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Rafa`s Reign at Chelsea

If there is something Saturday through today has taught us, it is to follow Neil Ashton.

I maintain, one should follow and read his stuff on Chelsea. He more than any journalist gets it right when it comes to affairs of our beloved club. He's been spot on about the dressing room row; our lineup against Juventus; the sacking of RDM; and the hiring of Benitez.

With past managers like Ranieri, AVB, Carlo, RDM and Mourinho, one knew what to expect from the coaches. But Benitez on the other hand, let's see if we can try to address what to expect, both good and bad.

His achievements at Liverpool and Valencia cannot be overlooked. He is a proponent of the 4-2-3-1 formation; in love with attacking full-backs and incredibly technical attacking midfielders and also passing central midfielders who don't concede possession easily.

His days at Valencia provide evidence that he knows how to organize and set up the defense. He knew how to get 9 behind ball once they lost possession and launching attacks once his side regained possession. I guess this is a positive for us given how leaky our defense has become. He's admitted to Arrigo Sacchi being a big influence to his coaching career not directly, but his philosophy. In one of his interviews, he did say this in regards to emphasis in training of his sides:

'The first priority is to improve defensive tactical play because this is less complicated than the attacking side and is important for success. The most important thing for me is to be organised. I work a lot on patterns of play and, of course, as the statistics prove, counter-attacks and set-plays are very important. When we talk about set-plays, I agree with Sir Alex (Ferguson) that delivery is everything.'

In a defense that is leaking crazy goals like a whore, we can add this as a positive to him as the interim manager. Apart from Jose's first season where we conceded only 15 goals in the PL, Benitez's Liverpool conceded at worst 3 goals more than Chelsea even up until he was sacked. There is however his zonal defense which I will be closing my eyes.

He also knows how to bring the best out of players he values: Torres from Atletico; Gerrard had his best season under him; Alonso and Mascherano made their bones underneath him. So if he values a player, he will likely bring the best out of the player. However, they've been an incredible amount of flops and expensive nobodies bought by the coach. I can see Mata, Oscar, Eden, and even Piazon getting better with him as manager. One can argue they will improve their attacking co-ordination upfront, movement and passing under Rafa. He could teach us a bit about pressing intelligently and defending better.

So if there are positives and a place we can expect immediate improvement in the squad is our defense which is the worst department right now on the pitch.

Now the negatives:

1.) Hated & Despised by Chelsea fans - Take your pick; Spanish waiter; tubby; and all sorts of names. If this decision turns out to become a disaster on the pitch; expect a serious backlash from the Stamford Bridge faithful. I don't believe Bruce and/or Ron will survive such a serious disaster on the pitch.

Sacking a fan favourite to hire probably one of the most hated coach in recent times just proves just how out of touch the Board is with the fans. This leaves a sour taste and will have an impact on other concessions Ron and Bruce will expect from fans such as moving away from Stamford Bridge.

2.) What does this mean for transfers? - No doubt we lack depth in the CF and CM position where reinforcements should be brought in, but what influence will Rafa have in those decisions? Will Emenalo be consulting the 'new' coach or rather Pep in the summer for such transfer decisions being made in January? How do they reconcile if the interim manager and Pep do not agree with a potential transfer target? What about Emenalo? Do we think a control freak like Rafa will allow players he doesn't want to be forced on him?

3.) The big elephant in the room; Torres - What will Rafa do with him? Roy Hodgson, Carlo Ancelotti, AVB, RDM and Del Bosque have failed to help the striker find any sort of form whatsoever. Will Rafa become a casualty trying to succeed where others have failed or will he bring in a striker? If a striker is brought in, will Rafa drop Torres if his poor form continues? If he fails, I believe that will be the end of everything Liverpool at Chelsea. Merieles, Yossi and Torres will be gone by the summer.

