Thriving in the chaos

3 mins read

Although you can predict greedy banks hiking interest rates and overcharging customers while denying savers a chance to reap some rewards, the life of a Premier League manager is much more fluid.

Chelsea’s form this season has been more disappointing than the returns from a Cypriot bank savings account.

In fact, Chelsea’s expected goal ratio is higher than what the banks will promise if you park your cash with them.

And the team’s attacking dysfunctionality spelt the end for head coach Graham Potter who players called ‘Harry’ behind his back.

The club’s new American owners didn’t splurge €600 mln on talent for Chelsea to be in the bottom half of the table and humbled by every team to visit Stamford Bridge.

Potter was supposed to embody a brave new world where young players would thrive under the tactical nous of the ex-Brighton boss.

Everyone discussed ‘the project’ and giving the new manager time to get things right despite fluctuating results.

Recent history tells you that time at Chelsea is more precious than gold; it’s scarce and finite.

If results are not produced on the pitch, no matter how popular on the training ground or dressing room, the guillotine will fall.

Even the very best get little time to achieve success, and any minor slip can prove fatal.

For over two decades, supporters have been accustomed to elite managers leading their beloved Blues to glory.

Getting smashed around the park by Southampton, Leeds, Brighton, Nottingham Forest, Spurs, or Aston Villa (no offence) is not what they bought their season tickets for.

Once the fans started booing at the end of home games and chanting, ‘You don’t know what you’re doing,’ there was no future for Potter.

Of course, Potter wasn’t helped by the crazy scatter-gun approach of Chelsea’s transfer policy, especially buying similar players to unbalance the squad and neglecting to buy a natural goalscorer.

As it was under the ruthless Abramovich era, Chelsea demands instant success at a club that thrives on chaos and not having a long-term business model.

Getting results is their way of not having a plan, and new owner Todd Boehly painfully discovered that the Potter Way was disastrous.

Potter won just 10 of the 28 league matches this season, leaving the team 11th in the Premier League.

It wasn’t just the poor results; he seemed unsure about tactics, his best team, or when to make substitutions.

Moreover, the team had no clear identity, and the players seemed to lose confidence and forget how good they were.

Playing in the Premier League is akin to competing for high stakes in a Las Vegas poker game; you’ve got to go all in and not get burnt.

Managing in top-flight English football is a game of survival.

There has been a record 12 sackings in the Premier League this season, with Potter leaving his position the same day Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers walked.

What made it harder for Potter was that he replaced a very popular manager Thomas Tuchel who had lifted the Champions League and World Club trophy with Chelsea.

It was always going to be a hard act to follow.

When the news came of the sacking, there was no surprise or tears shed among Chelsea supporters.

Certainly, they wanted him to do well, but they could smell the weakness early doors.

The margin of error for elite managers is minimal; there is no room for experiments.

While speculation intensified over who the next head coach would be – a legend from the past crept into view.

Fan forums debated the attributes of young German maestro Julian Nagelsmann following his exit from Bayern Munich and decorated Spaniard Luis Enrique.

They come with a guarantee of success, but the season is at the business end with only ten league games to go.

But it was a blast from the past that the new owners turned to with a huge Champions League quarter-final against holders Real Madrid looming large.

In comes legend and all-time top goalscorer Frank Lampard with blue blood in his veins to steer Chelsea out of the wilderness in the short term.

Super Frank was shown the door after 18 months to be replaced by Tuchel; now he’s back after an underwhelming stint at Everton that ended in January.

So, Chelsea are looking to hit the heights with their third manager in a week – must be a record – to galvanise a misfiring squad to conquer Europe.

And if by a miracle they beat Real, it could be Bayern Munich in the semi’s where you know who may be back at the Bridge – Tuchel the Dismissed.