Lock Up Your Ballboys, Chelsea Are Here
Rafael Benitez Maudes, with more trophies tucked under his massive belt than you can shake a curly-wurly at. He won the league twice in Spain with Valencia but he won’t win it here. Chelsea were 3 points off top spot when Roberto Di Matteo got the push, now they are 13 points adrift.
Benitez won the European Cup in his first season at Liverpool in 2005 but he won’t win it here. His first game in charge of Chelsea saw them eliminated from the competition.
Benitez won the FIFA Club World Cup with Inter in 2010 but he won’t win it here, he took Chelsea to Japan in December but the Blues were losing finalists to Corinthians, the first time a non-European team has won the competition since 2006.
He won’t win the League Cup either having overseen Chelsea’s 2-0 defeat to Swansea in the semi final, but if you think that all the ‘fat Spanish waiter’ has done is lost games since he went to Chelsea then you’d be wrong, they managed a draw at Brentford in the FA Cup.
So why did he get the job when Di Matteo got sacked in November? Well he’s a hard working manager and spends hours in The Office planning and analysing. While at Valencia, Benitez almost invented the 4-2-3-1 formation which Chelsea used under Di Matteo so in that respect the Chelsea players should understand his tactical plans. They haven’t understood his love of shutting up shop once ahead though. The 4-2-3-1 formation often became 4-6-0-0 if Valencia were winning and that isn’t something Chelsea fans or players have been used to over the last decade.
Benitez has been successful but he has also been dull and the negativity surrounding Chelsea at present partly stems from a defensive man craving a negative team. After Tuesday’s draw at Reading, when Chelsea conceded two goals in the last three minutes, Benitez said, “For 85 minutes we controlled everything. It’s difficult to explain how we drew this game.” It isn’t though is it Rafa? Put simply enough, the other team scored as many goals as you did. It doesn’t matter when they did it.
WHO HAVE WE SEEN BEFORE?
Demba Ba. Signed by Alan Pardew on a free after his goals couldn’t save West Ham from relegation, Ba initially looked slow and cumbersome until Ramadan finished and he got his appetite back, scoring 29 goals for us in 54 games. He was voted ‘signing of the season’ by Premier League Managers in March 2012 and we liked him too, particularly his goals and his work-rate.
There was a problem though. It takes some doing to have a more ridiculous ‘claus’ than a fat bloke who lives with elves and reindeer in the North Pole breaking into your house to give out gifts once a year, but NUFC managed it. A £7million ‘clause’ allowing Ba to leave, with a reported £2million of it going to the player himself. NUFC tried to re-negotiate, but the more Pardew talked about nothing else, the more we knew Ba was going to leave.
Chelsea triggered that clause and Ba went with the clubs ‘blessing’. I don’t blame him for leaving. If someone offered me a 33% pay rise to live in London I wouldn’t go, can’t stand the place, but if someone offered me the same deal to go to Barcelona or Granada then I’d snap their hand off.
You could say that everyone did ok out of the deal, Ba ‘very proud’ to sign for Chelsea for a reported 50% increase in pay and £2million pay off from the Toon, NUFC made £5million on a player who had previously failed medicals and had ‘dodgy knees’ and Chelsea gained a quality striker on the cheap.
The only people who lost out on the deal were us, the fans, who lost two of our favourite songs. I suppose we could always sing ’16 goals since Ramadan’ about Papiss Cisse but we might have to wait a canny long time for him to get to ‘16’.
Robert Mugabe. After the Champions League final in May 2012 Zimbabwean President Mugabe said that he was a, “Chelsea supporter and I always want them to score”. Typical for a club so immersed in racism scandals that when they get a high profile black supporter he makes John Terry look like Gandhi.
ARE WE GOING TO WIN:
NUFC have conceded 16 goals in the last 20 minutes of games this season, as opposed to only 6 in the first 20. In January, Chelsea conceded 9 goals, 6 of them in the last 20 minutes. The ironic thing is that all of these goals have come when both managers were trying to see out the game. Don’t leave early on Saturday; this could be a goal fest, especially if both teams are winning with 20 minutes to go!
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