I can sum up in two words why Roman Abramovich may have sacked Luiz Felipe Scolari: Aston Villa.
Seeing Aston Villa in third place, two points ahead of Chelsea, must have been eating Abramovich up. Here’s this Russian oil tycoon who has spent hundreds of millions of pounds to try to build the world’s biggest football team, and he’s being made to look like a fool by Martin O’Neill’s team who not only are further ahead but are playing a brand of football that’s more appealing to the eye and more exciting than Chelski.
If you were a businessman like Roman Abramovich and you saw one of your “lesser” competition beating you in the business world, what would you do? Would you try to buy that company out or hire a headhunter to steal away their talent? While Chelsea won’t be able to buy Aston Villa, of course, I wouldn’t be surprised if Abramovich had Peter Kenyon and his staff put some feelers out to see if O’Neill would be interested in becoming the next Chelsea manager.
O’Neill is in a different league as a manager and isn’t used to working with some of the biggest superstars in world football. Plus, he’s very much from the Brian Clough school of management where you can take a team of underachievers and you make sound purchases to fill in the weak spots, and then work on your man management skills to get the most out of your other players.
But, if O’Neill can work his magic at Aston Villa (as he did previously at Celtic and Leicester City), why not give him an opportunity with Chelsea? The challenge for the Blues and a reason why they would avoid the Northern Irishman is that Chelsea is running out of time. They can’t afford to bring in O’Neill and give him time to meld a team together and get them purring by the summertime. Chelsea needs a world-class manager who can hit the ground running.
My prediction: Roberto Mancini. But if O’Neill gets the job, remember where you heard it first.
One more thought: It’s nice to see a Big Four side squirm. Aston Villa are mounting a true challenge to the Big Four monopoly and in doing so, they’re helping heads roll. If Villa weren’t as good this season as they are now, Chelsea would be in third place and within distance of making a run for the title. Right now, they’re floundering. Was it the correct decision to get rid of Scolari? In my opinion, yes. But only if you have a replacement who’s available to step in as quickly as possible to get the ship back in order. If not, it’s poor timing and poor planning by Chelsea FC.