Andre Villas-Boas given clear mandate to drive through change at Chelsea by Roman Abramovich
It was in the first week of September, with just three Premier League matches having been played, that misgivings were expressed by some of those close to Roman Abramovich as to whether this Chelsea squad could remain in the top four, and qualify for the Champions League, never mind challenge for the title.
There were even suggestions, from the more pessimistic ones among them, that a mistake had been made in appointing Andre Villas-Boas and that, despite his talent, his belief and his stellar progress in management, he simply was too inexperienced. It meant the great Guus Hiddink debate reared its head before being quelled.
Wind forward five months and Chelsea do, indeed, sit fourth in the table having lost five league matches from 23, including three at home.
Villas-Boas has admitted he gave up on title talk some time ago and having dismissed suggestions that Chelsea are in transition now appears to be embracing the concept.