<strong>Worried and smug</strong>: Chelsea&rsquo;s Portuguese manager Andre Villas-Boas, left, looks concerned during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Chelsea at The Hawthorns. By contrast, his assistant, Italian Roberto Di Matteo, who became caretaker manager at Chelsea this week, seems quite relaxed. <em>*AFP photo / Ian Kington</em><br />
Worried and smug: Chelsea’s Portuguese manager Andre Villas-Boas, left, looks concerned during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Chelsea at The Hawthorns. By contrast, his assistant, Italian Roberto Di Matteo, who became caretaker manager at Chelsea this week, seems quite relaxed. *AFP photo / Ian Kington

FRIDAY, MAR. 9: So he’s gone.

After weeks of intense speculation from ‘pundits’ and mounting media pressure a man who will be remembered simply as three letters was shown the door at Stamford Bridge.

Most managers get their marching orders after a string of embarrassing defeats; when relegation rears its head and fans make up placards with the imaginative word ‘Out’ on them.

But AVB leaves Chelsea fifth in the league, still in the Champions League and with every chance of lifting the FA Cup. Not bad for a 34-year-old in his first year in the Premiership.

Maybe the moneyman who chooses the managers should shoulder the blame for the procession of ‘failures’?


Bolton v QPR
This bottom of the table clash is set to be a gritty, old school affair, but Bolton will be hoping their loyal supporters can cheer them to victory.
The home side are still languishing in the bottom three, level on points with Wigan at the foot of the table.
And they are stuck in hopeless rut of poor results as it’s now five matches since their last win.
But three points against fellow strugglers Rangers could see Wanderers jump out of the relegation zone and into the safer regions of the bottom half of the league, for the time being at least.
BDA Sun prediction: 2-1

Aston Villa v Fulham
Fulham will fancy their chances at Villa Park after last week’s 5-0 drubbing of Wolves.
Especially as Villa have not won at home since early November and attendances in Birmingham are down around 10 per cent on last season.
To make matters worse for the home side they are missing their golden boot, Darren Bent, who underwent successful ankle surgery this week.
Martin Jol’s men are flying high on the back of a three-game winning streak and in Clint Dempsey and Pavel Pogrebnyak they have strikers on a hot run of form.
BDA Sun prediction: 0-1

Chelsea v Stoke
The Chelsea horror show/debacle continues with the Blues’ first home game since the three initialled wonder was sent packing.
Roberto Di Matteo will be pleased to be back at headquarters for this one, which is likely to be a tough, bruising and physical encounter.
Andy Pulis’s men hover in mid-table mediocrity at the moment, and still have a hand to play in the FA Cup.
But there will be nothing sedate in their approach to Saturday’s clash; they’ll be desperate to strike at the wounded beast’s jugular.
BDA Sun prediction: 1-1

Sunderland v Liverpool
The Reds will have to snatch all the spoils from this clash if they want to keep alive their slim hopes of a top four finish and a Champions League place.
Both teams will be hurting from last weekend’s results, which saw the Gunners pinch an injury time winner at Anfield and the Black Cats give up a last minute equalizer to their bitter rivals Newcastle in a petulant affair.
Kenny Dalglish will leave his players in no doubt how important this game and three points are, so you can expect them to come out firing with a point to prove.
While for Martin O’Neill the honeymoon period looks to be coming to an end.
BDA Sun prediction: 1-2

Wolves v Blackburn
Wolves have the proverbial six-pointer this weekend against fellow relegation strugglers Blackburn.
Against them will be the hangover from the 5:0 thrashing they suffered last weekend to Fulham.
But in their favour will be the loyal roar of the Molyneux faithful.
Both sides are level on points, along with QPR, so a win would be a ‘huge’, ‘massive’, or even simply a ‘big’ result in the context of the end of season  standings.
On the other hand the magnitude of the occasion might just mean each side cancels each other out.
BDA Sun prediction: 1-0

Everton v Tottenham
At a time when people across the world are desperate for a job of any description lucky old Harry Redknapp seems to have been linked with every job in the UK.
Well maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but he has plenty on his plate just being the boss of Spurs after defeats to Manchester Utd and Arsenal in recent weeks.
Spurs still have a little bit of breathing space in the top four from the chasing pack, but a win at Goodison would be a welcome relief after what Harry dubbed a ‘soul destroying’ defeat to their bitter rivals last weekend.
Everton on the other hand are six games without a loss now, and floating harmlessly in 13th place.
BDA Sun prediction: 1-2


Man Utd v West Brom
Beating Chelsea at the Hawthorns was not just a great result for West Brom, but it was also the final straw that broke the camel’s back for a certain Mr AVB.
Old Trafford will be a different hunting ground for Roy Hodgson, especially against a United team with its tail up.
Sir Alex’s men are closing in on their bitter rivals.
And a win on Sunday could take them to the top of the league if City fail to pick up any points on their visit across the border to Wales.
It’s six games without a loss for United now – and they are beginning to look slightly ominous.
BDA Sun prediction: 3-1

Swansea v Man City
Roberto Mancini must feel a little bit like a zebra being chased across the African plains by a hungry lion. He knows Alex Ferguson/the lion is behind him somewhere, but he’s just not sure where.
While the king of the jungle is just waiting for his prey to make a mistake before he makes the kill.
City face a tough game against a battling Swans side that have achieved their first goal of staying up. But if Mancini’s men stumble….
BDA Sun prediction: 1-2

Norwich v Wigan
Wigan have won just two games since December, so it is hardly surprising that Roberto Martinez’s side is propping up the table.
But they are not doomed by any stretch of the imagination.
A win at Norwich and a couple of other results going their way elsewhere and they could be up to 16th.  Just two points separate the bottom five clubs, so Martinez will be telling his men there is still everything to play for.
The Canaries on the other hand are sitting pretty at present, which may play into Wigan’s hands as they fight for their Premier League survival.
BDA Sun prediction: 0-1