Monday, May 21, 2012

What Next For Chelsea?

The swing of Didier Drogba's boot that secured the Champions League for Chelsea was in many ways bigger for the club than the actual securing of the famous trophy for the first time.

Chelsea have been a prominent European player for some time now but the truth is they lack the stature of a Bayern or an AC Milan or a Barcelona. A sixth place finish meaning Europa League football, the reality of financial fair play and the elderly state of the squad would have put Chelsea's medium term prospects in dire straits.

Given that the penalty went in, Chelsea have been catapulted from Premiership also rans into the elite group of Champions League winners and with the financial benefits that come from next seasons' participation allowing for squad rebuilding. Chelsea have trod the finest of lines this season.

Regardless of the personnel changes on the playing staff, the most crucial decision Chelsea will make is whom should be at the helm next season. The immediate and emotional choice is for Di Matteo to be given the job on a full time basis given the heroics of Chelsea's European run under him.

The decision however is a difficult one that needs closer inspection. There is little question that should Chelsea be faced with the cup fixtures they had in Europe this season again there would be a very difficult outcome. Chelsea have been entirely outplayed twice by Barcelona and given away huge statistics to Bayern also, it is impossible to keep doing so consistently and to keep winning.

Abramovich is a huge fan of attractive football also and whilst he will delight in the victory, the manner of it will not cause the same glee given that Chelsea seem incapable of playing Europe's elite without being serious underdogs and playing ultra defensively. This should not be the way for a team so expensively assembled.

The other question being raised of course is who is buying the players? Eden Hazard is being heavily linked with the club this morning yet with no full time managerial appointment, who exactly is responsible for the planning for the team? It is this kind of dysfunction that has led Chelsea into such a swift and obvious decline which even this incredible win cannot paper over.

Chelsea fans everywhere can revel in the victory and what has been an amazing climax to a quite bananas season but one only needs to look at Liverpool's victory in Istanbul and their subsequent fall from grace to know that stability and a more long term approach is imperative if Chelsea wish to remain at the top table. Were it not for some incredible luck - matched with fantastic endeavour - then Chelsea's prospects this Summer could be very very different - No Nonsense.