4.) Man-management - The nicest and finest of players have mentioned how his coaching methods and personality might come out as being cold to his players. The situation that led to the eventual departure of Xabi Alonso is an example. This is usually the case when he has player clashes or a player's technique and skills do not fit his philosophy. How does this bode for players like Ivanovic (a CB who doesn't attack properly as RB), Ramires (work horse with no passing skills whatsoever), Daniel Sturridge, Mikel (passing and interception skills, but not a lot of penetrative positive passing and mobility offered), Lampard, Bertrand etc?

5.) How does he deal with the veterans? - The eventual sacking and contract haggles with Ashley and Lampard probably spells the end of their Stamford Bridge careers in the summer. With yet another new coach in the summer, their departures have been cemented. If I recall correctly, Michael Ballack said Roman refused to talk to him about a renewal even though he was ready to accept a pay cut to his salary just to stay with Chelsea. Lampard and Cole are already going through the same experience.

We'd probably see the positives immediately, but the negatives will only manifest as the season goes on and if things go south. IF things go south, Benitez will make it nasty and Roman, Ron and Bruce will look like fools.

This is not an approval or disapproval of Rafa as a coach because at the moment, we as Chelsea fans will welcome anybody who can get this team to start realizing its full potential. But I can't help but wonder how one decision can lead to more bad decisions that then create over 20+ questions on hiring an interim manager.

The other thing no one has spoken about is this; what if Pep says no in the summer and Benitez wins the PL title? What will Roman do?

Over to you VC Brothers.

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The Journalist

Writer: KAKUfrank Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday November 21 2012

