Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Chelsea evolving under Villas-Boas

It looks like being the start of an exciting new era at Chelsea this season under new manager Andre Villas-Boas. Although the team has by no means been unsuccessful they finally appear to be breaking away from the Mourinho mould that has remained, four years after he departed.

The spine of the side still remains from Mourinho’s days; Cech, Terry, Lampard and Drogba are all still there and remain part of the club’s furniture. However, the new Portuguese manager has come in with the intention of changing their style of play and making them a more progressive side. He has moved well thus far in the transfer window by adding good, technically gifted players such as Juan Mata who has been one of the buys of the season so far.

It is not as if Chelsea were failing with the old style but previous managers had certainly failed to move away from Mourinho’s tried and trusted methods. The previous manager Carlo Ancelotti attempted to do so last season and it was not a successful move. One issue that remains is that there are still several members of the squad who carry far too much sway within the dressing room and within the media. It is no coincidence that these players were the ‘Special Ones’ most trusted lieutenants.

By adding Mata, Meireles and Romeu, Villas-Boas has made his intentions relatively clear; he wants Chelsea to become a more possession based side rather than the direct style that has suited them over recent years. It is also a move necessary to get the best out of Fernando Torres who is already looking like a £50 million striker since Mata has been added to the side. Finally, there is a player who has the vision to find him on a regular basis and aid the Spaniard in his rehabilitation. The Chelsea performance in the second half at Old Trafford against Manchester United confirmed that it is a three way battle for the Premier League title this season.

Speculation has been rife recently regarding Frank Lampard’s Chelsea future and he has responded in emphatic style by scoring four goals in a week. It is not that Lampard is surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge; it is simply that he cannot play every game at his age and also the side are more efficient and pacey without him. A midfield three that boasts Malouda, Meireles and Ramires is a dynamic and athletic trio which allows AVB to play the style he desires more frequently. Once Romeu is adjusted to the league he will play in front of the back four and will begin play faster than the current options; he is a good and tidy player who has come through the infamous La Masia training academy.

With Torres looking almost back to his best this Chelsea side will push both Manchester clubs close this season. With Ferguson blooding a lot of youngsters and with Mancini looking incapable of having a Plan B it is Chelsea who could emerge as winners this season. Villas-Boas has already shown he is capable of changing the system and looks to have good plans in place for certain opposition. He is an incredibly impressive young manager and considering his recent success it would be foolish to back against him.

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