What would fans prefer to see and pay to watch: entertaining, attacking football which might result in their team losing the odd game, or a defensive, effective game that brings trophies and titles?
Chelsea seem to be struggling with this dilemma this season. Jose Mourinho was delivering titles and trophies to Stamford Bridge but Roman Abramovich wanted more – he put a lot of money into Chelsea and wanted to be entertained.
Mourinho was winning games but Cheslea weren’t overly entertaining. They would score a goal and then see the game out, relentlessly picking up three points after three points. They’d show the occasional glimpses of brilliance but Mounrinho was never too keen on his full-backs getting forward, with Ashley Cole famously restricted as a result.
Under Phil Scolari, Chelsea are set up to attack. The midfield and full-backs are encouraged to push forward and for the early part of the season Chelsea were irresistible, hammering sides and playing some great football. But other teams in the Premiership have worked them out and are able to snuff out their main threats, and Scolari seems at a loss to change things round when they’re not going so well.
They’ve lost their unbeaten home record and are looking vulnerable, and the defence – lacking Carvalho – is often exposed. In fact, incredibly, despite their lofty league position, one newspaper revealed this week that Scolari has made the worst start of any manager under Abramovich when it comes to his win record.
So coud Abramovich be getting a little twitchy? The fans didn’t want to see Mourinho leave and some are starting to get restless. They might be being entertained but that won’t mean much if they have a trophyless season. There’s a comparison to be had with Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal. They’re a great team to watch but haven’t won anything since 2005. There’s no better team on their day but would their fans, on occasion, prefer the 1-0 victories of old?