How have Chelsea managers performed when arriving mid-season?
Chelsea have announced Thomas Tuchel as their new coach, following the sacking of Frank Lampard this week.
Lampard, tasked with forming a title tilt after the club splurged the better part of £200m on some of the finest young talents in the European game, ultimately wasn’t up to the challenge. The Blues find themselves ninth in the Premier League table and look light years away from competing for the title.
Club owner Roman Abramovich had seen enough. Infamous for not being the most patient of owners, the Russian issued a P45 to Lampard.
This campaign is going down as one of the worst of the Abramovich era. Lampard has collected just 1.53 points-per-game. Of the many managers previously sacked by Abramovich, only Jose Mourinho in his second spell at the club had managed a worse tally when he was fired.
German coach Tuchel has now been given the opportunity to maximise the abundance of talent within the Chelsea squad.
So how have other Chelsea managers done when arriving at the club mid-season?
Avram Grant – 2007/08
The Israeli took over from Mourinho early in the season, when the ‘Special One’ was sacked in September 2007 after three years at Stamford Bridge.
Grant took Chelsea to within a whisker of winning their first Champions League crown, losing the final on penalties to Man Utd on a rainy night in Moscow.
Grant’s record during his only season was highly impressive – 36 wins from 54 games, with 13 draws and only five losses in all competitions resulted in a win ratio of 63%.
Chelsea finished two points behind Man Utd and also finished runners-up in the League Cup.
Grant was relieved of his duty at the end of the season, as he made way for a bigger name in Luiz Felipe Scolari.
Guus Hiddink – 2008/09
Scolari didn’t last long. The World Cup winner was vastly out of his element after years of coaching at national team level.
He was sacked following a poor run of results at the beginning of 2009, and Hiddink was brought in to stabilise a sinking ship.
And stabilise Hiddink did. A win ratio of 73% from 22 games resulted in Chelsea reaching the final four of the Champions League, before exiting to Barcelona in highly controversial circumstances.
Hiddink guided Chelsea to third in the Premier League and also took home the FA Cup, beating Everton 2-1 in the final.
It wouldn’t be the last time the Dutchman would patrol the Chelsea sidelines, however.
Roberto Di Matteo – 2011/12
The Italian somehow coaxed a miraculous Champions League win out of arguably the worst team to win it since its reformation in 1992.
Di Matteo took over from Portuguese coach Andre Villas-Boas, whose reputation within the game never quite recovered following his sacking in March 2012.
Di Matteo, of course, had played for Chelsea in the mid-to-late ’90s, but was named as assistant coach to Villas-Boas in the summer of 2011.
Villas-Boas was given his marching orders after a difficult period in which he only won one game in six. Di Matteo took the reigns until the end of the season. Few expected what came next.
Di Matteo guided Chelsea to their only Champions League crown, beating Barcelona and Bayern Munich en route to lifting the trophy in Munich. In addition, the Italian also managed to win the FA Cup.
By the November of that same year, he was gone. Given the job permanently after his unlikely triumphs in the final months of 2011/12, Chelsea exited the Champions League at the group stage, becoming the worst defending champions since it’s rebirth two decades prior.
That was enough for Abramovich, who let Di Matteo leave with a win ratio of 57%.
Rafael Benitez – 2012/13
The Spaniard replaced Di Matteo, and was viewed as a safe pair of hands.
However, given his Liverpool past, and his war of words with Jose Mourinho during their many cup battles in the mid-to-late ’00s, Benitez never won over the players in the dressing room, many of which were still at the club.
Yet he did bring stability to the side. Benitez would guide Chelsea to win the Europa League and to third place in the Premier League. They also reached the semi finals of both domestic cup competitions.
Benitez ended his short tenure as Chelsea boss with a win ratio of 58%, but his lack of connection with the Chelsea players meant it was never going to be a long-term solution.
Jose Mourinho then returned for a second stint.
Guus Hiddink – 2015/16
Hiddink’s second stint as caretaker manager.
Following Jose Mourinho’s meltdown during the latter stages of his second spell as Chelsea boss, Hiddink was once again brought in to rally the troops and to guide the-then reigning champions up the Premier League table.
Hired in December 2015, the Dutchman only lost three league games for the remainder of the season. He guided the club into the round of 16 in the Champions League, before exiting to a Thiago Silva-inspired PSG side.
Hiddink didn’t win any silverware this time around, but Chelsea finished the season firmly in mid-table, in 10th place.
Furthermore, his win ratio wasn’t anywhere close to matching his first stint, picking up only 10 wins from 27 games, a ratio of 37%.
Antonio Conte replaced Hiddink, and he won the Premier League title in his first season in England.