Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez has started the mind games ahead of the FA Cup semi-final clash with Manchester City on Sunday. Chelsea will be coming into the match after having played four matches eight days, while the recently travelled to Russia on Thursday in order to play against Rubin Kazan in the Europa league. Manchester City, meanwhile, have been playing around one game a week for the last few months since been knocked out of the Champions League. As a result, the opposition have a clear advantage when it comes to the fitness and freshness of the players.
Some of the Chelsea players have been working very tired in the past few matches, but Benitez rested the key midfielders for the club – Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, and Oscar – against Rubin Kazan. Hence, they are likely to be a bit more fresh. Further, Demba Ba did not also take part in the Europa league encounter. He recently scored in the 1-0 win over Manchester United in the FA Cup, but he was not at his best against Sunderland in the last Premier league match. Fernando Torres, on the other hand, has managed three goals in his last three appearances for the team, and has been showing signs of returning to form.
“It’s always an advantage (to have rested while Chelsea travelled). I don’t know how much. We’ve tried to manage our squad and we have players with some fresh legs. Hopefully we will be fine. We have too many games and we have to use the squad. Everyone has to be on their toes. Too many games in a season. I will not say international or what kind of games. Too many games, though. Reduce the number of games: simple. To see a game where you can win 8-0 at international level is not an amazing experience for anyone,” said Benitez.
The Nigerian midfielder John obi Mikel has come out in support of the manager Rafa Benitez by saying that the fans do not help the team by criticising the manager. The Chelsea fans have made it clear from the start that they did not welcome the appointment of the former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez due to the history between him and the club. Benitez criticised the Chelsea fans on a number of occasions when he was the Liverpool manager. As a result, there has been a lot of support for the former manager Roberto di Matteo, while also equal criticism for the current man.
Chelsea were just four points behind leaders Manchester United when Benitez arrived at the club, but they are now almost 20 points behind the Red Devils. The Spaniard was once again subjected to criticism during the FA Cup match against Manchester United during the weekend. Chelsea were losing 2-0 after just 11 min on the clock. Benitez brought on the defensive midfielder John obi Mikel in place of Lampard, while Hazard replaced the winger Victor Moses. It was a decision that was met with chorus of disapproval from the Chelsea fans, but it later turned out to be the reason behind Chelsea’s impressive comeback in the second half.
“Sometimes it doesn’t help when the fans are not happy. When you give the ball away there is pressure. This is our job. Fans come to watch the football and we have a responsibility to pay them back and make sure we play well. Every game we try to do that, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I have been here for seven years and they (the fans) are fantastic and have always supported us until the end,” said Mikel after the 2-2 draw with Manchester United that forced the tie into a replay.
Pressure on the Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez has increased substantially after the 2-2 draw with Reading on Wednesday night. Chelsea were looking extremely comfortable in the match after taking a two goal lead in the second half, but they had to come away with only a point from the match after conceding two goals in the final few minutes. Juan Mata gave Chelsea the lead in injury time of the first half, while the 10th of the season from the midfielder Frank Lampard doubled the advantage. It looked like Chelsea where taking all three points from the match and closing the gap on Manchester City.
However, Adam Le Fondre came off the bench to score his first goal in the 87th minute, which seemed to give Reading a glimmer of hope. They managed to then snatch an unlikely point in the 90th minute through a second goal from Le Fondre. Benitez said after the match that he is lost for words to explain the two dropped points for the team, which has decreased the chances of him being offered the job permanently. Benitez has said that the Chelsea players should have been more aware of the danger when Reading started playing long balls in the closing stages of the match.
“Everyone could see the game was under control for us until the last minute. It is difficult to explain. The last free-kick we made too many mistakes. We had chances to kill the game. It changed because they were playing long balls. We can say we have to be more clinical, and more aware of this situation with these mistakes defending set-pieces. They had their first shot after 78 minutes. It’s difficult how to explain how we drew this game,” said Benitez. Chelsea remain in the third position after this round of fixtures.
The Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez has said that he is extremely happy with the character of the performance shown by the team to come back from being a goal down to win against Everton during the weekend. This fixture has always been the toughest for the club in recent seasons, as they were without a win at Goodison Park since April 2008. Things looked like going for the worse once again after they conceded a goal just 63 seconds into the match through Steven Pienaar. Chelsea’s passing and chance creation were also extremely poor during the first 20 min of the match.
However, two goals from the midfielder Frank Lampard in either half helped Chelsea win the match 2-1. This also helped them stay 11 points behind United in the table. Any dropped points in this match would have meant goodbye to the title, which is the reason for this victory being extremely significant according to Benitez. Lampard once again proved his worth to the Chelsea team by scoring two goals. His first goal was a header just before half-time, while his second goal came in a crucial time when Everton were looking to regain their lead. The 34-year-old Frank Lampard is out of contract at the end of the season.
“We’re not disappointed because we played really well and we’ve run the European champions really close. but we didn’t quite have enough in the end. We had played well enough to get a second goal but had been unfortunate, having shots back off the woodwork. I thought we were a bit unlucky. We tried to make what we had work the best we could today and for long periods I thought we did,” said the Everton manager David Moyes. The win moves Chelsea back into the third position ahead of Tottenham.
The former Chelsea manager Avram Grant has said that the star striker Fernando Torres will be able to find his form, but he needs to sort his mental attitude first in order to do so. Fernando Torres has overseen the presence of the managers already during his short spell at Chelsea. The striker cost £ 50 million from Liverpool back in the January transfer window of 2010. However, he has been a major disappointment because he has failed to score any goal of noteworthy importance. Many regard him to be a shadow of the striker who was at Liverpool. However, the arrival of Rafa Benitez, who was his manager at Liverpool, could bring the best out of the striker.
Rafa Benitez has replaced the former manager Roberto di Matteo. The likes of Carlo Ancelotti, Andre Villas-Boas, and Roberto di Matteo have all failed in the task of getting the best out of Fernando Torres. The striker has scored just one goal in the last seven matches. Under the guidance of the Spaniard Rafa Benitez, Torres scored more than 50 goals in just 70 Premier league appearances. The former manager Avram Grant, who failed to get the best out of Shevchenko, has said that Torres can become fearsome once again, but his attitude needs to improve.
“It all depends on what Fernando [Torres] wants. He needs to start doing his job. He’s running everywhere except into the box, which is his strength. It’s not an easy time for him, but it happens to everybody. It happened to Didier Drogba and others. He’s still a great player and a great finisher but he needs to concentrate on his strengths. I don’t think that a player changes a lot in just a couple of years,” said the former Chelsea man, who led the club to the Champions League final in 2008.
The Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic has said that Chelsea’s match with Arsenal during the weekend is probably the biggest test they will face during the start of the season. Chelsea will be facing Arsenal, who are one of the top four teams in the Premier league, during the weekend. Roberto di Matteo’s men will be making the short trip to Emirates stadium to face Arsene Wenger’s men. Even though the likes of Manchester United and Manchester city have played against top teams like Liverpool and Arsenal, this will be the first big test for Chelsea. It is the opinion of the defender Branislav Ivanovic, who has played in every Premier league game so far.
The 28-year-old Serbian defender has become one of the best right backs at the club. He is also extremely versatile and is capable of playing in the centre of defence. Roberto di Matteo will be making a decision on the captain John Terry. Depending upon the outcome of the decision, there is a chance that Branislav Ivanovic will be playing in the centre of defence. So far, Chelsea have made a great start to the season, but have not faced any of the top teams. They are currently top of the table with a two-point advantage.
“We have the next game as a very great challenge for us in the Premier League – Arsenal away. This is the first actual big game for us this season. Our performances and quality – we know how it. But we have to show everyone, and we have to show it every game. This is the biggest challenge. I think Arsenal will be a great challenge for us, and we have to really be ready for that,” said the 28-year-old defender. Chelsea could go four points clear of Manchester United after this match.
