Lampard and Villas-Boas
Are Chelsea's squad really to blame for Villas-Boas' departure, or are there deeper issues at hand?

With another manager having bit the dust, the eighth in Abramovich's time as head of Chelsea, the club look in even more crisis than ever before. The owner has often been overly enthusiastic with showing gaffers the exit door, but when 34 year old Villas-Boas took over the realm last summer, some theorised that he might be changing his attitude and targeting long term success instead of short term goals.

Villas-Boas claimed he had Abramovich's support in his 'project' to bring up the younger players and slowly make the stalwarts of the club aware that their time was coming to an end.

But Chelsea's old guard had other things to say about it, and after failing to play to their best against West Brom, they won in the fight to get Villas-Boas ousted instead of themselves.

Was it an inherently selfish move from the players, or is it really a case of every man for themselves at Chelsea? Frank Lampard is touted with being the main man to take issue with Villas-Boas, mostly because he admitted it himself to the media.

At 33, Lampard has been at Chelsea for over 10 years, and has dedicated the majority of his professional senior career to the club, despite the changing managers, high expectations and inherent pressure from the media.

His form this season for the Blues has been somewhat commendable; he's scored 12 goals for the side, and is their top scorer so far, but youngster Daniel Sturridge, who was never given a chance at Stramford Bridge until Villas-Boas took over, is closing in on his older teammate with 11 goals.

It can be argued that the likes of Lampard, Ashley Cole and Didier Droga did a disservice to their club by standing against Villas-Boas, and leaking stories to the media about his incompetency in the dressing room.

But with Abramovich's actions - the sacking took place just days after Villas-Boas said he hoped the owner might publicly back him - team morale, support and camaraderie don't seem to be common place from top to bottom at Chelsea football club.

When Nicolas Anelka left Chelsea for China in January, he said that there was no leaving party as he took off from one last club as his career winds down.

"Ever since [I said I wanted to leave] I was punished - they put me with the youngsters," he revealed at the time. "I've got all the kit and equipment that professionals have but they put me in a separate changing room - that's football for you.

"One day, you can be there scoring goals and doing all you have to do for your club but the day you leave there is no pity.

"The day you do decide to leave, you have to do what you have to do and have no sadness either, because there are no friends in football."

With that in mind, how can one have expected Chelsea's older stars to be willing to give Villas-Boas a chance for the sake of the club?

If Abramovich wants to bring long term success to the side, he needs to make winning about more than the pay cheques, and the glory; it needs to be about the team and the club as a whole.

One of Chelsea's biggest opponents in their quest for trophies, Manchester United, have seen out their big-spending rivals in the long term because the big players see their long-term future at the club.

And in turn, Sir Alex Ferguson has shown faith in his players. Darren Fletcher is out injured for the foreseeable future, but the midfielder is now working in coaching for the club. And while no other side would have given Paul Scholes a second chance, the 37 year old has made a wildly successful comeback for United, and could be a decisive factor in them winning the title this season.

Talk is speculating that Ferguson may choose Ryan Giggs to take on the managerial role when the 70 year old retires, and fans are hopeful that the stalwart will, like many former United players, stay involved in the club beyond his playing days.

If Chelsea paid out less wages, and mixed old and new players the way United have done many times in the past, perhaps their squad would in turn put the club ahead of themselves.