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What Guus Hiddink Has to Deal With if He’s Rehired as Chelsea Manager

guus hiddink What Guus Hiddink Has to Deal With if Hes Rehired as Chelsea Manager

Guus Hiddink may be on his way to returning once again as the manager of Chelsea after his short stay in the second half of 2009 saw him win the FA Cup. Hiddink has the distinction of being the only coach well-received for his duties after a list of coaches following the sacking of Jose Mourinho. The move would be shocking considering the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti who, after not winning anything following the double in 2009, was abruptly fired by Roman Abramovich. Hiddink would return to what many believe is one of the hardest positions in all of the Premier League as manager of the Blues.

Even though Hiddink is still under contract as Turkey coach, the influence of Chelsea may be too much to ignore for the Dutch coach. He would come back to Chelsea where winning the FA Cup was one of his self-proclaimed greatest feats. Whether Hiddink is there as a permanent coach remains to be seen as rumors have been made that he will be there for a year before the London team goes after Mourinho again.

Just like in 2009, Hiddink would inherit a team in the midst of numerous problems. Eight players who play on the first team are now 30 or older which is a telling sign regarding the future of the club. Faces of the club like Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Nicholas Anelka, and John Terry have all shown that they are starting to approach the twilight of their careers and Chelsea appears to not have anyone to replace them. Drogba may be on his way out even before he retires as he hasn’t been happy with the lack of playing time and has subsequently been linked to several clubs like the Turkish squad Galatasaray S.K, AC Milan, and Tottenham.

Chelsea also have some liabilities in terms of players who just aren’t performing at their expected levels. No one signifies this more than Fernando Torres, who after Abramovich splashed over 50 million pounds for him in January, Torres returned the favor by scoring one goal in all competitions. He looked like a hollow shell of the prolific goal-scorer he was with Liverpool. He frankly hasn’t been the same since before the 2010 World Cup due to that persistent ankle injury.

Other players who have just haven’t performed well include Ashley Cole, who is starting to look like he’s on the wrong side of 30 after looking helpless at times like against Manchester United’s Antonio Valencia in the Premier League title-deciding match in May. Michael Essien, perhaps due to the constant number of injuries he’s endured, has lacked the explosiveness he was previously capable of. Then, there’s John Obi Mikel, who has just failed to consistently meet his high expectations during his time at Chelsea after being controversially swiped from United.

Chelsea will no doubt continue to be as active as ever during the summer transfer market. They’ve been linked with a large number of players from young stars like Neymar and Romelu Lukaku to proven talents like Luka Modric, Sergio Aguero, Javier Pastore and many more. The squad could look very different by summer’s end in terms of anticipated additions and overdue departures. Abramovich has shown he’s never been afraid to splash exorbitantly on highly-priced footballers.

Chelsea’s form during the second half of the season was remarkable in how they went on a near-perfect run which saw them just three points behind United. There’s still a great amount of experience and Chelsea’s resolve in terms of winning can’t be questioned after only being a year removed from the double. However, what Chelsea and their owner care about to the the point of obsession is the one thing that has always eluded them; the Champions League. Chelsea are, as usual, busy this summer trying to find the pieces needed to start a successful year.

Guus Hiddink is a great coach with a career that speaks for itself. He’s also the only manager in recent history to actually have left on a positive note for Chelsea where the players responded well to him and no one wanted to see him go. He also carries the distinction of having led PSV Eindhoven to a European Cup title in 1988. Therefore, he seems like he may be the best to handle the issues at Chelsea right now. Yet, expecting Hiddink to be able to take them to Champions League glory with the likes of United, Barcelona and Real Madrid looks like a massive reach.

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About Michael Schwartz

Michael wrote for World Soccer Talk in 2011 and 2012 with pieces that tackled a variety of topics related to the English Premier League and International competitions. He’s now back to continue writing about the Beautiful Game. You can follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelSchwart2
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26 Responses to What Guus Hiddink Has to Deal With if He’s Rehired as Chelsea Manager

  1. Jason says:

    Hiddink will find it more difficult this time around. The Chelsea squad needs to be overhauled if they are to compete on all fronts. Terry has to be phased out as he is no longer the player he was and is now more of a liability. Cole has underperformed and while he still has one or two years left where he can still be effective if a good offer come in for him sell him and buy another left back. The midefield looks dated and Essien and lampard are no longer going to be as effective as they once were. Sell them and freshen up the midefield. Up front, Drogba, Anelka and kalou should be sold and players to compliment Torres should be brought in. I would keep an eye on Torres as he may never be able to deliver like he did at Liverpool. Even his perfromances for Spain has been poor. Start with him and if he fails then replace him with whoever is bought to replace Drogba.

