Jump to content
Join Talk Chelsea and join in with the discussions! Click Here

6 Months On, Who's the Culprit?


Strike

Recommended Posts

Current Chelsea 'interim' manager Rafael Benitez Maudes took over the club following his predecessor Roberto di Matteo's dismissal in November. A combination of his Liverpool allegiance, di Matteo's 'club hero' status and the incessant cries for former Chelsea manager – Jose Mourinho – meant he was mercilessly given a hostile reception all throughout his time in the Chelsea dug-out. Now, after leading Chelsea through a long and exhausting season, were the Chelsea fans right in booing him?

The Facts

Rafa's record: P 47 W 27 D 10 L 10 Win % 57.446

Biggest Win: Chelsea 8-0 Aston Villa

Heaviest Loss: West Ham United 3-1 Chelsea

The Good

Individually, he has made a good impact on the Chelsea squad. He improved Chelsea's defensive game and made Eden Hazard, defensively accountable as the season progressed. He has helped in the ascension of David Luiz into a well-rounded defender. He initiated Azpilicueta into the side who has since made the RB spot his own. Subsequently, he moved Ivanovic to Centre-Back where he has shined alongside Luiz. Also, he relegated Torres to a 2nd fiddle role in spite of the popular opinion that Rafa prefers Torres.

He achieved the overall objective of a Top 4 finish inspite of a punishing schedule which saw Chelsea play a Premier League record 69 games in a season. To add to that, he also secured the Europa League trophy last night. He took Chelsea on a good run in the FA Cup, with impressive results against Manchester United in the Quarter Finals and he did all this with a thin squad lacking any sort of quality depth.

The Bad

Rafa's tactical rigidity is quite infuriating. His inability to change the team's shape according to the needs of the game puts the lie to his reputation of being a tactical master. His substitutions have been equally frustrating. Benayoun for Oscar with the score at 2-2 in a crunch Premier League vs Tottenham, was only the tip of the iceberg. He made a straight-swap at Right Back when Chelsea were chasing a goal in the Club World Cup final, a straight-swap at Centre-Back while in a similar position in the Carling Cup semi-final and has generally, waited too long to add fresh legs into the game. Consequently, Chelsea have picked up a bad habit of failing to close out games this season. Under Benitez, Chelsea failed to win SEVEN games when they were leading 5 away and 2 home (Southampton and Tottenham)

His Home Record – P 20 W 13 D 5 L 2 – screams of mediocrity and although it did improve towards the end of the season, a 65% win-percentage at home is lesser than Mourinho's overall win % at Chelsea (67%)

The Subdued

The atmosphere at the club under Rafa, especially early in his reign, was poisoned and this brought out a subdued, muted side of Rafa. The very best managers try and work everything in their favour – even use the media to change public perceptions or highlight controversies to hide the players' poor performances, but Rafa Benitez was a mere puppet this season. Gone was the swagger and authority he had in his Liverpool days. Chelsea were involved in a number of high-profile incidents throughout the season – Hazard ballboygate, Aguero stamping Luiz, Suarez biting Ivanovic, Luiz-Rafael-smile- to name a few – and on none of the occasions did Benitez defend his players. The very same Benitez in 2005 said this,

On Luis Garcia's "ghost goal" in the Champions League, 2005 (via ESPN): After the game, Sheila(his secretary), who was sitting right in line, said to me that the ball had crossed the line. She is a very honest person and that was good enough for me. It was a goal

In Conclusion

That Rafa Benitez is buried in his 8 years of anonymity since 2005. His managerial prowess was steadily declining at Liverpool after the initial Champions League win. The club dropped out of the Top 4 in 2010 just a year after finishing 2nd. His Inter Milan stint was an unmitigated disaster and he was jobless for 2 years before Chelsea came calling. His stock was plummeting before he came to South-West London.

At Chelsea, he has been a figure of public sympathy (outside the radius of Chelsea fans) and this sympathy has grown to the point where his flaws are overlooked and his work is overrated. Expecting Chelsea fans to bow down to him and give him a lap of honour come Sunday is beyond logic. He has guided Chelsea into the Top 4 and won a trophy, not a prestigious one but a trophy nonetheless, so fair play to him for achieving the minimum expectation...but Rafa Benitez's time at Chelsea will forever be remembered as a 'dark' episode at the club.

