The English Premier League (EPL) is arguably the most popular footballing league in current times with breathtaking action and awe-inspiring gameplay. Fans across the world wait with bated breath in anticipation of excellent performances from some of the best footballers in the world.
The league certainly has its own share of mysteries at the same time. However, the biggest mystery surrounding the league is certainly the topsy-turvy fortunes of Chelsea, who are considered as one of the top teams in world football.
The club rightly deserves so having lifted the FA Cup eight times, the Premier League on five occasions along with the UEFA Champions League once in 2011-12. Chelsea have further won the Football League Cup, FA Community Shield along with a host of trophies on many an occasion.
However, one major factor behind their inability to dominate English football to the same extent as that of Manchester United under Alex Ferguson has been ‘inconsistency’. This inconsistency has been created due to a lack of concrete managerial structure.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has been guilty of being exceedingly ‘trigger-happy’ when it comes to dealing with managers unable to deliver instant results. Managers have also been sacked in case of disagreements over the transfer policy or budgetary constraints stunting the growth of players heralding the beginning of a period of anxiety.
Antonio Conte and Maurizio Sarri are prime examples of the concerns that surround the club on a regular basis in this regard. Former Juventus manager Conte was given an opportunity to help the club reach the heights it was capable of. The first season seemed like a massive success in this regard with Chelsea lifting the Premier League. However, the problems started creeping in during the second season with the Italian shown the door despite leading the side on to winning the FA Cup.
Former Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri was then identified as the perfect successor to Conte with his free-flowing football and ability to identify quality talent. Chelsea had developed an unwelcome reputation of encouraging an ‘effective yet lackadaisical’ style of football in the minds of a certain section of the audience. Sarri’s appointment seemed like the perfect solution for boosting the sagging morale of the fans while reinforcing the club in the right direction.
The chain-smoking Italian manager certainly made the fans jump to their feet in the opening games. Chelsea shattered the Premier League record for recording the longest unbeaten run after Sarri avoided defeat in his first 12 league games at the club. Several experts further went to the extent of hailing the current Chelsea side as capable of matching the same levels as the Arsenal side which went unbeaten back in 2003/04.
However, the good fortune which accompanied the club initially faded away soon, leaving the club and fans in an all-too-familiar situation. The fans turned on him when the going got tough with a few admitting later on that the manager never enjoyed the same connect as that shared by Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelloti.
Sarri never had a word of praise for the travelling fans and indicated a sense of reluctance when asked to lead his side out for the pre-match ceremony of the FA Community Shield.
The club officials further grew to despise him after his complete lack of desire to indulge in any ambassadorial, commercial or media duties. A charity venture spearheaded by Abramovich further drew the ire of Sarri who complained about the event being organised ahead of the Europa League final against Arsenal in Baku.
All these factors have resulted in the club opting to let go of Maurizio Sarri with Frank Lampard expected to replace the Italian. However, Lampard’s appointment is hardly a solution to the problems which have been plaguing Chelsea since the departure of Claudio Ranieri.
11 managers have been appointed by the club excluding two caretakers which is an alarming statistic in itself.
Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho kicked off a revolution with Chelsea following his exploits with Porto after being well-backed in the transfer market by Abrahamovic. However, despite all the trophies which came their way, rows over transfers and a slow start in 2007/08 resulted in Mourinho leaving by ‘mutual consent’ in September 2007.
The club soon followed the same attitude in case of Avram Grant, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Carlo Ancelotti, Andre-Villa Boas and Rafael Benitez. There is certainly a need for deep introspection on part of the top management with regard to the decision making surrounding the appointment and departure of managers. Chelsea are slowly and steadily being sucked into a vicious circle which they may find incredibly difficult to recover from barring a miracle. Finding a solution to the frequent managerial transitions may hold the only key to salvation.
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