Rafael Benitez Related Content
Regardless of how much he is disliked at Stamford Bridge, Rafael Benitez boasts an excellent record when it comes to Cup finals especially those in Europe.
Ever since he replaced Roberto Di Matteo as the manager of Chelsea, Rafael Benitez has faced the ire of the club’s supporters largely due to his past love affair with Liverpool and his rivalry with Chelsea favourite Jose Mourinho.
However, with the Europa League final drawing closer, Chelsea fans should be hopeful of some silverware at the end of the season as in the Spaniard, they have a manager who has been very successful in cup competitions and has done especially well in Europe.
Moreover, since establishing his reputation at Valencia all those years ago, Benitez has managed to win a trophy at every club he has been at, which only bodes well for Chelsea who are keen on drawing curtains to the current campaign on a high.
Premier League fans will witness yet another episode of the fierce rivalry between two of Premier League’s finest tacticians, as Ferguson’s United take on Benitez’s Chelsea at Old Trafford.
The duo will clash on Sunday night, when Chelsea enter Old Trafford hoping for a victory which will put them one point above Arsenal in third place. A victory will surely put the Blues in the driving seat for the Champions League spot and they will be eager to avoid the embarrassment of having to play in the Europa League next season.
The Red Devils will however have stern instructions from their Scottish manager to make life miserable for the Champions League hopefuls and even though the title is already in the bag, Ferguson will want to make the victory even sweeter by scoring a win against one of his bitter rivals.
Rafael Benitez is set to leave his position as the interim manager of Chelsea at the end of the season which has led to speculation that the Spaniard could consider a return to Anfield.
As things stand in the Barclays Premier League, Liverpool are set to miss out on Champions League football yet again. This is indeed heart-breaking for the fans of a club that is the most successful side in England in terms of European silverware.
The last time the Reds won a European trophy was back in the 2004-2005 season when they beat AC Milan on penalties in what many people consider as one of the greatest finals in Champions League history. Since then however, the club has not been able to add to its European trophies.
Sunday’s Premier League clash between Liverpool and Chelsea will be a crucial contest for both sides. Liverpool will look to re-inject some pride into yet another season in which they were never quite seen as true title contenders.
For Chelsea, the race for the top four is heating up and no short-comings can now be afforded. Interestingly, the three clubs that are racing each other for the third and fourth spots all hail from London, which makes the battle even more absorbing.
However, this encounter will be a bit more than the points table and the final result. It will see, in Rafa Benitez, a former Liverpool manager visiting Anfield marshalling another team. While ex-managers visiting their former home grounds managing another side is not that rare a picture, Rafa’s legacy at Liverpool is somewhat different.
Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final clash between Chelsea and City will be a contest between two top teams of England, both having enjoyed success in the last few years.
Through the years, both teams have managed to choreograph absorbing football matches and produce exceptional players, with the help of their wealthy owners who have provided finances whenever needed.
Currently, both clubs are being managed by highly reputable mangers, which have always chased major trophies for whichever clubs they have managed.
Chelsea’s interim manger Rafa Benitez started his football career as a player playing for various Spanish clubs at the youth level and even representing the U-19 Spain national team.
From last season’s high-flying end to the season, to this year’s demotion to the Europa League, it has been a roller coaster ride for the Blues. But can they possibly revive their season by winning the Europa League crown this season?
Roberto Di Matteo was being seen by many as the new “special one” when Chelsea, finally won its first Champions League title last season. The Russian owner’s love for the top honour in Europe is unknown to none, and we watched as he axed one manager after another in the pursuit of his most favourite prize.
For many, it also seemed as if that Champions League title would put Chelsea in a dominant and dictating position in European football.
However, less than a year later, we see a Chelsea side that failed to qualify for even the round of 16, that has virtually no chance of winning this season’s Premiership, and that is being led by manager who is not very popular among the club’s fans.
Chelsea fans continue their rant on interim manager Rafa Benitez, after weeks of abuse the Spaniard has finally hit back and has promised the fans that he will leave once his term ends this summer.
The visiting Chelsea fans were in top volume in the last 15 minutes during Chelsea’s FA cup tie against Middlesbrough, the fans condemned their manager Rafa Benitez and demanded that he be removed from his post.
The Chelsea fans had never been in favour of the appointment of the Spaniard and welcomed him to Stamford Bridge with boos jeers and insulting chants. Benitez has been subject to abuse, mainly because of his past association with Liverpool and his strained relationship with then Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.
The fans also despise him for being the man to replace Di Matteo, a man who had won their hearts as a player as well as a manager.
However would things be different if Chelsea were on a better run?
Chelsea since Benitez’s appointment have only managed 14 wins in 27 games, they have also surrendered their third spot to Tottenham and are on the verge of dropping out of the top four being only two points behind city rivals Arsenal.