Remember though, at the end of every tunnel, there is light and here's hoping that this summer brings back the happy days at Chelsea

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pleasure as always, Strike. But I couldn't disagree more about the conclusion. Just read what you wrote above, it is clear to me that the negatives of Rafa's reign, what we all know are his weaknesses like his subs, only affected results that no longer matter. While, most of the positives, on the other hand, are things that the team will benefit from greatly in the coming season and could be crucial for us competing for trophies again like the improve under rafa in the game of our key players like Luiz, Hazard, Mata, Azpi..etc And the organization he brought to the team.

To me, not giving credit to Rafa is choosing to continue to hate him for events that happened before he joined the club. I'd like to think that I am not a hateful man, and I am not an ungrateful man, so thank you Rafa for your professionalism, for helping the club and doing your best for the team and for achieving our main objectives of the season. I honestly wish you luck wherever you end up next.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Credit needs to be given to the team for all the efforts in spite of Benitez. Just as they got to Moscow under the 'managing' of that other fat sack of shit Grant, it highlights what this squad could do with a good manager.

Managers unless they impose themselves on a squad are massively overated, and in the Benitez era were handicapped even further by crass substitutions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pleasure as always, Strike. But I couldn't disagree more about the conclusion. Just read what you wrote above, it is clear to me that the negatives of Rafa's reign, what we all know are his weaknesses like his subs, only affected results that no longer matter. While, most of the positives, on the other hand, are things that the team will benefit from greatly in the coming season and could be crucial for us competing for trophies again like the improve under rafa in the game of our key players like Luiz, Hazard, Mata, Azpi..etc And the organization he brought to the team.

To me, not giving credit to Rafa is choosing to continue to hate him for events that happened before he joined the club. I'd like to think that I am not a hateful man, and I am not an ungrateful man, so thank you Rafa for your professionalism, for helping the club and doing your best for the team and for achieving our main objectives of the season. I honestly wish you luck wherever you end up next.

He got us top 4 and Europa League. Fair play to him for that but he shouldn't get the satisfaction of proving CFC fans wrong based on that. he's just met the objectives. not exceeded by any stretch

edit: One Europa League Trophy shouldn't make Rafa a 'great' appointment. It depends on how much you credit him for. We are all biased in one way or the other but the current rage about how Rafa has been a success at Chelsea is one I disagree with

Link to comment
Share on other sites

He got us top 4 and Europa League. Fair play to him for that but he shouldn't get the satisfaction of proving CFC fans wrong based on that. he's just met the objectives. not exceeded by any stretch

But that's the exactly the point! It doesn't have to be us vs him, we're on, or at least should be, on the same side here. We, football fans, are fickle by nature; we're always changing our minds and we're always wrong/right about stuff. It should be no big deal that Chelsea fans changed their minds about Rafa. If he was any other manager in the world, we'd be full of praise for him now.

Point is, what we thought of him before he came here, should not cloud our judgement of whether or not he did a good job because it's completely irrelevant.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The players have dug incredibly deep for this, the amount of games have been insane this season and as a group deserve massive credit for the achievement last night. Like I said Rafa has done well, I don't like him after his words to us when he was at Liverpool but he has took charge and delivered a trophy for both mine, and your football club.

He will be waved goodbye come the last game, I won't be sorry to see him go but I will tip my hat and say thank you.

Whether people like it or not he will be part of our history, we move on and pastures new are ahead.

This football club is full of winners, Rafa is one after last night......One love....Chelsea FC.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But that's the exactly the point! It doesn't have to be us vs him, we're on, or at least should be, on the same side here. We, football fans, are fickle by nature; we're always changing our minds and we're always wrong/right about stuff. It should be no big deal that Chelsea fans changed their minds about Rafa. If he was any other manager in the world, we'd be full of praise for him now.

Point is, what we thought of him before he came here, should not cloud our judgement of whether or not he did a good job because it's completely irrelevant.

