Chelsea’s 3-1 loss against Napoli last night heaped more pressure on Andre Villas-Boas, with anxiety levels at Chelsea threatening to reach breaking point.
Fifth in the Premier League, unable to beat Championship opposition in the FA Cup, as well as facing an uphill struggle to qualify for the Champions League quarter-finals, the situation at Chelsea looks grim.
Such is the severity of the crisis at Chelsea, Roman Abramovich may decide it’s time to cut his losses and replace his manager in order to rescue a seemingly doomed season.
Last night’s loss was only Chelsea’s third in seventeen games, although a string of unconvincing performances and too many draws have seen fans at Stamford Bridge chanting the name of former boss Jose Mourinho.
The thirty-four year old ex-Porto manager revealed last week that not all of his players are supportive of his regime, a worrying sign for Blues fans. With no public backing for him from the club, AVB currently cuts a desperate and forlorn figure.
Here are three managers being linked with the Chelsea job. Which one (if any) would you prefer? Or should AVB be given more time?
Clubs managed: Real Valladolid, Osasuna, Extremadura, Tenerife, Valencia, Liverpool, Internazionale.
The man twice crowned UEFA Manager of the Year has a mightily impressive managerial CV, boasting both a wealth of experience and success.
His big break came at Valencia where Benitez guided Els toranja to two La Liga titles, as well as the 2003-04 UEFA cup. This was followed by a six-year spell at Liverpool, where he won the Champions League and FA Cup.
The Champions League victory made him a legend on Merseyside, following that truly unforgettable comeback against AC Milan in Istanbul. Benitez came close to winning the league in 2008-2009, but Manchester United won it by four points in the end, this despite Liverpool winning ten out of their last eleven games.
Benitez’s time in Italy was less succesful, sacked by Internazionale after just six months following a poor run of form, Benitez has been taking a break from the game since his departure in December 2010.
Benitez is believed to be keen on a return to England, and where better to go than Chelsea? Who knows, he might even get Torres scoring again.
Clubs managed: Lorca Deportiva, Almeria, Valencia.
Emery’s first job came after he suffered a career-ending injury at the Murcian third-tier side Lorca Deportiva. His first season in charge saw him immediately gain promotion to Spain’s Segunda Division for the first time in their history.
Deportiva’s first season in the second tier saw them finish fifth, narrowly missing out on promotion to La Liga. Following these heroics, Emery performed similar miracles at Almeria.
His first season in charge saw Almeria finish runners-up in the Segunda Division, achieving promotion to La Liga. During his first-season in La Liga, Emery lead the Andalusians to a fantastic eighth-placed finish, claiming a memorable 2-0 win against Real Madrid along the way.
Emery is in his fourth season at current club Valencia. His team finished in third position last season and are seven points clear of fourth-placed Espanyol this campaign.
Emery has had to deal with terrible financial problems, as well as losing David Silva and David Villa, although he has taken such problems in his stride.
A very promising young manager, is Emery ready for a challenge as big as Chelsea?
Clubs managed: (Argentina) Newell’s Old Boys, Vélez Sársfield, (Mexico) Atlas, América, (Spain) Espanyol, Athletic Bilbao
National teams managed: Chile, Argentina.
The often outspoken Marcelo Bielsa has had a long varied coaching career. His exploits in Argentina is where it all began, winning two league titles and finishing as Copa Libertadores runners-up with Newell’s Old boys, the club where Lionel Messi spent his youth.
Bielsa returned to Argentina following a five-year spell in Mexico, winning the Primera Division again, this time with Vélez Sársfield. This prompted the Argentine Football Association to install him as national team manager in 1998.
Despite failing to make it to the knockout stages in the 2002 World Cup, the AFA persisted with Bielsa. He returned the favour, leading Argentina to Olympic Gold in 2004, whilst narrowly missing out on the Copa América, with Argentina losing to Brazil on penalties in the final.
Bielsa left Argentina in 2004, and after a three-year break took the helm at fellow South-Americans Chile. His four-year spell here was a success, his side reached the last 16 of the 2010 World Cup, losing out to Brazil who beat them 3-0.
The 56-year old is currently at Athletic Bilbao, his first post in Europe. His side currently sit fifth in La Liga, challenging for Champions League qualification. Bilbao play Lokomotiv Moscow tomorrow in their second leg of the UEFA Cup Round Of 32, they trail 2-1 from the first-leg.
Bielsa is seen as an innovative genius, with fans often warming to his often eccentric behaviour (he has been known to let press conferences run for more than four hours).
The cultured Bielsa has previously been linked with Barcelona, and is a front-runner to replace AVB (The Daily Mirror).
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