Somewhere deep in the Premier League rule book, there must be a lesser known clause that at any one point during a campaign, at least one side must be deemed to be ‘in crisis.’
Less than a week ago it was Manchester City. A couple of scoreless draws and the end was nigh. Unconfirmed confidant’s and faceless sources were at the mercy of the press pack, telling all and sundry that the City camp was far from a happy place. Tales of dressing room discontent and misgivings about the manager were rife, with Roberto Mancini apparently ‘under pressure’, ‘fearing the axe’ and ‘on the brink’ of something or another.
One win later and they are now out of crisis having been safely usurped by Chelsea. Three defeats in four either side of the sudden dismissal of Ray Wilkins, last night led to a host of completely unfounded rumours that Carlo Ancelotti had tendered his resignation to the club.
Of course, during Monday’s press conference ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League tie with MSK Zilina, Ancelotti chose to completely deny all rumours that he was contemplating ending his 18 month stay in west London, “These
The Italian also clarified reports that he’d contacted the League Managers Association for advice on his position, “They called me [on Sunday night] when I was at home, quiet, to find out what was happening.”
So, with talk of resignations put to bed, let us reflect on the rest of the ‘crisis’ which is currently engulfing Stamford Bridge.
Of course, recent form is a cause for concern. The three defeats during November have only been appeased by a narrow victory over Fulham, with the previously free-scoring Blues restricted to just one goal over this period. The slump in points and performances have been offset against a number of injuries which have exposed the limitations of the squad at Ancelotti’s disposal, yet the champions still find themselves top with their main competitors all in far from flawless pursuit.
The anaemic display against Sunderland would have worried many in the Chelsea camp yet returning empty handed from Birmingham was not all doom and gloom. Before and after Lee Bowyer’s well taken but poorly defended goal, Chelsea were the dominant force in terms of possession and chances and a combination of Ben Foster, the woodwork and Chelsea’s own fallacies in front of goal meant Ancelotti’s men contrived to lose a game they should have won.
That in itself maybe a sign that things are not fully operative, yet Ancelotti claimed post-match that if Chelsea play like that all season they will win the league. Aside from having to put the ball in the net, Ancelotti appeared calm about another defeat, and has opportunity to remedy these in the upcoming games against Slovakian whipping boys Zilina and the inconsistent Newcastle.
The melting pot has been further added to and stirred with the timing of these defeats coinciding with Wilkins departure as Ancelotti’s right hand man. Indeed Ancelotti confessed it was ‘not his decision’ to axe Wilkins – the man who Ancelotti went to lengths to praise following the Blues historic league and cup double last season.
Michael Emenalo has been promoted from behind the scenes as Wilkins replacement, apparently without Ancelotti’s full blessing which led to the 51-year-old former Milan boss saying that he enjoyed much less control of his club compared with counterpart sir Alex Ferguson.
Interference from the boardroom has been rife since Roman Abramovich took control, with Jos