On Thursday Rafa Benitez was appointed as interim Chelsea boss until the end of the season.
The Spaniard replaces Roberto Di Matteo, who was sacked after the Blues 3-0 defeat in the Champions League at Juventus.
The former-Liverpool has only been given a short-term contract at Stamford Bridge. This means he will have to do extremely well to keep the position.
Roberto Di Matteo performed the near impossible in his short spell last season, by winning the Champions League trophy.
With the European champions on the verge of going out the competition that feat will be hard to achieve. However, I believe that Benitez would probably have to win the Premier League to keep the job on permanent basis.
Rafa Benitez being given the Chelsea job is probably one of the strangest appointments in recent years. It’s clear from having a look around forums and fans websites that Benitez isn’t a popular figure at Chelsea.
In fact, while at Liverpool he had a running feud with the Blues. The Spaniard criticised the clubs fans passion, amongst other things. His appointment has just added to the Chelsea fans apparent annoyance at Di Matteo’s sacking.
The decision to sack the Italian doesn’t seem to have gone down very well with the Chelsea faithful. Di Matteo was at the helm when the club unexpectedly clinched the Champion’s League trophy for the first time last May.
This season started really well under the former-West Brom boss. However in the last month or so the Blues have struggled to pick-up victories. Di Matteo was always living on borrowed time in the Chelsea hot seat and he was never going to be given time to turn it around.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich isn’t the most patient man in the world, I bet he isn’t even the most patient one in his household. He is very trigger-happy when it comes to managers. They don’t tend to have the longest shelf life at the Bridge.
The man that Abramovich chose to replace Di Matteo is former-Valencia boss Rafa Benitez. The 52 year-old enjoyed mixed fortunes in his first spell in English football, but he never lost his affection for the country or the Premier League.
In his spell at Liverpool he picked up numerous trophies, including the Champions League trophy in 2005, when the Reds famously came back from three goals down at half-time to defeat AC Milan.
If reports are to be believed the Reds won that game because of the presence of the likes of Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher in the dressing room at the interval and not Benitez’s tactical genius.
Liverpool fans had big expectations while Rafa Benitez was in charge. However, despite the team having a lot of talented players he could never achieve the ultimate objective of the Reds fans, win the league title.
The Spaniard did win two La Liga titles while with Valencia and to be fair no other manager in the last two decades has managed to win the league title at Anfield either.
Rafa Benitez has a reputation for being a rather defensive boss. His teams are always regarded as hard to beat. His Liverpool team did struggle on set-pieces though, because his players struggled to get their heads around the zonal marking system.
Roman Abramovich’s dream is to get Chelsea playing winning, attacking football. Benitez may bring stability to the Chelsea team, but he won’t bring the style of football that Abramovich craves.
I’m pretty sure attacking midfielders Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar won’t be playing together very often under the Spaniard. He will go for a more solid look to the team and at least one of the trio is likely to miss out in future games.
One player that is likely to feature heavily in the near future is record signing Fernando Torres. He has struggled to find his best form at Stamford Bridge. However, Benitez brought the striker to Liverpool from Atletico Madrid.
Benitez seemed to get the best out of the Spanish international at Anfield. Maybe Abramovich was considering this factor when he appointed the Spaniard.
Rafa Benitez faces a big challenge in his first game in charge of the Blues. Chelsea faces champions and league leaders Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon. Benitez won’t have much time to prepare his team ahead of the clash, but they will definitely be better prepared at the back for the encounter.
I can’t really see Rafa Benitez as anything other than a stop-gap. Abramovich has been an admirer of former-Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola for a good few years. I have a suspicion next summer the Russian’s courting of Benitez’s compatriot will pay off.
Is Rafa Benitez the right man for Chelsea?