After 3 wins out of 3 during the festive season, Chelsea were going into their last game of the festive season hoping to make it 4 wins out of 4. Let me rephrase that. Chelsea were expecting 4 wins out of 4. QPR are the worst side in the league having won only 1 game all season before last night, and many had already tipped them to go down. But Chelsea fans knew that yesterday could have been a potential banana skin. I mean, it was QPR’s cup final last night, and they put out the strongest side they could in order to try and contain Chelsea and hopefully steal a result from a set piece. That’s exactly what they did.
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When the team sheet came in, every Chelsea fan scratched their head and wondered why Benitez was leaving out so many players with a league game not for another 10 days? Yes Chelsea have an FA Cup game at the weekend & a league cup semi-final next week too, but surely that would be the time to rest these players? Last night should have been the same team that beat Everton so impressively on Sunday, and had everyone prematurely claiming that Chelsea were back in the title race. How wrong they were.
In my eyes, Chelsea were never really in the title race. After last seasons 6th place finish, a 3rd place finish would be a good start for this young side, with the team properly challenging next season. I mean, how can you expect to challenge for a title with one striker, who isn’t anything special anymore! But last nights loss to QPR just showed that the side aren’t contenders this season, and one of the main reasons for this is the man standing on the touchline.
Since his hostile unveiling at Chelsea vs Man City, many outsiders would say that Benitez was ‘winning’ over the fans, with pundits pointing out that the booing had stopped before games. That may be the case, but the songs are still sung just as loudly, and he’s still not won over any of the fans who didn’t want him before he arrived. Since he arrived there were 4 games which Chelsea fans didn’t want to lose. They were West Ham away, the Club World Cup Final, Leeds in the league cup & QPR at home. Benitez has lost 3 of those 4 games.
Under Di Matteo, Chelsea enjoyed many famous wins, which apart from the obvious included away league wins this season against Arsenal & Tottenham. These are the matches which meant the most to the fans, and Di Matteo knew that being an ex-player. Benitez doesn’t seem to grasp that at Chelsea, which may have something to do with his Liverpool ties. Probably.
The Leeds win away in the cup was a great win that Chelsea fans will remember for years to come, but the other 3 losses are hard to take, especially as one of them cost the side a piece of silverware. When at Liverpool, Chelsea fans used to joke about Benitez as he would win the big games such as Chelsea at home or United away, and then lose or draw the gimmes against sides like Stoke or Wolves at home, which effectively cost Liverpool the title. Now he’s doing the same at Chelsea.
He is so arrogant in his ways, and simply won’t accept after last nights decision that he made the wrong choice by resting Hazard and more importantly Mata. Mata has been the orchestrator for the whole of the season, proving himself to be a world class player, and that last season wasn’t a fluke. The stats don't lie either, as with Mata Chelsea have won 11 games, drawn 2 and lost 2. Without Mata, it's 3 draws & 2 losses. So in a game where you must realize that the fans want to win, especially after not being QPR away either, you rest your main player. Madness.
If Benitez was so keen on resting players, why not start with your strongest side and then take these players off once the game had been won? I’m sure any other manager would have done that, but not Benitez. As a Chelsea fan, in my eyes what Benitez did at Liverpool in terms of success was rather flukey. He won both cup finals on penalties after the other teams both crumbled, and although many may say that the comebacks were down to his tactics, in my eyes it was all down to Steven Gerrard who carried that team before Torres arrived.
Benitez has lived off the back of these 2 cup wins, with everyone saying how tactically competent he is. But after 2 months of his managerial career at Chelsea, I along with many others, simply am not convinced. When Benitez took over at Chelsea, they were 4 points off of top spot. Now they’re 14 points off the top with a game in hand. Progress Roman? Would Di Matteo have done much worse than this? I’m not too sure. The players wanted to play for Robbie, and they simply don’t want to for Benitez.
As a Chelsea fan, this season is a write off for me, and I don’t expect much to come from it. In the league cup we have Swansea who are in great form at the moment, and always give us a tough game away, so could easily see us losing that. As for the league, I do worry that we may miss out on 4th spot. With two strikers, with Demba Ba coming in, I still don’t think that’s enough firepower to keep us in contention, especially with Spurs grinding out wins & Arsenal always seeming to have the knack of getting in somehow.
Benitez just builds you up, to let you down it seems, and now Chelsea fans know how Liverpool fans must have felt the season where Liverpool came close to the title. It would be a travesty if Benitez was given the job full time, and if Abramovich wants to challenge for titles consistently and challenge for major honours, Benitez will never achieve that at Chelsea. The fans don’t want him, the players don’t want him. The sooner May comes, the better. Chelsea fans will just hope that the damage is minimal when it comes to appointing another new manager.