Time: 9:08PM

Your Comments

Nice article mate - I hope for all the good things you mention especially getting the defence sorted and dare I say it I would be looking to bring courtouis back sooner rather than later!
nice unbiased article. but the thing is its nt like last season we ddnt NEED
nice unbiased article. but the thing is its nt like last season we ddnt NEED
* to sack RDM. we r still in my opinion in a bettr position thn last yr with avb
Tbh if he wins the what..RDM won the CL and look where that got him....
@Embers, if Rafa wins the title and Pep says no, Abramovich will be forced to stick with Rafa. However Rafa's personality; record in the transfer market; bad player manager etc.....
very surprised at this appointment, i think Harry would do a better job til the summer. Benitez is terrible at signing players however your new philosophy of signing whoever spurs are interested in makes this irrelevant lol
Nice one @Kaku...Love it
only time will tell , pray and hope for Rafa! if roman chooses rafa , ill stick by rafa!
Very well written KAKU but you failed the bigger and more likely Joker question. Our chances of winning the BPL are virtually nil..i am just being real here...we are going to be a struggle to stay in 3rd. The bigger question to ask is this; If Pep spurns us in the summer and we dont win anything as far as trophies (or even if we do maybe win the Carling cup) and manage a top 4 finish then what? Will Roman change that interim tag? If not who is left out there who is crazy enough to accept this position?
Anybody who can get this team start realizing its full potential?Didnt we all knew that,? That we need a PROPER striker. Nice reading though Kaku, I wished that AVB didnt mess up last season, if not maybe Lukaku would be hunger to play for us this season and things may not so mess up right now. Well, things happened, and for so many reasons
Your point is well writing, no matter what I believe Benitez will be gone by May
Nice one @Kaku... As with any new manager, it will favour some players and will be harsh on others... I think Pep is the real target and Rafa will be released at the end of the season. There really isn't any other experienced coach we can hijack as interim and this is no time for experiment with a young inexperienced coach. I think the fear of not qualifying from the CL group stage is what prompted the board to sack RDM, and I feel maybe RDM was unable to defend his tactics and strategies... RDM need to go learn more about tactics, strategies and how to properly utilize players.....
Well that will be something we win the PL under him that will give RA more to think about.
He was the only alternative, I just didnt see RDM lifting us out of the slump. Funny how the press that RDM the luckiest manager, now quest RA's decision. I for one I am not entirely disappointed with the sacking and appointment. Makes so much sense. RB is the best coach available now, and this gives us one more chance to salvage something out of Torres, he knows the Premier league, he speaks Spanish, we give till the end of the season. Since Barcelona has had coaches. Lets get behind Rafa, I for one certainly trust the team in his hands than RDM. We had the same defenders last year and we held Barca, and Buyen and now we just cant defend. The fact is the players won the CL and now that the spine of those player is gone, RDM gets exposed. We just cant afford not to qualify for the champions league
Good article Kaku
I like this article, although I don't quite understand how Torres, Cole and Lampard are negatives that can be attributed to Benitez... What I liked about Liverpool when he coached them was their organization and their pressing. That's something we are lacking right now, so Benitez just might turn out to be a good choice after all.
Not sure how he was the only alternative available. Was Laurent Blanc approached? Because he is also a good alternative.
I'm sorry Harry would have done till the summer? What is Chelsea a prostitute and everyone gets a ride. Pep said no he is not ever gonna choose you and why should he? he won't get a chance to build a Team he had the greatest players in the world at barca all came through Barca they are Barca fans he too it is unlikely he will emulate what he did at barcelona. He and all players he would buy would have no true passion to the heart to succeed at Chelsea. The sort of passion Di Matteo had for Chelsea that can not be Brought. Hmm what happened last Time Rafa took the job of the European champions ????
@kaku,What experience has Laurent Blanc got compared to Rafa Benitez??comon mate,he is the best/only available now
Guys i know we are not happy robbie has been sacked,we love him and will always love him but lets face reality he is gone and a new man is in,lets support the new man for the sake of chelsea
very very good article KAKU...... honestly, I could not watch UCL nor EPL back when Rafa was the fools coach due to my country's poor broadcasting....... but the positives about Rafa's days with fools and Valencia made me feel a bit better.......... however, the negatives are enough to make me a bit worried again... but feck it... what can I do ?........ anyways, I just pray Rafa controls the dressing room, coz thats the biggest challenge for him IMO................. and if Pep does not accept Roman's offer in the summer , then Roman should take another look at Jose's situation in Madrid.... I extremely disagree with Pep's appointment anyway, anytime....... the only coach I can put my trust in, is Mourinho...... he simply can't fail... soon or late, he will achieve what he wants anywhere in the world
The Persian