    Hiddink will have his work cut out for him.

  2. Steven says:

    ^Yep basically.

    I think A. Cole has 3 more years though. Everything else is spot on. We need some creativity in the midfield from Modric, Sneijder, someone. All Lampard does is give a diagonal pass to the winger and run into the box. The main problem is Torres and Lampard can’t play together PERIOD. It has to be one or the other. Lampard isn’t effective unless it’s 4-3-3 and Torres can’t play that way. He needs to be the lone man up front. Leave the defense alone but add a RB such as Van Der Weil. Midfield and Attack need to be revamped.

    The most important thing is a change in formation. Play 4-2-3-1 like Real Madrid and bench Lampard/Drogba or play 4-1-4-1 / 4-1-3-2. If we play 4-3-3 then we’re going to play long ball or the slow tempo crap we played last year.

    • Mike says:

      Really couldn’t agree with you more. I understand A. Cole can still play for a while longer but his form is no where near as elite as it use to be for Chelsea or England. Lampard has been a great player for Chelsea for years but he really is starting to get pathetically bad. He still scores the clutch goal every now and then but overall, I don’t think he’s worth holding onto. Modric or Sneijder would be great for Chelsea (or United) but I think Sneijder is happy where he is and Tottenham are just too pesky to negotiate with. I understand Torres has always played well alone but as you said, he’s going to bring the team down as his finishing has been poor. I can definitely see how a change in formation to freshen things up could be an answer as Chelsea do often play very basic, unimaginative football. (Chelsea v. Liverpool has to be the most big team matches I have ever seen haha)

  3. Steve says:

    Not overly impressed with the writing style or the content of which the above author has mentioned. If you’d like an experienced writer, email.

    • Guy says:

      People in glass houses should not throw stones.

      However, let’s assume you can do better than your first sentence. Write something up and send it to The Gaffer.

  4. eChelseaFC says:

    Whoever takes over from Carlo Ancelotti will have a challenging yet exciting summer.

    New blood does need to be sourced but players such as Lampard, Drogba and Michael Essien still have a great deal to offer and have not turned into bad players overnight.

    It is time to start moving forwards with a new generation of Chelsea players but it is evolution that will do this, move to quickly and with such a competitive league the club could be out of the top four quickly.

  5. SoccerLimey says:

    I tend to agree that Hiddink will not find it easy at Stamford Bridge, mostly because of the weakness of their overall squad. Once you get past their opening line-up, they are much weaker than Arsenal and United.

    Abramovich is much more concerned with success now instead of trying to build for the future. Chelsea is a poisoned chalice for any potential manager, and I think the salary is probably the main incentive.

    Not 100% sure that Hiddink has it in him for the long haul as he tends to get restless after being in the same spot for too long. My guess is a one-year contract and if they don’t win the Champions League, both him and Abramovich will be gone.

    http://www.soccerlimeyinamerica.com/?p=2041

  6. ManUforlife says:

    It’s interesting you say that because I’ve heard some rumors that Hiddink is only returning as a caretaker mgr. just like his first run with Chelsea. I’ve heard he’ll get a 1 year deal and then Chelsea will put all their focus on getting The Special One, Mourinho, back at Stamford Bride. (I’ve also heard stuff saying he may be the successor to Fergie so who knows what’s going to happen)

    • SoccerLimey says:

      I was of the opinion that Mourinho would eventually make it back to Stamford Bridge, but looking back, I just can’t see him working for Abramovich again, and if so, it would be very short-lived.

      Only one man will succeed Ferguson and that’s Guardiola.

      • ManUforlife says:

        I agree that the pair of Mourinho and Abramovich would be difficult. Mourinho, as we’re saying with Real Madrid, desires complete autonomy of the team and I don’t think he would get that with Chelsea.
        Certianly wouldn’t mind Guardiola being the successor. I think it has to be a coach like as big as Mourinho or Guardiola to replace Fergie. Truly need a larger than life character to replace someone like that.

