Chelsea are in danger of throwing away a whole season because of petty arguments and unrealistic expectations of the players and Andre Villas-Boas.
Accusations have been thrown about by both parties, with each claiming the other is at fault, which has gained the Stamford Bridge club nothing.
The Blues are facing a season without Champions League football – a crisis that would not have seemed possible two years ago – and they are getting there by squabbling instead of working together.
The January transfer window is closed, so no new faces can be brought in to freshen up the squad and none of the malignant influences in the dressing room.
On the other hand, the discontented members of the squad will not get their supposed preferred choice to take over in Guus Hiddink as he has been lured by the millions on offer at Anzhi.
So it seems as though they are stuck with each other for the foreseeable future, as there aren’t a huge amount of serious candidates around to take the job should Roman Abramovich lose his nerve with Villas-Boas.
The Portuguese has been reiterating his belief that the ‘project’ he has in place for the next three years is being backed by the Oligarch owner of the club, but he risks undermining the current campaign by continually referring to future plans.
There have been rumblings of discontent amongst the senior Chelsea players and Villas-Boas admitted as much in the aftermath of Wednesday’s loss to Napoli.
The only thing that will come of such in fighting is the club spirals into an irreversible crisis that sees them crash out of the Champions League, get knocked out of the FA Cup and finish outside the top four.
This is a worst-case scenario but it does not seem such an impossible prospect when considering the current form of the team.
If players are unhappy with Villas-Boas’ tactics, then they have to make it known to help achieve an alternative solution or use all their experience to make the current tactics in place.
They must also wake up to the fact that they are getting older and so their powers will inevitably wane, which is bound to affect performances, especially so for a team whose success was based so heavily on their superior physicality.
It is not easy for any person to face the inevitable truth that, with advancing years, the direct influence you are able to make on a game will lessen and so eventually a veteran player must accept a less prominent role.
One thing that will not leave the ageing squad, however, is the years of experience they have of playing at the pinnacle of the game and it is this nous that Villas-Boas so desperately needs to help halt an alarming slide of such a talented squad.
This is where both sides of the divide must demonstrate some humility, accept they are in a pretty pickle and work together to drag themselves out of situation is unbefitting of a club with their recent history.
It may be an unpleasant notion for Chelsea fans, but those inside Stamford Bridge would do good to consider the words that used to appear under the badge of London rivals Arsenal – something the Gunners could do with ruminating over.
‘Victoria Concordia Crescit’ is the Latin, which roughly translates to ‘victory comes through harmony’ – goodness knows Chelsea are out of tune at the moment.
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