There’s nothing Rafa Benitez can do to end the hate and protest directed at him (for fear of the owner) but win a league title or the Champions League, but that won’t happen this season. All he can do is win matches and finish in the top 4, and with Demba Ba scoring again, that shouldn’t be too difficult of a task to accomplish.
Most of the focus, once again at Stamford Bridge, was about the actions the fans of Chelsea are taking against Rafa Benitez. The songs, the chants, the banners, regardless of what’s going on on the pitch, regardless of the result.
It’s been nearly two months since Demba Ba scored his first Premier League goal for Chelsea in what looked like the start of a very productive partnership between club and rather cheap, thanks to a generous release clause, proven Premier League scorer. But Rafa Benitez hasn’t given up on Fernando Torres while everyone already has, and kept Ba, the better player at the moment, from gaining momentum and a regular starting place.
Fernando Torres got to play only a few minutes near the end of the match, as Chelsea looked to simply control the pace instead of finishing West Brom off since their opening (and only) goal in the 28th minute. Chelsea with Rafa Benitez aren’t quite the scoring side, except for that Aston Villa match, and too often one goal from his players will lead to a decrease in match speed, and simply an attempt to coast through the match by dominating the possession and hoping the opponents fall asleep.
Once again, putting the Juan Mata – Eden Hazard – Oscar trio together proved like something that shouldn’t be tried. Three player all too similar, as just one of them is asked to play in his natural and preferred position. There were some nice moments of passing and combinations between Hazard and Oscar, almost leading to a couple of goals, but the general feeling is that Chelsea will benefit from having an actual winger on the pitch instead of the entire threesome, who don’t give the team the width and speed they sometimes need on the line, especially with an easy target to reach like Ba waiting in the box.
Benitez continued to go with Ramires and Frank Lampard, resulting in less than a dominant performance in the middle of the field. When Lampard doesn’t take penalty kicks or find himself wide open to score, he really doesn’t do much on the pitch. He can’t defend like you expect from 50% of a midfield duo, and with a more talented trio in front of him, his on-the-pitch management skills aren’t’ that necessary. Ramires isn’t too comfortable or perfect in the role as well, but he sometimes and more looks more suitable than Lampard.
No title, no real glory at the end of this season, even if they win the Europa League. Chelsea are a semi-depressed team playing to get some cohesion for next season, when a new manager will demand more money to make this squad look even more expensive.