Chelsea returned to winning ways on Saturday with 3 vital points against West Brom. However, I cannot see the pressure on Benitez easing, with crucial cup games at Bucharest and Old Trafford next up.
The predicted ‘slaughter’ of Benitez was more of a damp squib than a statement of intent. At least the club decided to allow banners, one of which read ‘Benitez, we’re not in ter im’ particularly amusing. As the game went on and Benitez made his way to pitch side, the boos became more pronounced and Stevie Clarke must have smiled to himself, as he was roundly applauded!
To be fair, Chelsea started really brightly and could have gone one up, within minutes, had Oscar steered Ba’s perfect cross beyond, the impressive, Foster. The former England number one continued to frustrate the Blues with save after save. However, the home pressure finally paid off in the 28th minute. A clever corner routine involving Lampard and Oscar, saw the latter swing a fine ball to the far post, Luiz headed back across goal and Ba finished well from 6 yards.
Chelsea continued to press and the visitors were restricted, in the main, to long range free kicks. Petr Cech was equal to everything West Brom could muster. The second half continued in the same vein, as the first, with the home side pressing. The frustrated Stamford Bridge following started singing for ‘the Special one’ and Benitez was squirming in his seat.
Chelsea survived a mini revival by the baggies but, in truth, should have been out of sight. This was a vital 3 points for the Blues, with Tottenham playing Arsenal on Sunday. Next up for the Chelsea is Man Utd, in the FA Cup, sandwiched between home and away fixtures with Steua Bucharest, followed by a home tie with West Ham.
The games continue to come thick and fast and Chelsea will need every player in the coming weeks. Who knows, maybe even JT will get a run out!