Fingers crossed in the summer Pep fancies London & the Spanish players we can offer. Rafa is a good option, he made Torres work in the PL. Basically in his short term if he can't get Torres to bag 10 or so in the PL then they should both be sent packing. If he wins a Trophy & we finish in top 3 it will be an improvement....
BlueMotion ................. interesting comments by Sky pundits
The Persian
By the way,nice article@kaku,i really enjoyed readin it
Really well written article. I dont think Rafa would have any control over the transfers in January. Roman and Emenalo are going to make that decision. And unless he is a long term appointee (doubtful)he will have no say at all in the contract situation of lamps and cole.
I agreed with Kaku and since RB is just an interim, his job is to get the best out of Torres for remaining PL and World Club Championship. Hopefully Shaktar can helped us to eliminate Juventus and RB could weave his magic wand with Torres being a Champions League winner again. As for transfer and contract, leave it to RA and ME to sort this out... (Now we have RB working for RA)
Pep won't. An agreement in principle has already been reached with Chelsea. Provided we finish in a CL spot, I think we'll get him, and pay him 15m per year. Ludicrous. Never should've sacked Ancelotti.
If 4 games without a win can warrant a sacking, then so can one without a win vs Manchester City. Because this is tubby.
Kaku - well done sir....It will be interesting to see what Tubby does with the pivot...will he insert a passer/playmaker into the team? How will he get Torres to respond? For sure he is on a short leash and heaven help him if he looses a few games as the supporters will voice their opinion..How will he connect with the players...Mikel..I would be nervous. .very nervous...
@Ktm and @DrWatson. I am not entirely sure how Rafa will use Terry, Cole and Lampard, but bad blood already exist with them over those years as Chelsea players. Just as a significant section of the Blue faith find Rafa's hiring ridiculous, can you imagine what Lamps, Terry and Cole will be thinking in their head with this hiring. If Rafa senses any bad blood between them and he feels they might be usurping his authority or something like that, he will cut them off entirely and play them in meaningless games. That for sure ensures Cole and Lampard won't be extending. As far as Terry is concerned, I will be honest with you, I don't see Pep Guardiola keeping him. Besides the type of player he is, Terry's character is too strong for such a coach and with Terry's issues over the last 3 seasons, I don't exactly know what will happen. Then I think you guys don't get my point about transfers. If RA and ME go in January and buy players that Rafa Benitez DOESN'T WANT, HE WON'T PLAY THEM and it will just be another waste of money. If PEP joins in the summer and doesn't want them, that's worse because we'd have to sell them in the summer.
With Tubby (Torres's favorite Daddy) in now do you think Daniel Sturridge will ever ever ever ever get a crack to be a Chelsea player? This is what FrLamp meant with the sackings continuously affecting the development of our youngsters. It is not like Sturridge was going to stay, but you understand what I mean.
@KAKU.Feck Pep,if he does not play Terry.There will never be a CB like him.
i always respected roman decesion...but this time he has completly lost would be a foolish decesion to appoint rafa for what so that he can help him start his 50 million toy....which is completly useless and should be thrown in the garbage....for the sake of one player roman is fecking the whole squad....if pep was not available now then why sack rdm and bring on another liverpool reject....he is turning chelsea into chelseapool with the appointment of rafa.....hope our supporter boo both of them at the stadium...
what a way for a club to treat its legends.sack the manager who feels for cfc perhaps more than any other manager we had and replace him him with benitez of all people.the last thing i would want to tell lampard.ashley,terry was that benitez is their manager.i bet they will not be given respect as was with rdm.what a way for the most sucessful and respected people of cfc to depart.
Really really sad day for true cfc fans and past players and managers out there who has connections with cfc before and dreaming of managing cfc one day..Its all lost with the sacking of RDM..Nobody in their right mind will take this job unless its only for money or like Benetiez who is out of job for 2 yrs so he just want another top job to prove himself to other opportunities.
Now this is a well written article, much more like gabeu's just a lil detail missing is his performance in inter, he was dreadful there, eto wasn't firing, milito was injured and when he came back he wasn't firing either, bemitez will bring much more controversy to chelsea than AVB or mourinho, that man talks too much, tactically I'll grade him 60%, I would have graded him 75% but when I recollect the trash liverpool played against milan in 2007 I despire at the thought of him playing a final with the likes of bayern or dortmund, his league performance is trash and he has a 53.3% ratio as his highest and di matteo was on 57.6% or so win ratio. Fingers crossed, by sunday I'll know if he can cut it with us, oh don't say its too soon, I'll def know, I have a gift in such matters.
