Chelsea will be going into this new season on a real high, following their remarkable Champions League victory over Bayern Munich, but given the reputation for capriciousness and unpredictability that the owner Roman Abramovich has cultivated during his decade at the club, it would take a brave man to bet on the current situation being retained for long.
It seems strange to think that a manager who masterminded a Champions League win could be considered amongst the potential candidates to be sacked this season by both pundits. Football blogs have constantly criticised the lack of patience from the owner. Realistically, Abramovich hasn’t demonstrated much patience with managers in the past.
Furthermore, the actual decision to give Di Matteo the job on a permanent basis was less than convincing, with Chelsea delaying the announcement past the point most would have expected. From Di Matteo’s point of view, he clearly needs to establish the club within the all-important top four early as it was the failure to achieve this that cost the previous manager his job; Chelsea simply cannot afford not to be in the Champions League places.
The key figure for Di Matteo is likely to be one that he himself was not responsible for bringing to the club Fernando Torres. With Didier Drogba gone, Torres is now going to be under intense pressure to produce the goals that will guarantee a top four place for Chelsea and, given his failure to produce thus far, this is not something that we can be certain will happen.
The season would seem to be make or break for the £ 50 million striker as much as for the manager. There can be no hiding place for Torres now that he is indisputably the main striker at the club; but for Di Matteo, his form in front of goal is likely to be the difference between keeping and losing his job.