Chelsea has lost their last two meetings against West Bromwich Albion. Following the last defeat, a beloved hero of Chelsea FC was sacked. The fans are seeminlgy yet to come around his loss.
Roberto Di Matteo, the ‘interim’ manager, became permanent after securing what had seemed like an impossible victory in the Champions League final in May. His team, packed with their attacking stars however fell apart in the Champions League. Roman Abramovich sacked him.
This was nothing new though; the Russian had ended Andre Villas Boas’ Chelsea career in March 2012 following a loss to none other than West Brom. After ranting against his current employer, Rafael Benitez could be headed down the same route. However, his rant might turn out to serve as a deterrent to his sacking.
Benitez would most probably be shown the door should Chelsea falter against Wigan on Saturday in the Barclays Premier League
It has been a tough season for Chelsea. The club lacks stability and the hire and fire policy of Roman Abramovich is clearly backfiring.
The latest loss against Newcastle United has made matters worse. Would sacking Rafael Benitez bring the club back on track? This is something for you to ponder upon.
In the meantime, here are three managers who could replace Benitez and get the current Chelsea campaign back on track.
1. David Moyes: The work done by David Moyes at Everton has been laudable, Everton have been really consistent in the Premier League and they even qualified for the Champions League under the guidance of Moyes. He has been operating on a shoestring at Everton.
Abramovich might soon lose his patience with interim manager Rafael Benitez whose appointment last November was meant to straighten the path twisted during Roberto Di Matteo’s last days at the club.
Given the Chelsea owner’s intolerance with underachieving managers, it would be no news if Rafa suffers the sack in the very near future. However, should he remain until the end of the season, it is likely that his short-term contract at Stamford Bridge will not be extended.
So where is it next for the former Liverpool manager? We look at five clubs which could each offer Rafael Benitez an escape route.
Valencia was the club where Benitez first enjoyed notable success. He defied all odds by guiding Los Che to their first league title in 31 years, back in 2002. They enjoyed even more success in 2004 under Benitez’s guidance as they won both La Liga and UEFA Cup titles. From then onwards, Valencia have gone on a decline. Rafa could be the man to resurrect this team which is struggling to compete with giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.
There are signs of life in Chelsea’s season. Nothing is over yet for the UEFA Champions League winners. However, they must now work around the clock to turn the tables around.
Having won just two of their last seven fixtures, Chelsea are heading towards the gloom they never expected following a successful closure to the preceding season. Luckily for the Blues, there is still time to make amends and get right back on track.
The FA Cup titleholders have a Fourth Round replay against Brentford. They are also targeting glory in the UEFA Europa League. The prospect of clinching the double seems realistic but there are five things Chelsea must do to rejuvenate their currently stressful season.
1) Get Fernando Torres firing or benched
A fit and firing Fernando Torres is more than enough to destruct stabilized defences on regular basis, this is proven by his record at former clubs Atletico Madrid and Liverpool. “El Nino” has probably been suffering from a lack of confidence ushered by a poor goal scoring record since he joined Chelsea. In Rafa, the Blues have a man who introduced Torres to English football.
Several eyebrows were raised when Rafael Benitez was appointed the interim Chelsea manager; the Chelsea faithful wanted him out the moment he took over.
Roman Abramovich has been an enigma; he is known to pull the trigger on managers far too easily. Everything looked hunky-dory when Jose Mourinho was in charge of Chelsea.
The self-proclaimed ‘special one’ won back to back titles with the club but something went a miss and he was gone in the wink of an eyebrow. No Chelsea manager has been as successful as Jose Mourinho was during his time at Chelsea.
This hire and fire policy of the owner has been criticized by several football pundits: why would a manager with a proven track record want to join Chelsea knowing that he would be gone in an instant should the club lose a few important matches?
Chelsea takes on Arsenal in a mouthwatering Premier League clash on Sunday. Let us take a look at some of the key battles of that match.
Battles between Chelsea and Arsenal have never stopped being intriguing. Arsenal, during Didier Drogba’s days, was terrorized by the men in blue. However, once they registered a 3-1 victory in 2010, a mental block was seemingly removed. Arsenal won the next encounter 3-5. The most recent encounter ended in a 1-2 win for Chelsea.
Demba Ba vs. Fernando Torres
The first key battle takes place in Chelsea itself. Ba was signed for a small fraction of the fee which Fernando Torres cost. However, Ba is already having a bigger impact than the Spaniard. Ba scored against Southampton in midweek; he has displayed great movement in and around the penalty area. He had already shown for Newcastle that he can score wonderful goals. Torres, despite being naturally gifted, has never managed to click for Chelsea. Ba might just win this one and be handed a start once again.
After comprehensively beating two premier league sides - Everton and Southampton - in the league cup, Leeds United will be looking to add Chelsea to that list on Wednesday.
Chelsea would have, by all means, avoided this away trip if given the choice, since the squad might be jet-lagged after making the 6000 mile trip from Japan.
