Chelsea: Why Zdenek Zeman Is The Man To Replace Dead Man Walking Benitez

Rafa's mental speech has pretty much finished his Chelsea tenure, they should sack him now and bring in Zeman for some sexy football...
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Rafa's mental speech has pretty much finished his Chelsea tenure, they should sack him now and bring in Zeman for some sexy football...


Chelsea: Now Rafa's Hung Himself, Hire Zdenek Zeman For Sexy Football...

Gung-ho football is regularly aesthetically pleasing, but never bears impressive results for the team in question. You only have to look at Ossie Ardiles, his time with Tottenham Hotspur and his mantra of 'you score four and we'll score five'; a mentality that saw the Argentinean removed from his position at White Hart Lane after a little over 12 months.

However, for fans of the club in question; it's possibly the worst way to manage a team. Supporters are left with blood pressure higher than an obese 70-year-old watching the latest Friday the 13th for the first time, with more twists and turns than a rollercoaster.

One of those famous for the out-and-out attacking outlook on tactics is Prague born Zdenek Zeman. The 65-year-old has enjoyed a colourful managerial career since taking charge of the Palermo youth team in 1981, guiding no less than 15 teams since the beginning of his time in the hotseat.

His most recent outing - a return to AS Roma last summer after a season with Pescara - excited all those associated with Serie A. His initial stint with I Giallorossi saw the Serie A side net a combined 136 domestic goals during his two years at the helm, but also concede an astonishing 91 as Roma secured a fourth and fifth placed finish, respectively.

Both tallies showcased the attacking, free flowing football that made Zeman such an attractive proposition, with his side finishing top scorers in the league in both seasons'. In fact, it's evident once again this season with Roma currently netting 49 goals - the highest of any team this year.

However, the defensive fragility is evident, with the club conceding 42 - the second highest figure and bettered only by 18th placed Pescara. The final straw in his time in the Italian capital came as a result of a 4-2 home defeat at the hands of Cagliari last weekend and, before most of us had known it; the Zeman experiment was over.

Yet, there could well be a way for the Zeman to force his way back into the game. Looking 1,862km north-west, there is a manager enduring a torrid time in London - Chelsea fans aren't at all pleased with current manager Rafael Benitez.

The Spaniard was never a favourite with the supporters since succeeding Roberto Di Matteo at the Stamford Bridge helm and the Blues faithful have voiced their displeasure for Benitez since the 0-0 draw with Manchester City back in November.

Often applauding their former Italian manager in the 16th minute, while sporting homemade 'Rafa Out' signs, it's fair to say fans are hopeful that owner Roman Abramovich ensures the 'interim' section of Benitez's job title remains just that, especially with the fact that, at the time of writing, if the season began when the Spaniard took over the reins back in November; Chelsea would be fourth from bottom.

The likelihood of Chelsea securing any form of silverware this season is still a distinct possibility, with the club still involved in the Europa League and FA Cup, but even success in both competitions is unlikely to appease the Blues faithful and, more importantly, Abramovich.


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Much of the disdain towards Benitez is down to the defensive minded approach from the 52-year-old, despite possessing the likes of Oscar, Eden Hazard and Juan Mata. Key to his success at Stamford Bridge would be to bring the best out of the diminutive trio, especially his Brazilian schemer who has figured sporadically under the former Liverpool manager.

With reports now suggesting that failure to defeat Wigan Athletic at the weekend will result in a sacking for Benitez, there have been rumours as to who the Blues' third manager of the season would be.

With Abramovich keen on bringing in someone who can replicate the free flowing attacking football of Barcelona under Pep Guardiola, despite not being Pep Guardiola after he agreed to take over at Bayern Munich in July, why not approach Zeman?

The reserved approach adopted by Benitez has regularly been criticised, especially with the striking options available at his disposal. The ex-Roma man will undoubtedly bring out the best in the aforementioned attacking trio, not to mention utilising the marauding capabilities of Cesar Azpilicueta and Ashley Cole at right and left-back, respectively.

With the engine of Ramires in midfield and the holding ability of John Obi Mikel, there is a distinct possibility that it could work. Naturally, the defensive solidity would be sacrificed, such is the Zeman way of thinking.

Furthermore his apparent ability of alienating big named stars - Daniele De Rossi at Roma, for example - wouldn't work in his favour: see Frank Lampard, who is now reportedly on the verge of signing a new one year contract at Stamford Bridge.

However, with Abramovich keen to see his Chelsea side play football that is aesthetically pleasing, not to mention this season being very much a transitional one following the sacking of Di Matteo, Zeman could be the man to bring 'Sexy Back' back to Stamford Bridge.

The attacking-minded, Gung-ho football would give Blues fans something to smile about and enjoy, especially with current offerings more likely to send supporters to sleep rather than put three points on the board. Furthermore, with Zeman's insistence of pushing as many players forward as theoretically possible, the change in tactics could even see Fernando Torres rekindle his form of old – a seemingly impossible task even for Benitez.

With just 13 games to go between now and the end of the Premier League season, the chance to make Chelsea that much more interesting is well within Abramovich's grasp. The likelihood of José Mourinho returning to Stamford Bridge is looking more and more prominent with each passing day, especially with Cole signing a new deal and Lampard set to pen his.

Zeman would be ideal stop gap between now and the end of the season, should the Russian Oligarch look to remove Benitez from his position at the club. Anyway, to put it bluntly Roman - make this happen, for the good of not only Chelsea, but the Premier League, at least for a short while anyway.