@shlok27 What *****es me most about this farce is the board always wanted RDM to fail.That is what *****ing me off.Wanted him to fail so that they can shift the blame on him.I was supporting CFC before RA come along..I will support CFC after RA.Real fans like us will always stay no matter if the money dries up the team gets relegated.Chelsea fc go bust...Supporting a club is a feeling and like a religion.I cant understand the way our past players and a true man and fan like RDM is treated this much disgracefully..That is what *****ing me off mostly.If RA sells up and we get the respect back then so be it.This is the first time i was not able to give any answer to the taunting fans of liverpool arsenal spuds..They are laughing at me what a joke my beloved club is how classless we have become since RA took over and the entire world is hating us for our lack of class...I was able to argue vehemently in the past about sacking managers is the right thing..But this RDM has scared the $hit out of me..This is the first time in supporting this club for more than 16 years i am fearing we as a club became a plaything and a toy for one crazy fan(RA).
Desmondadonis its not RAFA is the right man or not is the big issue here at cfc.Its the way of our treatment of RDM is what sickening most of the fans here.Former player and legend who will bleed blue if you cut him with sword yet he is treated like $hit.I dont know what became of our club.Fans who are telling trust RA and he invested money and won us trophies.The point is not about winning or losing here.Its acting in a dignified manner.The Way CFC sacked Carlo in the Evertor corridor and now RDM at 3.00 AM in the morning even before the flight departed from Turin the whole world known he is sacked even before himself.Is this what CLASS and DIGINITY?Even after all this RDM put in a brave and dignified face in his last statement also.That is what i call dignity and class above the rest..
...oh don't say its too soon, I'll def know, I have a gift in such matters....LoL what a load of *********. The same person who said Moses was a "steal" say's this?? LoL and LoL even louder
BlueAndWhiteArmy honestly i was never a fan of rdm in first place when he got appointed here but iliked starting the way he make chelsea played this season...we started well....the one thing which was his weak link was lacks in tactics....but but the way chelsea behaved is totally stupid...why sign rafa?...i say why?...appointed of rafa is taking us backward not in forward make one person happy your making the whole squad suffer...worst decesion of roman to appoint rafa?....i dont know wether he will suceed or not but as a personal opinion idiotic decesion from roman to appoint rafa...
@shlok27 Whether we like RDM as manager or a player of past CFC player is not the issue.The disgusting thing is how we treated him and how we let him go to a gun fight with his bare hands even after he asked for at least a knife(another striker).CFC board back stabbed the guy who genuinely likes cfc and who in the right frame of mind will take over..If i am PEP i wont even go close to CFC even with 100KM distance..Bayern is looking for a new man at the end of the season..With City out of europe manchini is gone 99% now..UTD is also there.Arsenal may decide finally to wake up from their sleep with wenger.AC milan is looking.With all this option if Pep chooses CFC then i dont think he is clever man let alone a clever manager.
He played a 4-2-3-1...that worked out well at liverpool...Did the same at Inter,but it obviously didn't work out as he didn't have the personnel to play such a formation. He was stubborn not to change and he stuck to the formation and policy which ultimately got him sacked .
Did anyone read Pat Nevin's column yet...Well you will know that fans have the right to feel disgusted because they don't have short memories like many new breeds of Chelsea fans. This is reality and not some Fifa Manager...peoples emotions are involved,certain players grow attached to certain managers,and it becomes more of a job to some rather than playing their hearts. Youth development stalls,for another season...Rafa is interim,so he will get the boot...Another Manager comes in and youth development stalls for another season. You can argue that the sacking of managers has given us trophies,but in true sense,its a quick fix...We keep going through the same thing every season,that should give u some common sense that its not entirely the right thing to do. What is Chelsea's Identity?
Befroe all these problems come to be seen, we will already be at the end of the seaon and he will be leaving. Now he will get everything he wants from the players since every player will want to be in the team and by so doing, the attitude of the whole team will change since every player is starting on a level ground. The only player who is happer than them all is Torres. Let him prove now that the best manager for him has come or else he will be gone.
Nice article m8. Hard to come to terms with the eventual reality of possibly JT, Ash and Frank leaving sooner rather than later however the club comes first and foremost. You brought up a great point about perhaps Pep is in Roman's if not the board's ear re: transfers and the potential consequences if Rafa objects to one, or several. All this remains to be seen, never a dull moment...
Add insult to injury,we replaced a club Legend with a scouser reject...mind bugling.
@blueandwhitearmy, what can we do? Rdm is the past, benitez is the future, city on sunday will show us what we have, either a well oiled machine or a rusty one, we'll see soon enough, @nelyvanile, there is no need to despire on that, hiddink was sheit in some clubs he coached at too, but was perfect for us, I won't stick my neck out for tubby until sunday. Sunday will enough time to see what he can do, a perfect setup for appraisal, those with any ounce of footballing brain can tell at a glance with such things, loudmouths will always scream the loudest in the pubs, and at the end of the day they either end up cowering like yellow bellies under the table or they land face first inside the gutter* yawns!!