The current European champions Chelsea will be facing the likes of Shakhtar Donetsk, Juventus and the newcomers Nordsjaelland in the group stages of the Champions League this season. The draw for the group stages was recently conducted in Monaco and Chelsea have not been handed the best of groups this time around. Due to the fact that they will be facing the likes of the Italian champions and the Ukrainian team Shakhtar Donetsk, the Chelsea manager Roberto di Matteo has said that it certainly not going to be easy way into the last 16 of the Champions League.
The Chelsea manager Roberto di Matteo managed to get the team to the final of the competition last season, while also Chelsea became the surprise winners following the 4-3 penalties victory over Bayern Munich. In doing so, Roberto di Matteo brought the only trophy that has been missing from the trophy cabinet. The manager has said that it is going to be extremely difficult to win the Champions League for the second consecutive season because no team has managed, but they will try nonetheless. He has said that matches against Juventus and Shakhtar Donetsk will be the ones to watch in this group stage.
“It’s not an easy group, it’s going to be tough. Juventus I know very well, champions of Italy. They play some high tempo football, some good football, and have some good players. Shakhtar because of the connection with our club doctor Paco Biosca, who spent seven years there, we know a lot as well. Nordsjaelland are probably the weakest team in the group, but I think we will have to be at our best from the first game with juventus at home,” said the Chelsea manager Roberto di Matteo, who is preparing for the UEFA Super cup match against Athletico Madrid.
Chelsea manager Roberto di Matteo has said that it will take some time before the new £ 32 million acquisition for the club Eden Hazard will be able to deliver his full potential. The 21 year old Belgian international joined the club in the summe, even though he was hotly rumoured to be heading to Manchester (according to the <a href=”http://www.ilovemancity.com”>Man City news</a> website).
He is expected to the attacking football to the club due to his style of play, which was something that was lacking from the team in the last few seasons. After the departure of the players like Arjen Robben, Chelsea have really lacked the player like Eden Hazard, who can trouble and get past players.
However, the 21-year-old has been disappointing in the last few pre-season friendly matches for Chelsea after opening his account in style in the first pre-season match against Seattle Sounders. The Chelsea manager Roberto di Matteo has said that the fans should not expect a lot from Hazard in the first few matches of the season because it will take a little time to gel with the rest of the team. Roberto di Matteo has also said that he is still finding the best position for the £ 32 million signing, who is reportedly on £ 150,000 per week wages.
“Of course we are looking for Eden to be incisive – but we have to be patient. He is a young man, he has come from a different league in France and we need to give him time to adapt. There will not be radical changes. We will try to make some changes. With the integration of these new players, inevitably we will change how we play a bit,” said Robert had a Matteo after the 3-1 defeat at the hands of Brighton on Saturday. This was the third consecutive defeat of the pre-season friendly matches for the club, which is very worrying indeed.
Internacional midfielder Oscar has revealed that he will be making a decision on his future only after the conclusion of the London Olympics 2012. It has been reported in the last few days that Chelsea have agreed a £ 25 million bid for the playmaker, who is regarded as the next big thing to come out of Brazil. The playmaker is currently in the UK as part of the London Olympics team from Brazil. It was also exclusively revealed by skysports that he was taking a medical at Chelsea with a view towards completing his much anticipated move to the Premier league club.
However, the 20-year-old has confirmed that he has not signed any deal with the club, but has undergone a medical. He has also said that he will be making a decision now his future only after the completion of the London Olympics 2012, as it is his only focus right now. Despite being only 20 years of age, Oscar is known to produce excellent and matured performances for the national team. The deal to bring him to Stamford Bridge is one of the biggest in recent history according to the club’s president. The club are also linked with a number of other Brazilian players like Neymar, Lucas, and Hulk.
“I only had a meeting with the doctor, nothing else. I didn’t sign any contract yet and I will wait until the end of the Olympic games to decide my future. All Brazilian players have this dream. I have, like everybody, the dream to play in Europe and the Premier League. It’s like a dream for me, participating in the Olympics, it’s so important for my career and I hope to win the gold medal here,” said Oscar after the initial 2-0 win over the Team GB at Middlesbrough’s Riverside stadium.