea is in a different position to most teams. Chelsea can afford to buy and pay off managers while other teams can’t. If other teams don’t have a genius like Ferguson, they have to settle for less or hope their average manager improves. Abramovich is not looking for someone average, he is after the best. His first choice, Mourinho, was the best, but a conflict arose. Since then he has been shopping. When he finds his genius, things will settle.

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