Another weekend, another loss. Three weekends in a row, now: is losing becoming a habit for the champions? Well, no. But things aren’t pretty on the pitch at the moment.
Off the pitch however, things are probably worse. Just as Chelsea seemed to be throwing a past of almost continual behind-the-scenes turmoil behind them, Ray Wilkins’ departure chucked a large, slightly rusting spanner in the Cobham works. Then the promotion of little-known Nigerian, Michael Emenalo, to the vacant position raised more eyebrows and further increased speculation that Abramovich was personally ringing the changes.
Ancelotti, of course, came out of all this looking like an increasingly powerless pawn in the Chelsea machine, and his comments over the weekend that he is nothing more than a ‘technician’ certainly fed into that. Rightly or wrongly, the media interpreted this as the frustration from a manager nearing the last straw.
On Sunday evening, rumours that Ancelotti had offered his resignation (rumours I first read on twitter) started flying around the internet, and bookies were inundated with bets that he would be the next manager – sorry technician – out of the door. All of this morning’s national newspapers carried the same story: Ancelotti’s days were numbered.
Chelsea have moved to dismiss the stories as mere newspaper gossip but, whilst papers are certainly prone to embellishment or the odd piece of fiction, this amount of smoke very rarely comes without a fire burning somewhere. It seems incredible to think that, just months after a historic double, and only weeks after Chelsea were being declared almost unbeatable, the manager could be close to the exit door.
We certainly only know a fraction of what is really going on, but don’t be surprised if it happens – either now or at the end of the season.