Chelsea in crisis

The writing is on the Stamford Bridge wall for Chelsea manager André Villas Boas. A string of bad results might even curtail his Chelsea career before Christmas.

Stuttering form in the league, characterised by a home defeat to Liverpool, is bad enough. Defeat to Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League, the competition that matters most to capricious owner Roman Abramovich, may have been an adverse result too far.

Chelsea lie outside the Premier League top 4, 12 points adrift of the leaders Manchester City. In the Champions League, Chelsea now need a 0-0 draw or a victory against Valencia in the final group match to ensure progression. On current form, neither outcome seems likely.

Villas Boas admits that morale among the squad is low. "That’s my job," he said, "to motivate and inspire these people. Their talent is immense, the work rate is good but the responsibility is mine."

Villas Boas has attempted to rebuild the Chelsea squad this season. Older players like Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka are no longer the threat they once were, and Chelsea’s defence is looking increasing vulnerable.

Loss of concentration cost them the late goal that ensured defeat in Germany. Question marks have been raised over the form of captain John Terry and new signing David Luiz. The most prominent question though surrounds the future of Villas Boas.

Abramovich’s friend Guus Hiddink is presently out of a job after being released by Turkey. He is the natural successor if the owner feels it is time for a change of manager.

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