  7. Rob says:

    Sorry to be a stickler but Hiddink only won the FA Cup in 2009 – not the premiership, second Ancelooti won the double in 2010, not 2009!!

    • ManUforlife says:

      I see the mistake I made and I apoligize for that. I meant to say that “Ancelotti, after not winning after the double in 2010″, not 2009. Please don’t be sorry, I thank you for pointing that out.

  8. Elliott says:

    You left out an important detail – if Hiddink becomes manager of Chelsea, he will have to deal with being manager of Chelsea.

  9. Keith says:

    THANK YOU! Finally someone mentions Cole’s dropping play. Nobody else has mentioned this all year.

    I think the World Cup might really have messed up Cole, Essien, Lampard, Malouda, Drogba, Anelka and Torres even though they didn’t all play tons of WC games. These players have had zero rest now for two years and they went from winning the league collectively and having dominating individual performances (Drogba – 37 goals in 44 matches, Lampard – 27 goals and 20 assists in 51 matches). You don’t go from that to 13 goals (Drogba + Lampard).

    Not only did they get no time off last summer but Ancelotti very rarely used substitutes or the bench (and I think this is the only good criticism of Ancelotti). Except when injured, when did Ivanovic, Alex/Luiz, Terry, Cole, Essien, Ramires/Mikel, Lampard, Anelka, Malouda, or Drogba play until Torres came aboard? These guys played too much! Ivanovic played 47 games this year and 40 last year, before that he’d only played 30+ games twice. Terry played in 45 games this year, 46 last year, 48 before that, 37, 46, 49, 53, and 51 games going back to 2003/2004 for an incredible 46.875 games a year over the last 8 years. Cole played 48 games. Since 2001/2002 he’s played in 40 games EVERY year except 2005/2006 and last year. That’s way too much for a player that runs way more than a normal defender and is normally running at a full sprint (to either attack or get back). 213 games in 5 years is too much and that doesn’t include every English match. Essien played in 43 games and was finally healthy for a season. Twice as many games as his previous two seasons plus 2 straight seasons of injuries, being 28 (listed) and playing a physically demanding position could easily explain being off for one year. Lampard was hurt this year but previously played 51, 57, 40, 63!, 51, 58, 56, 48, and 53 games. I think he was finally getting back on track at the end of the year. He’s not fast but depends on final acceleration to find space in and around the box. Having a groin injury (I can tell you from past experience nags forever) and depending on accelerating after running up and down all game seems like the worse mix possible. Anelka has played in 40+ games twice since leaving Arsenal, he’s played 40+ times each of the past three seasons. That plus depending on acceleration and speed to create space seems like a disaster in the waiting. Malouda has played in 50, 50 and 47 games since coming to Chelsea. He also played 40+ games in each of his four seasons at Lyon. Drogba has played 41, 41, 60!, 32, 42, 44, and 46 games since coming to Chelsea. Drogba is also a heavier player and clearly has more to carry around the pitch than most players. Averaging 43.7 games a year is tons.

    Clearly players can and do play 35, 40 even 50 games a year. However, they don’t do it over the age of 30, for 3-4 years in a row, play every friendly and competition for their national team AND still expect to play and WIN every EPL, FA Cup, League Cup, and UEFA match they play. I know Chelsea lost Ballack and Deco but they should be rotating players more. Thats why I think Torres can and should work with Drogba, Anelka, and Malouda. Zhirkov should play more as should their young players. I think since Chelsea is slowing down they should look to play less of and up and down game and they need a creative type to break down teams that “park the bus”. Also, going out and getting a speedster (like Neymar) makes sense because they’d be able to provide a huge change of pace with the rest of a slowing team. Chelsea clearly need a young LB to help sub and replace Cole (Bertrand? Coentrao?), Ramires to step up and help with Essien, Sturridge to help step up with Malouda/Anelka, and a young goalie for Cech (play the young GK in the Carling Cup!).

    • ManUforlife says:

      I think you’re definitely on to something in terms of number of games played. Chelsea’s lack of a bench has always been a crucial weakness for them and as you’ve clearly shown, they’ve almost used up a lot of their key players. This will be an interesting year for them because United are still the favorites, and City and Liverpool look like they are surging. I think they are still in line to finish third but it looks like they have to busy this summer which is remarkable considering how much Abramovich spends for his team.

