x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Villa-Boas looks at example of Arsenal's recovery to end Chelsea slump

Chelsea have back-to-back Premier League defeats as their Portuguese manager looks at how Arsenal have responded since their 8-2 defeat to Manchester United.

LONDON // Andre Villas-Boas, the Chelsea manager, has urged his players to take a leaf out of Arsenal's book as they attempt to draw a line under their poor week.

Villas-Boas watched Arsene Wenger's men rip his defence apart on Saturday as the Blues conceded five goals at home for the first time in 22 years as the Gunners have recovered to win eight out of their last nine games following their 5-3 win.

"Arsenal have made a very good recovery, they are the exact example we are speaking about," Villas-Boas said.

"Arsenal were considered dead at the beginning and they were calling for Wenger's head, or the media were."

The defeat capped a bad seven days for Chelsea and John Terry, their captain, who is fighting to clear his name in an English Football Association (FA) inquiry into allegations he racially abused Queens Park Rangers' Anton Ferdinand, something he categorically denies.

Back-to-back Premier League defeats have left the club nine points adrift of leaders Manchester City.

Chelsea are still a long way from being in the kind of disarray Arsenal seemed to find themselves in during their worst start to a season since 1958.

Speculation about Wenger's job arose because the Gunners had also gone six years without a trophy and Villas-Boas is highly unlikely to suffer the same fate after only two defeats.

The 34-year-old certainly had no such concerns, adding: "That means you are not cold-blooded in your analysis."

Villas-Boas is certainly delivering the attacking football owner Roman Abramovich craves.

"It's a stance you have to take," he said. "You have to reflect on what are the values of the English culture and British football. I think those values are well present."

But if he is to succeed in winning silverware this season, the Portuguese must solve the riddle of his side's defensive failings in big games.

He will waste no time poring over Saturday's defeat and his players may be made to do the same.

"I will watch the game as soon as possible," he said. "It's up to the technical staff to decide if the players also watch it."

Villas-Boas, whose side also conceded three goals in the first half of their match at Manchester United, added: "Even if we rule out Arsenal's last two goals, we still need to analyse the other three they scored.

"But, before this game, we were one of the three best defences in the Premier League. Nobody would bet on the results that have been happening in the Premier League this season."