The media is playing the blame game. Whether you like it or not it's happening. In a utopian world, both parties would meet each other half-way and move on but in light of recent events Benitez is getting way too much credit for doing the required minimum at Chelsea

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The media is playing the blame game. Whether you like it or not it's happening. In a utopian world, both parties would meet each other half-way and move on but in light of recent events Benitez is getting way too much credit for doing the required minimum at Chelsea

But should we, as chelsea fans, feel the need to compensate for that by not giving him any credit?

I said this a month ago in the article I wrote (funny how most of the people who criticized me back then are saying the same things now :halo: ), and I'll say it again: Rafa made many mistakes, cost us a few games, but that does not matter because this season was never about the results as long as we achieve the objectives. Overall, Rafa did a good job and a job that was necessary if we want to compete on the highest level next season.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the majority of this is stubbornness, and the fact that certain people haven't got it in themselves to actually give him a tiny little bit of credit for what he has done.

I think you're spot on there. Blinded by hatred.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was a good article until you started to be too negative in the conclusion. Europa League isn't Champions League, but it is a very important trophy that gives us another crack at Super Cup and instills winner's mentality to our young squad. So you can downplay all this all day long but it wont distort the reality of this feat.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Good

Individually, he has made a good impact on the Chelsea squad. He improved Chelsea's defensive game and made Eden Hazard, defensively accountable as the season progressed. He has helped in the ascension of David Luiz into a well-rounded defender. He initiated Azpilicueta into the side who has since made the RB spot his own. Subsequently, he moved Ivanovic to Centre-Back where he has shined alongside Luiz. Also, he relegated Torres to a 2nd fiddle role in spite of the popular opinion that Rafa prefers Torres.

Disagree when you said he relegated Torres to a 2nd fiddle role. He hardly ever plays in the Premier League anymore this year because of the Europa League and the fact Ba is cup tied for that one. So Benitez obviously then have to alternate between the two in those competitions. If we weren't playing in the Europa League, then I would wager Torres would be starting loads of the Premier League matches.

He achieved the overall objective of a Top 4 finish inspite of a punishing schedule which saw Chelsea play a Premier League record 69 games in a season. To add to that, he also secured the Europa League trophy last night. He took Chelsea on a good run in the FA Cup, with impressive results against Manchester United in the Quarter Finals and he did all this with a thin squad lacking any sort of quality depth.

One of the things he has done well is actually managing the thin squad especially in the face of the amount of games we have to play this season. No doubt that sometimes his starting XI (and his substitutions) are mind boggling, as you pointed out, but ultimately his rotation benefited the squad in keeping the squad as fresh as possible without any real injuries, till recently, and still being able to gain good results.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was a good article until you started to be too negative in the conclusion. Europa League isn't Champions League, but it is a very important trophy that gives us another crack at Super Cup and instills winner's mentality to our young squad.

(+) gives us some tangible reward at the end of this wretched season.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Disagree when you said he relegated Torres to a 2nd fiddle role. He hardly ever plays in the Premier League anymore this year because of the Europa League and the fact Ba is cup tied for that one. So Benitez obviously then have to alternate between the two in those competitions. If we weren't playing in the Europa League, then I would wager Torres would be starting loads of the Premier League matches.

The Europa League may have influenced his decisions yes but he didn't play Torres in the bigger games against Man City, Man United etc. But I think you have a point. Torres did start vs Liverpool and Tottenham. Without Europa League, he may have started more games

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was a good article until you started to be too negative in the conclusion. Europa League isn't Champions League, but it is a very important trophy that gives us another crack at Super Cup and instills winner's mentality to our young squad. So you can downplay all this all day long but it wont distort the reality of this feat.

Don't get me wrong. Europa League was a big win, keeps the winning mentality going as you mentioned, Just don't think people should sing songs about Benitez because of the Europa League win.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't get me wrong. Europa League was a big win, keeps the winning mentality going as you mentioned, Just don't think people should sing songs about Benitez because of the Europa League win.

Completely, but I'm grateful for his work and for the effort of the team in general to salvage something this year. Jedem das Seine ,but all in all we are in the same boat and I'm looking forward for -possibly- Jose taking over and hopefully all the fans will finally find the common aim to support unlike this season, where it was more about Benitez than it should have been.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...