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Chelsea and Tottenham nightmares nothing compared to Zenit chaos

As Luciano Spalletti trudged down the tunnel at the Petrovsky Stadium after Zenit St Petersburg’s dour 0-0 draw against lowly Tom Tomsk, he painted the image of a man whose job had long held a charmed existence.

Much has changed since the heady days when he was named Russian Coach of the Year in 2010 and 2012, as initial success descended into a footballing soap opera of almost farcical proportions. In recent months the threat of the sack dangled perilously over Spalletti’s head; it was always simply a question of when the axe would finally fall – and so it did last week.

Andre Villas-Boas is the man ordained as the Italian’s replacement after being confirmed as Zenit head coach on Tuesday, arriving with a CV that combines Europa League success at Porto with turbulent spells at Chelsea and Tottenham. His return to coaching will offer no honeymoon, though – the Portuguese will step into a cauldron at the Petrovsky and has some real work to do if he is to clear up the mess that Spalletti has left in his wake.

As Luciano Spalletti trudged down the tunnel at the Petrovsky Stadium after Zenit St Petersburg’s dour 0-0 draw against lowly Tom Tomsk, he painted the image of a man whose job had long held a charmed existence.

Much has changed since the heady days when he was named Russian Coach of the Year in 2010 and 2012, as initial success descended into a footballing soap opera of almost farcical proportions. In recent months the threat of the sack dangled perilously over Spalletti’s head; it was always simply a question of when the axe would finally fall – and so it did last week.

Andre Villas-Boas is the man ordained as the Italian’s replacement after being confirmed as Zenit head coach on Tuesday, arriving with a CV that combines Europa League success at Porto with turbulent spells at Chelsea and Tottenham. His return to coaching will offer no honeymoon, though – the Portuguese will step into a cauldron at the Petrovsky and has some real work to do if he is to clear up the mess that Spalletti has left in his wake.