The Lead

Claudio Ranieri. Avram Grant. Luiz Felipe Scolari. Carlo Ancelotti. Andre Villas-Boas. Roberto Di Matteo. Total honours between them: one Premier League trophy, two FA Cups, one European Cup. Total average win percentage while at Chelsea: 58%. Together, they make up just under one fifth of Chelsea’s all time list of managers. All sacked under Roman Abramovich’s ownership.

It’s an impressive record, in all senses. With Roberto Di Matteo’s dismissal following Chelsea’s 3-0 away loss to Juventus in the Champions League, Abramovich and the Chelsea board have instilled a clear precedent. Managers incapable of sustaining win percentages well above the Premier League and European average will be fired. There is no time for adjustment, no time for transitions, no room for lulls. Get results, or die.

It may not matter. Chelsea have managed to do well even with the revolving door at the managerial office. While coaches of all nationalities and styles have come and gone taking large severance packages along with them, the core of players left over from Mourinho’s days is only now finally fading away. Perhaps Roman believes the era of waiting to see if your guy in charge is Sir Alex Ferguson or not is over, dead and gone. What matters is buying the best players and hiring a manager who can make them play.

And if you believe the lack of faith from the front office is a major deterrent for potential successors, the news today of interest in the job from Rafa Benitez and Pep Guardiola should give you pause. Moreover, the record of each manager post-Chelsea sack might lead one to believe Abramovich may be onto something: Avram Grant got Portsmouth to the FA Cup final and lost, and then led Partizan Belgrade to their fifth successive league title before resigning. Scolari went on to manage Bunyodkor in the Uzbek league, won a title, then went to Palmeiras where he was sacked in September for poor results three months before the club were relegated from the Brazilian first division. Carlo Ancelotti failed to win Ligue 1 last year at PSG with one of the most expensive squads in league history. AVB’s win percentage at Spurs is 38%, with the club in 8th place.

One might question Abramovich for hiring them in the first place perhaps, but winning managers are in short demand. We’ll gripe now perhaps, but how many Chelsea fans will curse Roman’s name should Pep get the nod this week?


Chelsea sack Di Matteo after loss, Rafael Benitez expresses interest in position.

Wenger interested in Henry loan.

QPR striker Zamora out for three months.

FA bans Aston Villa manager from the touchline after last weekend’s improper conduct.

GFH Captital waiting for approval of Leeds takeover.

Mourinho says even two wins won’t be enough for City to advance.


Allegri to use 4-2-3-1 formation against Anderlecht.

Cavani content in Napoli.

La Liga

Madrid decide to keep Cheryshev despite Everton offer.

Athletic Bilbao’s Europa League game suspended amid security fears in Israel.

Tim Stannard argues why City fans should embrace Ronaldo.


Football Fanatic analyses Bayern’s draw vs Valencia yesterday.

Dortmund need to secure at least a point against Ajax to advance to knockout phase.

Bit and Bobs

Drogba seeking FIFA permission to move on loan from China.

Ukraine now considering Redknapp for managerial position.

Swiss coach banned for two WC qualifiers due to offensive gesture.

A list of mangers Abramovich had to compensate over the years.

Adriano more concerned with winning than sportsmanship.

Thanks to Alima Hotakie for compiling the links.