This season’s chances of winning any silverware were eradicated by the tragic romanticism of the Premier League on Sunday and the slayers that are Manchester United. Just when the belief reappeared at the sniff of a chance to have success, it was tragically snuffed after thirty seconds, shattering the dream that was only kindly presented a week ago.
Amidst all the build up prior to Sunday’s title decider, there was a sense of pride and hope which had dilapidated earlier this season because of the slump in form. Fans could be forgiven for conceding any Premiership dynasty which had been the main aspiration this season, only to have been achieved by Sunday’s opponents.
It was crucial for Chelsea to gain victory over our fiercest rivals, not only because it would allow for the advantage for winning the title, but also it would have nullified the dominance of United, considering they have reached the Champions League final. It wasn’t meant to be, and if anything, the defeat had justified our position this season.
Chelsea has a running list of inconsistencies and contradictions this season. At times they have played with confidence, yet they defied it with nervousness on Sunday. There has also been an assurance in the attack only for it to be reversed in uncertainty with no urgency.
It has without doubt been a roller coaster of a season. Times have been very uplifting and certain, particularly the opening stages of the season, but there have been more troubling times which have deeper implications for the near future and prospects of Chelsea.
If we are to expect the precedent of Ambramovich’s impatience and wielding the axe on managers who have failed to win the Premiership, then all indications lead to Ancelotti booking a flight back to Italy this summer. It is hard to digest the possibility of Ancelotti’s departure particularly with his success of last season.
Whilst there are probably fans who would welcome his dismissal, I cannot advocate such a motion. All managers have their flaws and downfalls and Ancelotti is not shy of this blame. His failure to adapt the strategy and tactics to thwart and counter United’s attack after losing to them in quick succession is frustrating, as is the slow tempo the team sets to a game.
What Ancelotti provides is experience, a wise head and more importantly continuity. The manager has provided youngsters with the opportunity and encouraged them to prove their worth; complimenting Roman’s reported goals of brining players through the ranks.
There has also been the problems of collective long term injuries and complete lack of form. Players must also take responsibility for not performing consistently and being bullied by teams that otherwise could never compete against the blues. This season has been the strongest indication that times are definitely changing at Stamford Bridge.
Transitional phases are periodical for every football club. At the beginning of the season there were obvious signs Chelsea would struggle when suffering with injuries, but the debate of whether the youngsters were ready to take their opportunities adds weight that our summer activity was uncalculated.
These symptoms could have been predicted at the club sooner by both management and board. The times are not nearly grave but optimism is crucial when facing a trophy less season and United’s dominance. United’s model of managing to exert their ageing players whilst establishing younger players is a similar strategy Chelsea need to adopt.
Regardless of the struggles the Club has survived and endured there remains other factors like the Ray Wilkins saga, that will remain unanswered yet vitally interrupted the momentum of the team, whether directly or otherwise. Yet the compilation of reasons as to why Chelsea performed inconsistently this season will undoubtedly fall on the shoulders of one man, Carlo Ancelotti.
The Italian has to stay for the short and long term interests of the club. If managers are constantly sacked for not winning the title every year then pressures are not going to be relieved to entrust the youth to move the club forward, and the same cycle of failure will repeat because established players will be recruited at the expense of a long sustaining strategy.