You’d have thought being Chelsea manager or head coach would be fun.
The Blues traditionally have lots of money to spend, have been serial winners over the past couple of decades, and have a tremendous infrastructure that is set up for oodles of future success.
But ever since Roman Abramovich took charge of the club way back in 2003, we’ve also seen one thing that is sorely lacking when the going gets a little bit tough in west London.
Yep, when the going gets tough, rather than wait it out and allow things to turn around – or players to bed in and settle – the trigger gets pulled on whoever’s in charge, ready for the next poor soul to come in and trouser £15m in very welcome compensation.
With those expensive sentiments at the forefront of our minds, which of the managers to have served under Abramovich have been the most successful? Here, 90min details the Premier League points per game record of every man to permanently – or an official interim basis – sit in the dugout.
PL Games: 57
Overall Win Percentage (all comps): 52%
Frank Lampard’s appointment as head coach was a bit of a surprise, given he’d only been in the managerial game with Derby County for a year.
But with his legendary status at the club secure, what could possibly go wrong for Lamps after qualifying for the Champions League at the first time of asking?
Turns out, everything could – with his sacking on January 25, 2021 the result of not getting the best out of a number of big money signings.
PL Games: 27
Overall Win Percentage (all comps): 48%
AVB came into Stamford Bridge near the beginning of the 2010s heralded as the best thing since sliced bread.
Sadly, the Portuguese boss had gone a bit stale after his Mourinho-esque exploits at Porto, winning just 19 of the 40 games he took charge of. His tenure ended after just nine months, and he decided to celebrate his dismissal by rocking up at fierce, fierce rivals Tottenham.
PL Games: 146
Overall Win Percentage (all comps): 54%
There isn’t a single person in the world who has anything but love for Claudio Ranieri.
Not a single person apart from Abramovich, that is, who publicly (basically) advertised Ranieri’s job and searched for his successor right under his nose, as if that was a normal thing to do.
The Italian did the best he could under very trying circumstances, maintained his dignity and even finished as runner-up to Arsenal’s Invincibles during the 2003/04 season. He then got the boot in favour of a rather special era.
PL Games: 23
Overall Win Percentage (all comps): 57%
After Villas-Boas was kicked into the turf, Abramovich turned to Roberto Di Matteo for a helping hand in the managerial dugout – and the decision to bring the Italian in turned out to be a masterstroke.
Chelsea won the Champions League, qualified for next year’s edition and primed themselves for a bright future. Except Di Matteo wasn’t actually a part of that bright future, getting the boot after losing just nine of the 42 games he took charge of.
His points per game record in the Prem? 1.83.
PL Games: 38
Overall Win Percentage (all comps): 62%
After an arduous and very public pursuit of Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri, Chelsea finally got their man and shipped the Italian and his 40,000 packs of Marlboro cigarettes over in time for the 2018/19 season.
The end result was a country being gripped by ‘Sarri-ball’ fever and a grumpy man from Naples wondering what the hell he’d done to be torn apart week after week for his supposed tactical deficiencies.
Sarri delivered the Europa League but it all got a bit too much for him, and he scarpered off into the sunset after bagging 1.89 Premier League points per game in his only season at the helm.
PL Games: 34
Overall Win Percentage (all comps): 53%
If you’re in trouble and you need a lawyer, you’d Better Call Saul.
If you’re in relegation trouble and you need to stay up, you’d Better Call Big Sam.
And if you’re in need of a caretaker boss willing to come in and do a job for a few months while you fanny around trying to poach somebody else’s manager, you’d Better Call Guus.
That’s what Chelsea did anyway, twice – with the Dutchman taking the reins after the departures of Luiz Felipe Scolari and Jose Mourinho. He did okay, and knew that committing himself ‘long-term’ was probably pointless.
PL Games: 25
Overall Win Percentage (all comps): 56%
In one of the stranger moves of 2008, Abramovich decided that he wanted to send losing Champions League finalist Avram Grant packing in favour of notorious loon Luiz Felipe Scolari.
The move, as many expected, backfired, and the Brazilian was out of his job after seven months. On reflection, his numbers weren’t actually all that bad – and he even had the good grace to basically admit that a big pay day was his main motivator for joining.
PL Games: 26
Overall Win Percentage (all comps): 58%
If Scolari’s appointment was strange, the decision to bring in Rafa Benitez after it all went wrong with Di Matteo was outright weird.
The Spaniard won the Champions League with Liverpool, was their manager for six years and 350 games, and had an incredible rapport with their supporters. Inevitably, he overcame all of the adversity and Chelsea fan rebuke to win the Europa League and finish third in the Premier League – securing a return to the Champions League.
Zero to hero in six months, nice one Rafa.
PL Games: 76
Overall Win Percentage (all comps): 61%
When Carlo Ancelotti turned up at Chelsea in 2009, there was a feeling that he was the man to bring long-term success and stability.
In his first season, Ancelotti delivered the goods, leading an all-conquering Chelsea to their first Premier League title since the departure of Jose Mourinho in 2007.
But when he couldn’t repeat the feat in his second year, Ancelotti was culled – despite his excellent overall record, one that included 2.07 points per Premier League game played.
PL Games: 76
Overall Win Percentage (all comps): 65%
After part two of Hiddink’s temporary stint in the Chelsea hot seat, the Blues turned to former Juventus and Italy boss Antonio Conte.
His reign got off to a pretty ordinary start, but a tactical tweak turned out to not only be a masterstroke, but a revolutionary formation change that continues to be widely implemented to this day.
Chelsea cantered to the title, were bloody brilliant, but could only muster FA Cup success in his second season. After a bit of a media pile-on and a truck load of negative press, the inevitable happened and Conte left.
PL Games: 212
Overall Win Percentage (all comps): 67%
The departure of Ranieri in 2004 was pretty sad for everybody associated with football, but it also turned out to be one of the most pivotal moments in the sport’s history.
In through the Stamford Bridge doors came an arrogant, egotistical champion of the world called Jose Mourinho – who quickly proclaimed he was the ‘Special One’.
Miraculously, he wasn’t just full off gusto and hot air, Mourinho really was the real deal. He won back-to-back Premier League titles, dominating all who came before him, but paid the price for failing out with Abramovich and failing to conquer Europe.
A second spell offered more domestic success, but Roman again wasn’t having it when things went south in Europe and they went off the Premier League rails. Still, their greatest boss ever.
PL Games: 32
Overall Win Percentage (all comps): 67%
Incredibly, Mourinho’s replacement in 2007, Avram Grant – who nobody had really heard of – is the club’s most successful Premier League manager, if you’re going by points per game ratio.
He accrued 2.31 in the 32 games he took charge of, and led the Blues to the 2008 Champions League final against Manchester United in rain-soaked Moscow.
A John Terry slip and Nicolas Anelka miss later and he was out of the door, punished, shock, for failing to bring silverware to west London.