    • Steven says:

      I’m sorry but A. Cole is not the problem. It’s one thing for us fans or experts to say whether someone’s form has dropped. But when you get voted player of the season by your collegues, those that watch you train/play every practice and game, that had much more credibility than those of us behind our screens. Left back isn’t the problem. Evra’s form has dropped far more than Cole’s and I don’t see people getting on his back. Yea A. Cole wasn’t as great as 2009 but that’s hardly the issue. Given that the position is notoriously low on quality he’ll be safe till the end of his contract. Lamps/Torres is the real problem. And our playing style. Midfielders are supposed to play in a creative fashion. You can’t play Lamps anymore. His style is typical English which is what we need to break out of. Get Sneijder and Modric if possible. Use Lamps as a Supersub along with Drogba.

      • Keith says:

        I didn’t say Cole was the problem. Did you only read the 1st line?

        I said nobody all year has mentioned Cole but Cole’s form has dropped as much as the rest of team.

        BTW your crazy if you think Modric would be sold to Chelsea and that Lampard and Drogba will be super subs. This isn’t a fantasy game or FIFA where you can load your bench.

        • Steven says:

          It’s not fantasy football. Anyone that knows anything about football knows Drogba and Lampard are no longer surefire starters. They need to be treated like Giggs/Scholes/Puyol and only play half-3/4 of the games.

          Btw, looks like Modric is coming to Chelsea…

  10. Nelson says:

    Who would want this job? Anything short of winning the champions league will be considered failure and you ultimately answer to the owner. At least Mancini is given some authority to make transfer decisions.

    • Job says:

      Agreed, if I were Hiddink or the next coach, I’d sign a 3-5yr contract and ask Roman to sack me after 1 year. That’d be perfect pay check for my pocket.
      Roman Abramovich is the reason Mourinho ain’t returning to this club.

  11. Enwenonu sandro Nelson says:

    yeah,i think Guss hiddink is going to perform dis time around,more dan wt he did in 2009,with d help of nw young players coming in nw. Bt d we hv d 2 overhaul player Drogba,after what he has done 4 chelsea for the past seasons. For me i dont think so…….. Welcome Guss Hiddink , Gbozai 2 Chelsea footbal club nd Roman Abramovich.

  12. kayzer says:

    If Hiddink really come to Chelsea,he need to do top overhaul for majority Chelsea players..I agree that World Cup ruin the likes of Drogba,Lampard,Anelka,Malouda etc,etc,etc..but they all already surpass their peak performance and they all are like old car who are need to fix to run for few more miles…I still believe on Essien and Torres…why…?it is because Essien is a great holding midfield for Chelsea and besides being a holding midfield he still bagged few goals…to me he more like complete version midfielder but of course nearing 30′s….I dont see Obi Mikel for the to replace Essien because Obi Mikel inconsistent performance can bring more fatal tragedy to Chelsea…Essien needs to recover his performance and can run more than Lampard,Anelka,Drogba and so on…for Torres,Chelsea system cannot bring any benefit to him…Torres style play is being lone striker and need great service of quality midfielder..he only wait great through pass and he will complete it….in Chelsea with Lampard are at slope and Benayoun no-impact performance Chelsea need to buy creative midfielder…constantly Chelsea were buying high price player…and sometimes its failed…Chelsea can get more cheaper option by trying to buy Nasri and Adam of Blackpool..

  13. Kevin says:

    Torres is past his best. Liverpool got very lucky when they sold him as he is never going to be the prolific scorer he was a couple of years ago. It’s time for Chelsea to face reality and start preparing for life after Drogba and Torres. The sooner they get in a decent striker the better.

    The question is will Abramovich allow Hiddink to make such a change or will Hiddink be forced to play Torres. As long as the owner interferes with footballing matters it never works out well in the end.

  14. wisdom K says:

    all we need is Aguero, Lukaku, Sanchez, G.Vander will, and Ganso or Hasik of Napolis, chelsea will be good again, i am unhappy to hear that Hilario sign another contract for what? let Hilaria, Ferera, Anelka, Mikel, and Bonsingwa to leave the club so that we can play fiscal football.

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