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Will Carlo Ancelotti's Chelsea reign mirror that of Luiz Felipe Scolari?


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To the most pessimistic Chelsea fans, the past few days must have felt like déjà vu. Just as 12 months ago, a magnificent start to the season under new management has been halted by an unexpected defeat, with the subsequent performance doing little to erase fears that a seasonal slump is under way.

Chelsea's home defeat by Liverpool last October was the point at which everything started to go wrong for Luiz Felipe Scolari, so as Rafael Benítez's side prepare to travel to Stamford Bridge on Sunday, it is legitimate to ask whether history is repeating itself. Recent results have followed a similar pattern, though there are sufficient differences to believe that last season's dramatic decline can be avoided.

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Players

The squad is essentially unchanged from that which underperformed under Scolari, with Yuri Zhirkov the only significant addition. A more significant difference lies in the attitude of the players and there has been no sign of the division in the ranks that undermined them last season.

Management

Several of the leading foreign players gave up on Scolari at the first sign of trouble but, having got away with that minor insurrection, they know that another rebellion will not be tolerated. There is also a realization among an ageing squad that this season could represent their last chance to win the biggest prizes, and they are determined not to let it slip.

The growing partnership between Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka — who have been outstanding individually and collectively — is another cause for optimism as they appeared incompatible last season.

As a new arrival to the Barclays Premier League with a limited grasp of English, Carlo Ancelotti bears comparison to Scolari on a superficial level, but those who have worked with both insist there is much more to him. Unlike the Brazilian, Ancelotti boasts considerable experience and an enviable track record at the highest levels of the European club game, so he should not be overwhelmed by the intensity of the Premier League in the manner of Scolari.

Ancelotti, 50, is also ten years younger than Scolari and desperate to prove himself outside Serie A, so he is unlikely to regard Chelsea as one last pay day.

Training and fitness

Ancelotti's training regime differs from methods used last season, with Chelsea's players speaking highly of his high-intensity sessions involving fewer interruptions than Scolari permitted.

After eight years in charge at AC Milan, the Italian also pays greater attention to his players' fitness than Scolari did, with the addition of Bruno Di Michele as an assistant manager in charge of medical and fitness regimes, bringing an holistic approach to the players' physical and psychological welfare. This renewed focus on fitness has reaped dividends, with Chelsea coming from behind to win three of their opening six Premier League matches.

Whereas Scolari initially adopted the persona of a genial uncle towards his players, Ancelotti has kept his distance and has not been afraid to subject them to several dressing-downs already. Of all the managers they have worked under, the club's longest-serving players liken him most to Guus Hiddink, the interim manager who took over from Scolari.

Tactics

Chelsea have underperformed in their past two matches, but it is too early to judge whether they have been found out tactically, as was the case a third of the way into last season. Ancelotti has already shown more tactical ingenuity than Scolari, who was wedded to a 4-1-4-1 formation to the bitter end. Chelsea have used a wide variety of systems this season, including a diamond, 4-4-2 and 4-3-3.

Ancelotti's philosophy is based on having a solid midfield quartet, but all the players must be able to fulfil a variety of roles and operate between the lines.

Scolari never recovered after Benítez demonstrated how Chelsea's attacking threat could be nullified by pressurising their full backs and denying space to their holding midfield player last season.

The Spaniard will undoubtedly have something up his sleeve for Sunday, particularly as another defeat would leave their own title ambitions severely compromised, so it will be fascinating to see how Ancelotti and his players respond.

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Ancellotti OUT!

The guy has bottled it completely!!! I mean... WIGAN! come on. What a waste of space!!

This club has driven me to the brink now after this disgraceful loss! I'm going to Man Utd... Wait, is it Real Madrid ronaldo plays for now? Off I am to Madrid then!

:tiphat::whistling:

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Ancellotti OUT!

The guy has bottled it completely!!! I mean... WIGAN! come on. What a waste of space!!

This club has driven me to the brink now after this disgraceful loss! I'm going to Man Utd... Wait, is it Real Madrid ronaldo plays for now? Off I am to Madrid then!

:tiphat::whistling:

But wait!! He might go back to Man U ahhh on the Gerrard bus it is and god help me!

Yes we're going into the Scolari era.Course we are.Mean Man U and scumboes and Arsenal havent lost any games have they?

And sorry 'underperformed?!' Aint that mena be the 'signs of champions' if we play crap and gets result..wait no course not.That only implies to Man U

Wishful thinking from the media..they want drama so gana make drama up

If we loose Sunday..then wtf its October!!We lost to Spurs under Hiddick but that werent a 'Scolari downfall yada yada' and under him it seemed we played crap and got nout.With Carlo.We played crap and go results

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I don't think there are many valid comparisons between Scolari and Ancelotti - whilst they both have their favourite formations, Scolari's gung-ho approach cost us in the long run because his approach was too attacking, and this meant teams like Arsenal and Liverpool caught us out last season. Ancelotti's style is more robust, which suits the players. The difference between the two managers was seen through a striking similarity on Wednesday. When we went to CFR Cluj last season and drew 0-0, we had the lion's share of possession yet came very, very close to losing, but Cech made two superb saves in stoppage time. This time against APOEL, we won - just - but nonetheless, it was three points. Cech made a couple of good saves again, but this time, considering all our attacking prowess, we managed to score one and could have had five or six on another day, but the boss wasn't happy. That's the difference between the two managers.

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Agreed, Carlo is a great manager and had been at the top level of club football in management and playing for a very long time. I highly doubt that he is going to make sill mistakes which in the long run are going to effect us. He sees where something is going wrong and changes it.

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They've got no other stories to print so they're creating drama.

But like said what pisses me off when Man U play crap get results that all 'wow amazing champions' when we do its 'crisis blah blah' We played crap Weds,we know that and they know that but we still got 3 points bleh media

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I cant believe that some people are already doubting Ancelotti. Simply put , if you cant get behind Carlo Ancelotti then chances are you will never get behind any manager we ever have again. Ancelotti has been there and done it as a player and he has been there and done it as a coach of one of the greatest AC Milan sides of all time. The man is one of the greatest managers in the world game , tactically superb with an eye for talent and very intelligent and apparently quite a nice guy too. Obviously it will take time for him to fully put his stamp on the side but I am more than happy with the season thus far under him and I do think that Ancelotti could be our manager for 5 , 6 , 7 or even however long he wants to be , thats how good a coach he is.

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I cant believe that some people are already doubting Ancelotti. Simply put , if you cant get behind Carlo Ancelotti then chances are you will never get behind any manager we ever have again. Ancelotti has been there and done it as a player and he has been there and done it as a coach of one of the greatest AC Milan sides of all time. The man is one of the greatest managers in the world game , tactically superb with an eye for talent and very intelligent and apparently quite a nice guy too. Obviously it will take time for him to fully put his stamp on the side but I am more than happy with the season thus far under him and I do think that Ancelotti could be our manager for 5 , 6 , 7 or even however long he wants to be , thats how good a coach he is.

My thoughts exactly, he's come from as you say one of the greatest sides in one the best footballing nations in the world. From what i've read about him, he is extremely experienced and understands what it's like to be a player as well as a manager. He needs to be given a chance to blossom. I think also the players have taken some of the responsibility for Wigan as well and are well aware that they need to perform today, which I'm sure they will do.. We can't blame it all on the manager, there has to be some give and take. I think he did say that he has plans to retire in 2015, so he has time to show what he can do and make his mark on the club.

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