This Chelsea thing is falling apart

2011-02-23 00:00

ISN’T it uncanny how the mighty Chelsea have crumbled in recent months.

I remember, a long time ago now, reading a book by an African literary giant, Chinua Achebe.

In the book, Things Fall Apart, I seem to remember a Chelsea-like capitulation.

One minute, nothing could go wrong for the Blues, as they were slamming in goals and were even 10 points ahead in the title race.

Everything was easy, natural and done with minimal effort. Much like the tragic hero in the book I refer to. He had money, had his pick of women, and life seemed to be the easiest thing in the world.

That was just the other day for Chelsea. And how things have fallen apart since then.

They have lost their way spectacularly, and it seems their manager has lost the change-room. It is a matter of time before he loses his job, too.

Steven Pienaar must be thanking his lucky stars that he chose style over a few extra zeros when he went to Spurs instead of Chelsea.

One never knows what is really going on, but there seems to be a massive tsunami of change coming to Stamford Bridge.

There has to be, because no man can invest so much in a dream and sit by with scant return.

The likes of Didier Drogba are said to be ready to try new things, while Frank Lampard is probably regretting not taking Jose Mourinho’s Italian job when he was still at Inter Milan.

While the Special One went on to claim a treble against all manner of odds, Lampard just snuck in a league title, bombed at the World Cup and then developed a string of injuries.

The window of opportunity for greatness is not very big in sport.

Sometimes it opens for a second, just long enough for the ruthless and fearless to seize the moment.

As we speak, Chelsea look increasingly unlikely to finish in the top four of the league.

They are out of the Carling Cup. They have just bombed out of the FA Cup.

And only the sturdiest Blues fan has any hope for them in the Champions League this season.

Sure, they may make it to the next round, but the big boys will be waiting there.

The likes of City and even Spurs have overtaken Chelsea as English threats on the continent.

And the worst possible nightmare for Chelsea may come to pass soon, when Roman Abramovich decides it is time he left the acquiring of English clubs as playthings to the Americans and the Asians.

And then what?

And all the while, as they struggle to recapture former glories, the football world moves on.

I saw a riveting interview with Xavi recently, where he was going on about the importance of staying true to your beliefs.

He called the Barcelona style the only one he knew, and added that he is glad that it’s in fashion again.

There was a time when little masters like Xavi were in danger of being trampled out of the game by muscle-men like Patrick Vieira and unsubtle marauders like Roy Keane.

But, as Xavi explained, there is always a place in any team for the man who can see things before they happen.

That is what Chelsea need. A new vision, a new leader to take them out of their doldrums.

They have become predictable, mundane. Boring even.

And in an entertainment industry, once you are boring, things fall apart.

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