Accountability needed to save Chelsea's troubled ship

14 January 2009 05:59
This does not stem from the weekend rout at Old Trafford, but a growing feeling that not just Luiz Felipe Scolari, but people at all levels of the club, are refusing to co-operate and waging their own battles.

Meanwhile, the first team are facing a rapid decline and a return to supremacy may not be possible without more munificence from Roman Abramovich.

Someone is responsible for a number of anomalies that would have been catastrophic at other clubs and yet have not led to the identification and censure of those responsible.

Here are the problems:

1. The failure to replace Arjen Robben and Damien Duff, with the consequence that unless the full-backs, Jose Bosingwa and Ashley Cole, who cannot cross anyway, get forward there is little or no width to the team's attack.

2. Maintaining the belief, against a wealth of evidence to the contrary, that Salomon Kalou and Florent Malouda individually, or in combination with any other player you care to posit, pose a potent goal-scoring threat at Premier League level.

Given that neither has cut the mustard in their long tenures, why is Franco Di Santo not being given valuable experience for when one of the two players mentioned below is out of the door?

3. Entertaining the behaviour of a striking twosome (I do not say pairing, as they seem unable to play as such) who display on the field a combined emotional ageof 12. That they are clearly allowed to sulk like toddlers denied their favourite comfort blanket is ridiculous in this, or indeed any, level of sport. Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka would be slapped on the legs if they behaved in junior school football the way they do for Chelsea.

4. Scolari must decide if these two are to play together. If so, bang their heads together and get on with it; if not, choose one and get rid of the other.

5. The pursuance of a 'just for today' recruitment strategy that is predicated on the continuous availability of money.

6. The presiding over of a creeping dissatisfaction throughout the squad with all manner of things, some Scolari, some not. Last season the 'leadership' of Avram Grant was in fact that of John Terry, who held the side together to challenge on all fronts. My sources say his faith in a number of things, including the matters listed above, has led him to a point where he is unlikely to do the same this year. If correct, from where will Chelsea find essential unity?

Chelsea may struggle to finish in the top four on present form, and if that happens what price Scolari being shown the door? But that surely raises questions about the abilities of those responsible for the club having what would be four managers in three years. Newcastle, Southampton — see the trend?

Source: Telegraph