Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti is being tipped by The Daily Mail for a Stamford Bridge exit following a dramatic FA Cup penalty defeat to Everton, which leaves the Blues as credible contenders in only one competition this season – the Champions League.
Ancelotti led Chelsea to the Double last season, winning both the Premier League and the FA Cup, but thanks to recent horror show form, his side have dropped out of the title race and yesterday crashed out of the FA Cup.
With the Blues having spent big money in January, but with new record signing Fernando Torres cup-tied following his participation in the competition for Liverpool, Ancelotti watched his side slump to a penalty shoot-out defeat by Everton, Ashley Cole's miss putting what could be the last nail in the coffin of Ancelotti's Chelsea tenure.
The Mail notes that Ancelotti has himself admitted once results start to falter, fans and critics start looking at the manager – and Chelsea have won a mere seven of their last 21 games in all competitions.
A first-ever Champions League triumph looks to be the only emergency exit for the former AC Milan boss, but that seems highly unlikely on the evidence of Chelsea's performances both on Monday against Fulham and yesterday against Everton. The team's malaise seems to have stemmed from Ray Wilkins' sudden exit last year.
As the light of his blue faith begins to dim, media and pundits have begun looking towards his possible successor.
Current Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho has obviously been linked with the post following his burning desire to reinstate his ‘special’ self at the helm of English football, and a recent spat with the Spanish club’s owners could well presage one of the most high-profile returns of all time, reckons The Mail.
Former Netherlands manager Marco Van Basten has also been linked with the Stamford Bridge post, and looks a likely contender should Mourinho stay at Real. The 46-year-old Dutchman is young, and has been compared to Barcelona’s Josep Guardiola.
Chelsea have endured an awful run of form since November, which is surprising after they got off to an outstanding start to their title-defending campaign.
Skipper John Terry announced his delight when winning the Double last season, claiming that it had "hurt" to see Sir Alex Ferguson’s troops take the Premier League title for three years in a row before the Blues managed to reclaim it.
However, it looks as though he will have to endure similar pain again this season.
Mourinho has reportedly been in close contact with the Chelsea players, attending their Monday night derby with Fulham, and has texted certain individuals urging them to "keep the faith", according to reports.