Chelsea Blip-O-Meter reading: 9.2
64+11 = 75 points
RDM v RB 12 games Match/Match 2011/12-2012/13 Comparison
[Comparing each with the equivalent fixtures from the previous season (ie like-with-like)]:
RDM: Points+10 GF+10 GA0 GD+10 [*9/12 were AVB fixtures]
RB: Points+1 GF+1 GA-6 GD+7 [*10/12 were AVB fixtures]
So Benitez is tracking at about the same level as Villas-Boas although he is achieving this by winning games AVB lost and losing or drawing games that he won. It is the 10 points that we acquired under Di Matteo at the start of the season that currently hold us on course for third place.
Di Matteo was – is – a great guy and a Chelsea legend. However, those admirable attributes do not necessarily make you a great manager.
He – we – could not have gotten much luckier (at least in the UCL) were we to have mortgaged the house and stuck it all on a single number at a casino roulette table.
He was not lucky in the sense that he did not send out a team with a plan to negate Bayern’s basic tactics (and Barcelona’s prior to that). But in that neither Heynckes nor Guardiola opted to alter their tactics.
So Barca failed to take on our full-backs wide and put in crosses from the by-line and Bayern kept Robben and Ribery playing inside-out – cutting in to shoot instead of getting them to swap wings and play in crosses to Gomez.
Add to that two missed/saved penalties and “luck” is the only word that comes to mind.
Not that we were not “owed” some by the laws of probability.
However, it did appear as though he might have really been out of his depth. You can win the Champions League without actually needing to win games once you make the knock-out stages. At the group stage you really need to accumulate your points in threes (especially at home). While berating Benitez for squandering two-goal leads, it is easy to forget doing the same at home to Juventus. That led to our relegation to the Europa League.
Chelsea Managers under Abramovic – a Retrospective
A lot of our management volatility revolves around those appointments that Abramovic sanctioned purely because he couldn’t get the guys he wanted at that time.
That list includes Ranieri, Scolari, Grant and Di Matteo.
Those guys were always going to be sacked – it was only a matter of when.
Mourinho engineered his own departure (a “Constructive Dismissal” – constructed by Mourinho).
Hiddink was only ever a stopgap. As is Benitez – regardless of what he wishes to believe.
Villas-Boas got the job before he had acquired the necessary experience and skills (and critically, respect. He returned to a body of players to whom he would forever remain the kid who gave out the DVDs under Mourinho).
Which leaves Ancelotti – Abramovic’s actual target when appointing Scolari & Grant. Ancelotti did appear surprisingly bereft of a Plan B. How much of this revolved around his off-field circumstances (eg death of his father) and how much was down to the fact that he’d lost his touch (or the pressure of working for Abramovic) we’ll never know.
He doesn’t always get whom he wants – when he wants them.
And what he does in that situation has exacerbated the problem. We go through the motions of permanence (eg long-term contracts) while all the time ensuring that those incumbents are in practice disposable (eg little or no input into transfers).
If we are totally honest, the terminations of Ranieri, Scolari, Grant and Villas-Boas were justified.
Reality meant that Hiddink had to be returned to the RFF.
Mourinho had run his race with us and contrived his own dismissal (as he is currently doing at Madrid).
Many Chelsea fans I have spoken to privately thought that Di Matteo had got lucky (very lucky) and was really out of his depth.
As for Benitez….
Only Ancelotti leaves you wondering “What if?” – and that in the context of the surprising tactical inflexibility he demonstrated with us. Even allowing for the fact he may not have been driving the transfers, we have been paying for his bungled introduction of Torres to the first team ever since he signed.
Regardless of Di Matteo’s naivety, we should have kept him for the whole season. At least that would have given a semblance (an appearance, an illusion) of stability. I doubt he would have won much, if anything, but I doubt that he would have failed to get the Top Four Finish that is the minimum requirement for the club these days (KPI in magamentspeak). The way City are playing I suggest that he could have finished second. (Why Top 4? take a look at Arsenal in five months). Then Abramovic could have got his man (Guardiola? Klopp? Deschamps? Blanc? Loew?) who would have inherited a new young team that still had been playing together for 12-months – and was ready to win stuff.
As it is, I doubt we will win anything this season under Benitez, and I suggest we are more likely to miss out on UCL qualification under him than Di Matteo (although we should still finish third allowing for the buffer he inherited – thanks largely to the pitiable form of the teams below us).
So, unlike most of the other terminations, Di Matteo was sacked with no apparent benefit – to the clear detriment of the club.
It was a sacking too many and appears to have caused those on Abramovic’s management short-list to look elsewhere. And it leaves Abramovic in the unenviable position of almost being unable to sack a coach who desperately needs sacking.
He must be itching to push the red button, but who’d take the gig?
Fireman Hiddink again? (what’s he doing these days?) (Terry or Lampard without their badges? Poyet?)
Meanwhile I love watching “Enough Quality” with “Lots of Positives”, it makes me want to “Bring on the Big Match”, because it will be the “Perfect Test” surely resulting in “Capital Gains” sending “Posit ive Signals” indicating “Home Improvements”. Although we were playing Swansea we were definitely “Set for Stoke” so we’re clearly heading in the “Right Direction”.
(c) 2012-2013 R Benitez & Chelsea FC PR department
Posted by Steve Symmons
|Reading (Bolton) (h)||4-2||6||2||4||3-0||4||1||3||0||+2||+2||+1||+1|
|Man Utd (h)||
|WBA (a) (AVB & RDM Sacked)||
|Man City (h)||0-0||24||13||11||2-1||16||14||2||-2||+8||+8||+1||+7|
|West Ham (Wolves) (a)||1-3||25||16||9||2-1||19||16||3||-3||+5||+6||0||+6|
|Aston Villa (h)||
|*Southampton (Blackburn) (h)||2-2||45||21||24||2-1||30||24||6||-2||+10||+15||-3||+18|
|*Man City (a)||
|West Ham (Wolves)(h)||3-0||50||35||15|
|Southampton (Blackburn) (a)||1-0||51||35||16|
|Man Utd (a)||
|*Aston Villa (a)||4-2||62||45||17|