You”re not safe yet AVB, you still have to face Manchester City
Why did Andre Villas-Boas have to go and spoil it
A “slap in the face” for Chelsea”s critics is one thing to claim after a marvellous Champions League victory. Persecution quite another.
The Jews were persecuted by the Nazis during the Holocaust, asylum cases are based around protection from persecution, but are super-wealthy, cosseted Premier League stars persecuted Not so much.
Jump to it: Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas
It is fair to say the manager known for crouching and springing up on the touchline was a little jumped up after Chelsea”s win against Valencia.
Instead of revelling in the polished performances of his players, the superb displays from Didier Drogba, Oriol Romeu, Raul Meireles, Ramires, Petr Cech and just about everyone else in the team, he struck out childishly at the treatment of him and his team by the media.
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Villas-Boas could have claimed a tactical victory after altering his side”s approach, he could have taken the plaudits for being brave enough to drop Frank Lampard.
But no, he claimed Chelsea had suffered from “continuous persecution” because critics had reacted to their unusually inconsistent form by drawing conclusions from the overwhelming precedents available.
Villas-Boas is the seventh manager at the club since Roman Abramovich bought them in 2003. Only two so far have lasted for more than a season.
So with Chelsea slipping away from the title race and struggling in Europe it was reasonable to suggest the manager would be under pressure.
If he was not, why did he get assurances – twice – from Abramovich that his job was safe
Misunderstanding the language cannot be used as an excuse by Villas-Boas, either. He speaks English fluently. So much so, in fact, he sometimes doesn”t know when to stop.
Was he trying to foster a siege mentality at the club Unlikely, given that he chose the moment to voice his displeasure just when Chelsea had earned plenty of plaudits.
Perhaps Villas-Boas was trying to employ the word persecution to claim his club had been persistently harassed or annoyed rather than subjected to ill-treatment.
But even that would be nave. The manager and his team have not, as faras we know, been persistently pursued in private and given a hard time because they are not winning as much as usual.
Didn”t I do well: Drogba scored twice against Valenia
Villas-Boas has worked at Chelsea before, too, and has seen far more extreme circumstances than these. He admitted after taking the job that he knew what was expected of him and the team, the same expectations which have led to criticism.
Whining that Manchester City have been given an easier ride as they, too, have struggled in the Champions League is also ridiculous.
Surely, as an intelligent man, he recognises it is the first time City have qualified for the competition and that comfortably leading the Premier League helps their case. Surely, as an intelligent man, he is aware of Abramovich”s fascination with the competition and desire to succeed in it.
And if Villas-Boas was still intent on slapping down his critics despite the strong foundations for their comments, why didn”t he wait until after Monday”s game against City when proof of Chelsea”s revival could really be confirmed.
Wenger needs reinforcements
Arsenal”s resurgence since that painful defeat by Tottenham in October has been encouraging and seems to have won over many of the supporters who were turning against manager Arsene Wenger.
But those now expecting a return to the glory days should wait until after the transfer window before they let themselves dream.
Calamity: Keeper Vito Mannone tees up second goal for Olympiakos
Arsenal are a good team and are looking like top four material once more but the competition at the top is fiercer than ever and Wenger”s squad is still thin.
Tuesday”s defeat at Olympiakos was not a result of great significance as Arsenal had already won their Champions League group, but as an indicator of the strength of the squad it was instructive.
There were several Keystone Cops moments and Wenger still needs reinforcements for the spine of his side as it is too reliant on key players such as Robin van Persie and Thomas Vermaelen staying fit.
Bringing in three quality players in January seems unlikely but if Arsenal do not make at least one top class signing in the transfer window they will need more luck than they have had in years to compete for trophies.
Tweeter of the week: David Gold
Rapport: David Gold
West Ham”s joint chairman has not always been a favourite person of this column after his and David Sullivan”s clumsy and sometimes crass attempts to revive the fortunes of West Ham.
Regularly landing his helicopter on the club”s training ground and milking the limelight didn”t help, either.
However, after putting his money into the club and appearing to steer the club towards some stability in the Championship, Gold has engaged with West Ham fans frequently on Twitter.
There are no stand out quotes from him or outstanding gestures of goodwill but his willingness to frequently answer questions about fan issues and players” fitness is to his credit.