Defensive shortcomings to bring end to Villas-Boas’ Chelsea tenure

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Andre Villas-Boas is now just 1/2 to be the next Premier League manager to leave his current post and it may prove that it is the inadequacies of his central defenders that bang the final nail in his coffin.

Chelsea have won just four of their last 14 games in all competitions after their defeat in Napoli and it was not the leaving out of Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard that was the main cause of the loss, but disappointing performances of David Luiz and Gary Cahill.

Villas-Boas refused to be intimidated in his team selection and left two of the club’s biggest names on the bench, in what could have proved a catastrophic move.

But an even bigger problem is somehow quickly sorting out a defence that have not kept a clean sheet since John Terry was sidelined with a knee injury.

The Chelsea captain is now facing up to a probable operation that will keep him out until potentially the middle of April and this is a nightmare scenario for Villas-Boas.

In the five games to date he has missed, Chelsea have conceded ten goals and worryingly seven have been let in from the three fixtures that Luiz and Cahill have been paired together.

Luiz has been a slight liability all season with at least a handful of costly mistakes, one of which led to the third goal against Napoli when he failed to clear a relatively aimless ball over the top.

Meanwhile, the whole defence was capable of allowing the ball to bounce in the box for Napoli’s second goal and it seems none of the defence have the bravery of a Terry-type defender.

With Jose Bosingwa also needing to be replaced against Napoli, it appears that Villas-Boas has no choice but to stick with the same back four against Bolton next.

Chelsea’s odds are 1/4 to beat Bolton, but based on their current defensive shortcomings this is by no means a gimme result.

A defeat could spell the end for Villas-Boas with Chelsea already 17 points behind Premier League table-toppers Manchester City and would almost certainly increase speculation of Manuel Bielsa taking over from Athletic Bilbao.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.