Now let me start of by saying that I like Di Matteo, I don’t feel he was treated right by West Brom and that they should never have fired him, and though I believe he is doing a decent enough job at Chelsea, I don’t think he is doing a better one than what Andre Villas-Boas was doing.
There is one thing, no actually two things that are different from AVB’s reign and RDM’s time in charge and they are motivation and luck. The first is down to Di Matteo, or well that is how it seems, but it could also simply be that now the players have got their own they are now not holding back and are giving 100%. Why the performances have come under RDM but did not under AVB will always, in some way, be a mystery, until one of the older players writes their autobiography that is. None-the-less the change has come and players like Didier Drogba are playing like their old selves, no pun intended – seriously. If it is solely down to RDM, and I do believe that some of it is, then I am happy for him and hope that it will give him the opportunity to get back into management full-time. With an improved League form and an impressive 1-0 win against Barça under his belt, his CV will definitely be boosted and look all the more desirable to potential employers, but does it paint a fair portrayal of his time in charge?
The second point I have to make is the luck that Chelsea have recently been seeing. It has been clear for all to see that in the last few weeks Chelsea have been lucky in many of their games. For instance they were lucky to win to against Wigan with offside decisions going their way and in the Champions League when they faced the mighty Barcelona on that cold rainy April night, lady luck favoured them as on any other night they could have lost that game 4 or 5-1. I mean come on to finish a game winning 1-0 having only had one shot on target compared to you opponent having 6 kind of says it all. In that game Chelsea had two shots of target compared to Barça’s eight and Chelsea had one shot blocked compared to Barça have ten blocked, and not only that but they were out passed and at many times overwhelmed. I am not saying that Chelsea and Di Matteo didn’t deserve their win, they did as they fought extremely hard for it, especially Drogba, but to have hit the post and the bar and to have had shots go just wide like Barcelona did, it is fair to say that the outcome could have been much different and if it had then the people who are currently singing Roberto Di Matteo’s praises wouldn’t be.
Di Matteo and Chelsea’s luck was still to visible yesterday in the London derby against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. Again things could have been different if Robin van Perise had scored rather than hit the post or converted any of his missed chances he had throughout the game, chances that only last month he was banging away. Chelsea finished the game with fewer shots on target then their opponents again but came away with a point, not entirely what they wanted or needed, but yet somehow RDM still gets the praise that if AVB was still in charge he wouldn’t have gotten, but that comes with the territory of expectation more than it does results. When you pay the money Abramovich did to get AVB in the first place, there is going to be a much bigger expectation for results than there is for an interim manager that was only hired as an assistant.
Football is a game which ultimately is defined by results. When the season is finished and years pass and people see the black and white results people will see just that. They will not remember the dubious decisions or the great performances that deserved a win and not a loss and in the end managers are going to keep or lose their jobs based upon those results. Luck plays such a huge part that in some cases managers can get the sack when they really haven’t done anything different for what the manager before or after hem has done. If Chelsea do give Roberto di Matteo the job full time I will be very happy for him and hope that he can go on and become a real success story, but at the moment are Chelsea looking better than they are because of players like Drogba putting in the performances they should have been putting in under AVB and because lady luck seems to be smiling on them or is it all down to RDM’s superior managerial brain compared to AVB. I believe it is the former rather than the latter in this case.