Andre Villas-Boas, who faces Chelsea with Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday for the first time since he was ruthlessly sacked by Roman Abramovich, pinpointed that particular fixture this week as when his tenure at Stamford Bridge began to unravel.
Amid the rancour of two sendings off, nine bookings and John Terry’s ugly exchange with Anton Ferdinand, it is often forgotten that Chelsea also suffered a 1-0 defeat which provoked the collapse in performances that ended with Villas-Boas’ dismissal.
“After the QPR game we had a consecutive run of bad results,” said Villas-Boas. “The next week we dropped points [losing 5-3] against Arsenal.
It was those two Premier League fixtures in a row that took the belief from us being champions.” Yet if the QPR defeat was the moment that Villas-Boas’s reign began to unravel, the wider and more intriguing question remains, simply, why? It is difficult to think of another manager who has risen so quickly, only to fall still faster. And it is the reason Villas-Boas continues both to fascinate and sharply divide opinion.
Is he a coaching genius, or out of his league? That was the question posed this week of Villas-Boas in one newspaper and, while the answer is inevitably more nuanced, you could understand the sentiment.