Belfast Telegraph

AVB: Arsenal have shown us the way

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has urged his players to take a leaf out of Arsenal's book as they attempt to draw a line under their week from hell.

Villas-Boas watched Arsene Wenger's men rip his defence apart as the Blues conceded five goals at home for the first time in 22 years. The 5-3 defeat capped a nightmare week for Chelsea and captain John Terry, who is fighting to clear his name in a Football Association inquiry into allegations he racially abused QPR's Anton Ferdinand, something he categorically denies.

"Arsenal have made a very good recovery, they are the exact example we are speaking about," the Portuguese said. "Arsenal were considered dead at the beginning and they were calling for Wenger's head, or the media were."

Back-to-back Barclays Premier League defeats have left Chelsea nine points adrift of leaders Manchester City. The West Londoners are still a long way from being in the kind of disarray Arsenal seemed to find themselves in during their worst start to a season since 1958.

Speculation about Wenger's job arose because the Gunners had also gone six years without a trophy and Villas-Boas is highly unlikely to suffer the same fate after only two defeats.

The 34-year-old certainly had no such concerns, adding: "That means you are not cold-blooded in your analysis."

Villas-Boas is certainly delivering the attacking football owner Roman Abramovich craves.

"It's a stance you have to take," he said. "You have to reflect on what are the values of the English culture and British football. I think those values are well present."

But if he is to succeed in winning silverware this season, the Portuguese must solve the riddle of his side's defensive failings in big games. He will waste no time poring over Saturday's defeat and his players may be made to do the same.

"I will watch the game as soon as possible," he said. "It's up to the technical staff to decide if the players also watch it."


From Belfast Telegraph