It has finally happened. The axe that Andre Villas-Boas has so long feared has fallen.

According to a report in The Telegraph, Chelsea have fired their manager after an absolutely abysmal run of form that has seen them win only thrice in the last 12 games and only once in the last seven. The official announcement was made in the wake of Chelsea's 0-1 defeat to West Brom, in a league game on Saturday. The defeat was the Blues' seventh of the league campaign and left them three points behind rivals Arsenal who are in fourth and in the final Champions League position.

The Telegraph suggests the club, who have appointed AVB's former assistant Roberto Di Matteo (a former Chelsea player) as interim manager for the rest of the season, will begin looking at options only in the summer, with Real Madrid and Barcelona coaches Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola believed to be on top of their wish list. Also being considered are Rafa Benitez and Fabio Capello, both of whom are currently unemployed.

AVB's departure was confirmed via a statement on the club's Web site, which read: "Andre Villas-Boas has parted company with Chelsea Football Club today. The board would like to record our gratitude for his work and express our disappointment that the relationship has ended so early. Unfortunately the results and performances of the team have not been good enough and were showing no signs of improving at a key time in the season. The club is still competing in the latter stages of the Uefa Champions League and the FA Cup, as well as challenging for a top-four spot in the Premier League, and we aim to remain as competitive as possible on all fronts. With that in mind we felt our only option was to make a change at this time. With immediate effect Roberto Di Matteo has been appointed first team coach on an interim basis until the end of the season."


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