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After the 3-1 defeat to Napoli on Tuesday night, Chelsea’s season hangs in the balance. The Stamford Bridge outfit are currently in fifth place in the Premier League, and a trophyless season with no Champions League next term is a possibility that the club may have to face. With the amount of investment the London club have splurged on new players, a track record of managers being axed due to underachievement and a wealthy but ambitious owner, should Andre Villas Boas be sacked?

Yes

Since arriving in England from Porto last summer, the Portuguese coach has preached how he wants to invest time and effort into developing youth and how he is eager to revamp an ageing and stodgy Chelsea squad. Despite the admirable intentions of the new coach, this philosophy has not worked. The elder heads that have carried the Blues over recent seasons such as Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and Didier Drogba, have all at one time or another this season felt ostracised and this is to the detriment of the club.

Given the fact that Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti were both shown the door after spells of success, Villas Boas must too be in line to be dismissed, as a disastrous season is all but over. With the players seemingly not convinced by the young coach’s methods, and little or no progression on the pitch, it may well be time for a new man to take over in the Stamford Bridge hotseat.

No

Villas Boas’ methods and principles that he is trying to put into place are clearly not working as yet, but whether or not the underfire coach keeps his job or not will depend on the patience of Roman Abramovich. The positives that the new man has brought to the London club include a core of young, exciting players such as Juan Mata, Daniel Sturridge and Oriol Romeu, and the chance to build around this in the summer transfer window may mean a new look and more dynamic Chelsea. At some point the older heads were going to have to bow out one by one, and this may be the time for it to happen.

Although AVB is feeling the brunt of criticism, the players must also harbour a sizeable proportion of the blame. Villas Boas has inherited a squad that contains a lacklustre and goal-shy Fernando Torres, a scandal-surrounded John Terry and a number of players such as Florent Malouda and Petr Cech who are not showing the ability of past campaigns. If Villas Boas is given time to mend the existing problems and make the team his own, a new exciting Chelsea may well be challenging for the Premier League title next season.

By Gareth McKnight

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