by Liam McConville

A week is supposedly a long time in football. On that logic, a month must be an eternity and that’s certainly the case at Stamford Bridge. Just weeks ago the Blues were being lauded after winning seven of their first eight games. They had developed a new, attacking style which left pundits and fans drooling at what they saw on the pitch. Behind this new style and overseeing a tricky period of transition between the old guard and the new signings was Roberto Di Matteo.

The Italian was seen to be settling into the permanent role well. However the competition which secured him the job proved to be his undoing. First a defeat in Ukraine against the in-form Shakhtar Donetsk got Abramovich’s trigger finger ready. This was followed by the 3-2 loss against Manchester United where Chelsea were on the end of two poor decisions from the officials which undoubtedly titled the game in United’s favour.

The nightmare month continued despite a late smash and grab in the return fixture against Shakhtar, today the Italian boss top of the Premier League less than four weeks ago has been dismissed. In startling similarity to the way his predecessor was fired, Di Matteo was sacked after a defeat to West Brom and a damaging loss away in Italy in Europe.

After last night’s big loss in Turin many speculated over his job but yet it was still a major surprise to see the axe fall this morning less than twelve hours after the final whistle last night. Di Matteo brought the Holy Grail to Stamford Bridge in the Champions League, he also added the FA Cup just to sweeten the deal in surely one of the greatest extended job interviews in football history.

This still wasn’t enough to save him. A poor run of form has cost him, the holders are likely to crash out the Champions League in the group stages in what is admittedly is a hugely difficult draw more accustomed to Manchester City. Second best at Chelsea is unacceptable, third place well you may as well grab your coat immediately.

Ever since Di Matteo was finally confirmed as the permanent manager in the summer after a protracted period where it seemed Abramovich was desperate to lure a bigger name to West London. Ever since his appointment, there has been a feeling that he has simply been operating on borrowed time. He was only given a two year contract and with Pep Guardiola (the man Abramovich clearly desperately wants) on a one year sabbatical, this felt like an extended trial period.

As it turns out even getting a full season to prove himself once again wasn’t going to happen. Chelsea looks set to make a swift appointment (perhaps even by the end of the day) with Rafa Benitez the favourite to land the job. It seems certain that whoever is appointed will only get a short-term deal with the mantra to win a major trophy or face the sack in the summer when Guardiola might be a bit more receptive to offers.

It’s not implausible that Chelsea can still squeak through their group if Shakhtar turn it on against Juventus, then this little blip could still blossom into a great season, sound familiar. Whatever happens, Di Matteo won’t be there to oversee it, another sign of Roman’s ruthlessness in his quest to find footballing perfection.

Its Abramovich’s way, he wants to win everything and he wants to play attacking football as well. He expects it all and seems to believe that if he sacks enough managers along the way he’ll eventually find the right one to get what he wants.

For Di Matteo it’ll be a fond farewell for a man who even before he took over from Andre Villas-Boas in March was a club legend. His legacy is well and truly secure; he achieved what Mourinho, Ancelotti and yes even Avram Grant couldn’t do, win the Champions League.

For the second time in his brief managerial career he is on the end of an extremely harsh sacking, let’s hope we see him back very soon.