RB appointment means end of Lampard, Cole & Terry at chelsea. Lampard will mostly move to LA Galaxy in Jan...We will sell Cole to either PSG or Real Mad for 10m euros...Terry will be allowed to search a club in summer.
Accusations of failure at Liverpool are a falsehood worth dispelling with alacrity. Without the Reds ever matching the financial power of Europe’s biggest clubs during his five-year spell on Merseyside, Benitez led them to two Champions League finals - winning one - and mounted Liverpool’s closest challenge for the Premier League title in history. These inarguable truths, or "facts" as the Madrid-born boss knows them, cannot be tempered with caveats; they sit proudly on Benitez’s CV alongside two La Liga titles won with Valencia - another team who overcame their rivals with greater financial might. So much of his teams' ability to punch above their weight came from his innovative methods, the aforementioned tactics are now commonplace in the Premier League but they were widely used as a stick with which to beat Benitez at the time. And it was not just the first team who were exposed to his revolutionary approach...................Read more:
@Mq The last paragraph got me thinking This article makes me wonder which player we are lacking as a club.. The club really is going through great lengths for torres to start firing.
i really feel for piazon and other youngsters who were hoping to make a mark in the first team.they can just forget about this season and it would be most sensible for them to go for a loan move now.bertrand was rated by rdm and now even he would be in trouble.
blueandwhitearmy....i dont think pep will come to join this circus..i wanted pep at first place but i dont thin he is so foolish to join a club like us where there is no respect for managers....we have beome the most embarrassing club in English football with the way we are treating our managers and now the appointed of that spanish waiter has taken it to another level....should have fired torres who was the main reason behind this...roman ha lot of money and he has taken chelsea to another level there is no doubt abot it but his recent activity of rafa appointment will isolate him away from the true chelsea fans....
Simple.... Step 1) Benitez gives his first press conference.... "Before I begin I just want to say I am very sorry for anything insulting I once said against the Chelsea fans. In my time at Liverpool you were the competition and I said and did things to motivate the Liverpool fans and players. Now I am here at Chelsea and I want to make sure the team and results are something for the fans to be proud of. I want this team to perform at the highest levels like we all know they can. My aim here is to make sure the team is focused on winning and to turn around the recent run of bad form. I do not ask for patience or time from the fans, only that they continue to support their players and this club through the transition that is to come from now to the end of the season". Would this fix his wrongs? NO. Would it go some way to building a little bit of a bridge with teh fans? YES. At least then it would show he's acknowledging that the fans don't like him, but he's going to do his best for us during his time at the club
Step 2) Benitez get's the team disciplined and focused in defence. He works on getting the players back into their natural positions. No RB at RW and certainly no AM at CF. He drills the team into playing the 4-2-3-1 system with proper pivoting players (chance for Romeu maybe?) with proper wingbacks providing midfield width. Cole loves that role and so will bertrand. Aspi seems to suit on the right too. In the AM area he gives Hazard, Mata and Oscar/Moses freedom to move and to play a quick-tempo style, but it is their job to close down any first wave of attacks, and if they can't steal the ball then they need to fall back to the halfway line and form a barrier to the opposition midfield coming forward. Note that this is EXACTLY what Pep would do with these players! Finally Torres/Sturridge will be expected to play on the should of the last defender and to get shifting as soon as MAZACAR get the ball and begin the attack. Quick counters and shoot on sight. The back stays compact until the break when we move with pace on the width and skills in the middle
Step 3) If someone isn't capable of playing in their natural position then it's time for them to pack a bag. Sorry but this is not a manager who will take it softly on a fan favourite player. If someone doesn't cut it in their natural position then why are they in the team??? I'm a big fan of managers who put people into their natural positions (assuming they are good enough to play there!), and at this club we have some of the best talent in the world in their natural positions. We spend too much time pu$$y-footing around players who want to play where they aren't good enough (Sturridge!). I see this next few months as being a huge reality check which will make or break this club. Personally I don't like Benitez. I despise the man for his comments about this club; but I will not turn my back and criticise him for something he hasn't yet done. He will get my backing until he screws up. Otherwise from me it's welcome aboard Rafa.... You have a lot of work to do and A LOT of things to prove here!
Nice enlightening points bizarre_blue, u could have made it an article, I am sure it will soften some fans heart, as for me I will see what he has to offer before I bring my rapiers out. That's common sense for me.
I don't know about everyone else but I sincerely hope Real Madrid win the Champions League this year. That will free up Jose to come back to us.
i do not think so
Jose will not be coming back to us since even Manchester United or City are looking for a manager

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