Moreover, they lost in the final of the Club World Cup against Corinthians and playing Leeds at Ellan Road is not a walk in the park.
Gary Cahill is suspended for this tie after seeing red in the FIFA Club World Cup final.
John Obi Mikel was handed a three match suspension for confronting Mark Clattenburg in the dressing after a league game against Manchester United.
Ramires will also sit out due to suspension.
John Terry is still nursing his injury. Daniel Sturridge has recovered from his hamstring injury but may not be risked against Leeds.
Leeds captain Lee Peltier is struggling for fitness, while Swansea and West Brom loanees Alan Tate and Jerome Thomas are cup tied.
Chelsea fans may still be mourning over the departure of Roberto Di Matteo. However, as a successor to the Italian, Rafael Benitez may not be as bad as many believe.
1. Chelsea’s victory over Nordsjalland
For a moment, just ignore the fact that Chelsea played Nordsjaelland in their final Champions League group game. They played an incredible match overall. The second half saw Chelsea attacks which simply oozed class. At the end of the day, they were knocked out due to a rule which perhaps needs revising- the head to head rule.
Winning 6-1 in a Champions League match is something to be proud of. Only one team has achieved the feat this season- FC Bayern against Lille.
Chelsea’s promising display should earn Benitez some trust from the management despite the opposition it came against. A good performance which is worth every penny paid by the fans is at the end of the day the most important thing.
On Matchday 14, fourth-placed Chelsea will play at home to Fulham hoping to leapfrog West Brom and keep pace with the Manchester clubs at the top of the EPL standings.
It has been quite some time since any of these two sides tasted victory. Rafael Benitez would argue that he needs to win most on Wednesday. The former Liverpool head coach received a hostile reception by home fans on his Chelsea debut last weekend. Only success on the pitch can help Roberto Di Matteo’s heir to tone down the Blues’ furious supporters.
Meanwhile, also under intense pressure is Fernando Torres. The ex-Atletico Madrid star has gone 559 minutes without scoring a goal in the English Premier League. This is definitely not the kind of statistics that Russian owner Roman Abramovich wants to observe from his £50M signing.
Here are some answers to the questions which are definitely being asked about the appointment of Rafa Benitez and the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo at Chelsea.
Did Di Matteo deserve the sack?
Roberto Di Matteo won Chelsea a trophy that is coveted by just about every major club in Europe: the UEFA Champions League title. They beat two established teams of the competition against all odds in Barcelona and Bayern München to do so.
He earned the trust of his players; his players won the Champions League by trusting each other, not by outplaying opponents. Unity also saw the Blues achieve FA Cup glory. Suddenly, the bad period under Andre Villas-Boas became something of the past. In a blink of an eye, Roberto Di Matteo installed a strong feeling of confidence in the camp and the team clinched the double.
When the EPL fixtures got released earlier in summer, who knew that Sunday’s Chelsea vs Manchester City match would see Rafael Benitez in the dugout at Stamford Bridge as coach of the hosts?
Team News & analysis
The ex-Liverpool boss will make his managerial debut under Roman Abramovich without influential skipper John Terry and playmaker Frank Lampard. Both players are still injured. All eyes will be on Fernando Torres who started on the bench in Chelsea’s heavy loss to Juventus in midweek. Rumours claim that the Spaniard played a part in Rafael Benitez’s arrival at the Bridge.
Torres spent his best years at Anfield and the reunion with Rafa may help him find back his power in front of goal. He is likely to be deployed as a lone striker against Manchester City as Daniel Sturridge remains a doubt.
Ex-Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has been named as Chelsea coach on the day owner Roman Abramovich ended Roberto Di Matteo’s days in charge of the club.
Rafael Benitez was the favourite to land the job ahead of former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola. A statement on Chelsea’s official website read:
“Chelsea Football Club can confirm Rafael Benitez has been appointed interim first-team manager until the end of the season.
“The owner and the Board believe that in Benitez we have a manager with significant experience at the highest level of football, who can come in and immediately help deliver our objectives.”
Roberto Di Matteo was sacked on Wednesday morning, hours after Chelsea’s terrible 3-0 defeat to Juventus. This result has left the Blues in an awkward position to qualify for the Last 16 of the UEFA Champions League.
Inter Milan playmaker Wesley Sneijder has stated that he and his teammates feel better after the sacking of Benitez.
Benitez was shown the exit door in December after a poor first half of the season which saw Inter struggle to sustain a challenge for the Scudetto.
Inter were lying at 7th place in the table, 13 points behind AC Milan in the league standings and as things looked set to get worse, Inter god rid of Benitez. They replaced the Spaniard with Leonardo who coached AC Milan last season.
Leonardo instantly revitalized things and now Inter are in a more respectable position in the league table; five points behind AC Milan with a game in hand.