Tuesday 19 February
Nat Chalobah is at it again: this time bursting through to score Watford’s second against a poor Ipswich side. Watford have progressed so far this season it is fair to mention Gianfranco Zola for the Chelsea job.
Wednesday 20 February
Barcelona U19 0:2 Chelsea U19
This result will become legend among the Chelsea youth team players of the future: to go to Barcelona and play the whole of the second-half down to ten-men and still come away with a win sums up the spirit and determination in this squad. They now have to live up to this performance for the rest of their careers.
A simple goal from Islam Feruz after a break involving Jeremie Boga and Todd Kane gave us the lead but minutes into the second-half Connor Hunte was give a straight red for a clumsy challenge – fancy that, a Chelsea player sent off against Barcelona, have you ever seen the like? – to be fair there were few complaints.
Chelsea’s boys then held on until Jeremie Boga’s dancing footwork and shot secured our progress to the next round.
Thursday 21 February
Chelsea 1:1 Sparta Prague
The humiliations of this season look to drag on for another few weeks. Eden Hazard’s very late leveller was greeted with mixed emotion: perhaps if Chelsea had gone out we could all take up carpet bowls until July and the arrival of a new manager and the back of this hapless clown.
This should have been a simple night – take one opportunity out of many, an early goal would kill the tie – except Benitez is sticking with Torres so early chances were shanked or fluffed. Moses and Oscar got in on the act of missing but the rhythm of the game was set: Prague could allow us to have as many chances as we liked because we’d miss them all.
They didn’t have too many but Lafata reacted quickest to a loose ball to shoot the visitors ahead and suddenly we looked poorly organised and lacking in confidence. 0-1. The Czech’s could have nicked another one before we regained some composure.
The second-half was much the same until everyone was busy phoning home explaining that we’d need extra-time and probably penalties against European minnows like Prague. Eden Hazard didn’t fancy the extra effort and blasted in after making his own ground with a mazy dribble. 1-1.
Sadly for everyone wanting to make a weekend of it Ajax of Amsterdam were beaten by the Romanian army side, Steaua Bucharest. So we are off east again.
The NextGen series threw up Rosenborg or Juventus in the next round for the U19 team.
Saturday 23 February
Fulham U18 5:0 Chelsea U18
For once Adi Viveash’s side slipped up. You can for give them for taking the collective eye off the ball against Fulham after beating Barcelona during the week. We had started brightly as well but things kept going wrong and the less said about it the better.
Sunday 24 February
Manchester City 2:0 Chelsea
Benitez’s is writing the longest suicide note in recent football history. The deluded fool who last week talked of Madrid or the Spanish national team cannot see that his failure as a manager is obvious to all but him. His teams are caught with their tactics round their ankles so often but to him defeat is a mystery, an accident, there is always a reason, and excuse.
Today he went with a defensive shield of Obi John and Frank Lampard. Manchester City found it so easy to walk through these two they even replaced Jack Rodwell with an extra striker in the second-half and found our defence just as porous. We should have been beaten by a cricket score and, but for Cech and the ever improving Cahill, would have been.
Benitez however didn’t notice. He left John Terry on the bench claiming that the captain was not fresh after Thursday night. To which you can only say – what? – John Terry doesn’t need to be fresh. Why did the incompetent so-called manager play John on Thursday when this is clearly the more important game.
Leaving out the captain and asking Ivanovic to play at right-back – why did you buy Azpilicueta, if you are not going to trust him – and that meant David Luiz wasn’t available for midfield. Frank was chasing shadows and Obi John was as bad as he has ever been – not able to read the game or intervene in any meaningful sense.
That Frank missed a penalty was incidental City would have rolled over this lot anyway. It is a surprise that they are still allowed to body slam opponents without a free-kick or penalty. Demba Ba was literally manhandled around the pitch all day or simply flattened whenever he threatened.
Benitez has taken Chelsea from second and four points behind Manchester United to third and nineteen points behind. The players clearly are not on his side because he turns out tactically illiterate plans for every match. Rafael Benitez is the worst manager at Chelsea since Danny Blanchflower and should be sacked on Monday.
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