Chelsea started the season with Roberto di Matteo at the helm. The Italian led Chelsea to FA Cup glory in his first season, and delivered that one piece of trophy which Abramovich yearned for – the UEFA Champions League. The fans were in love with him, the owner was happy with him, and the players respected him. Everything was going great at Stamford Bridge.
They started the season with a bang, as they set the early standard and raced to the top of the table after the first fixtures of the season. And then the problems started. Chelsea found themselves in a mid-season crisis, as the team struggled to get results. Their tumultuous league form, along with the Champions League holders’ exit in the group stages from the European competition was the last thing Abramovich wanted to see happening.
He sacked the much loved di Matteo in the middle of the season, and replaced him with Rafael Benitez. Now Benitez and Chelsea had a not-so-good history. Benitez has masterminded several victories against Chelsea during the Spaniard’s time as Liverpool boss. He was the last person Chelsea fans wanted to see take over at the London club.
But despite what the fans wanted, Abramovich went ahead and appointed Benitez anyway. The Spaniard made his debut as Chelsea’s ‘interim manager’ in the midst of a horde of boos directed by the Blues faithful towards Benitez. He ignored the banners, the chants and the flags, and went about carrying out his job as a thorough professional, without making any fuss.
However, Benitez’s feelings towards the Chelsea fans’ behavior poured out last week as we reported when Benitez launched a scathing attack against the fans, and his title of ‘interim manager’, given to him by Abramovich.
The relationship between Benitez and the fans has now reached its breaking point. What is more, the recent results are not helping to justify Benitez’s position as Chelsea boss.
Therefore, Abramovich has now decided that enough is enough, it is time to sack the Spaniard, and to bring an interim manager to replace an interim manager. The person he has turned to in a desperate attempt to salvage Chelsea’s season is Fabio Capello.
The Italian is currently the manager of the Russian national team, and has overseen his side’s seven match unbeaten run since he took charge. The former England national team boss does not have much work to do now, given the fact that his team have only two games more to play, and both of them fall during the international break of the clubs.
Capello also had a good working relationship with Chelsea’s England internationals John Terry, Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard, so it should not take him a lot of time to get used to the atmosphere at the club, if he does decide to step in until the summer.
Will Chelsea hire their third manager of the season?