JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Benitez feeling the blues

Date

Jeremy Wilson

Quandary … Chelsea's manager Rafa Benitez reacts during the semi-final against Swansea.

Quandary … Chelsea's manager Rafa Benitez reacts during the semi-final against Swansea. Photo: Reuters

SINCE Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea almost a decade ago, his club have finished the season without a trophy only three times. The first was in 2003-4 under Claudio Ranieri. He was sacked 16 days later. Avram Grant was manager the second time, in 2007-8. He was sacked three days later. Carlo Ancelotti also failed to win a trophy in 2010-11. And he was sacked in record time, within two hours of the season ending.

Behind the furore surrounding Eden Hazard and a 17-year-old Swansea ballboy, the significance of Chelsea blowing their best chance of finishing this campaign with a trophy should not be overlooked. Including the Community Shield and the European Super Cup, Chelsea have conceded their chance in five competitions in five months.

In November, when Rafael Benitez replaced Roberto Di Matteo, the new manager was still able to talk of five remaining ''big opportunities'' for silverware. He cannot be blamed for the Champions League exit but he was presented, on a plate prepared by Di Matteo, with outstanding chances in both the Club World Cup and the Capital One Cup. Failure will have not gone unnoticed by Abramovich.

With an 11-point gap to Manchester United in the Premier League and the Europa League representing little more than a consolation prize, Sunday's FA Cup tie at Brentford suddenly takes on huge significance. It also presents Benitez with a considerable quandary.

Having gone all out with what was surely his best team against Swansea, including Demba Ba rather than Fernando Torres as the main striker, does he now risk major changes at Brentford?

The expectation is that John Terry, Ryan Bertrand and Marko Marin may return at the expense of Branislav Ivanovic, Ashley Cole and the suspended Hazard.

It has been a puzzling two months for Benitez, with the highs of an 8-0 demolition of Aston Villa and wins over Arsenal and Everton tempered by too many indifferent performances. For Chelsea, the most alarming aspect of losing to Swansea was the failure of an attacking unit worth well in excess of £100 million ($151. million) to score in 180 minutes.

Ba did not take his chance when he was picked ahead of Torres while Juan Mata, Oscar and Hazard - produced performances that had far more in common with how they had finished - rather than started - Sunday's 2-1 win against Arsenal.

''We are inconsistent,'' Gary Cahill acknowledged. ''We know that when we played Villa we smashed them 8-0 and then we go and have sticky results here and there. Potentially it is fantastic. We have players who can hurt teams and if we can get that consistency we will be a real threat.''

Petr Cech, a model of reliability, identified three distinct phases in another rollercoaster season. ''We had a good start to the season but then there was the Super Cup where we didn't turn up, which was a huge surprise, and then everything was going downhill,'' he said.

Recent experience still suggests that Chelsea are well capable of finishing strongly, especially if the core of Terry, Lampard, Cole and Cech do again find their rhythm amid the uncertainty that surrounds yet another manager. ''We are still in the FA Cup, the Premier League and the Europa League,'' Cech said. ''Nothing is finished yet. These are trophies that we can still win.''

There is also no sense that Benitez's job is in peril and the Chelsea hierarchy have been impressed at some of the organisation he has brought to the team.

However, past history suggests that Chelsea must finish the season with something tangible to show for another year of turbulence.

Telegraph, London

Hyundai A - 2014-15 - All Rounds

Round 1
Fri, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
VIC 4 vs WST 1 Report Stats
Sat, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
CCM 1 vs NEW Report Stats
SYD 1 vs MEC 1 Report Stats
Sun, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
WEL 1 vs PER 2 Report Stats
BRI 1 vs ADE 2 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 17 OctTimes shown AEDT
ADE 1 vs VIC 1 Report Stats
Sat, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
CCM 1 vs WEL 2 Report Stats
SYD 3 vs WST 2 Report Stats
Sun, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
MEC 1 vs NEW 1 Report Stats
PER 3 vs BRI 2 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 24 OctTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs SYD 2 Report Stats
Sat, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
VIC 5 vs MEC 2 Report Stats
Sun, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WEL 4 vs NEW 1 Report Stats
ADE 2 vs PER Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
MEC 1 vs ADE 2 Report Stats
Sat, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
PER 2 vs NEW 1 Report Stats
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
SYD 2 vs CCM Report Stats
Mon, 03 NovTimes shown AEDT
VIC 2 vs WEL Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 07 NovTimes shown AEDT
WEL 1 vs WST Report Stats
ADE vs SYD Stats
Sat, 08 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEW 2 vs VIC 2 Report Stats
BRI 1 vs MEC 3 Report Stats
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs PER 1 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 14 NovTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs BRI 4 Report Stats
Sat, 15 NovTimes shown AEDT
ADE 2 vs WEL 1 Report Stats
SYD vs VIC Report Stats
PER 2 vs WST 1 Report Stats
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
MEC 2 vs CCM 2 Report Stats
Wed, 19 NovTimes shown AEDT
WST vs CCM Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 21 NovTimes shown AEDT
VIC 1 vs BRI Report Stats
Sat, 22 NovTimes shown AEDT
WST 1 vs NEW 1 Report Stats
MEC 1 vs SYD 2 Report Stats
PER 2 vs WEL 1 Report Stats
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs ADE 2 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 28 NovTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs ADE 19:00AAMI
Sat, 29 NovTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs PER 17:00SS
WST vs SYD 19:30Pirtek Stadium
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs MEC 16:00WS
NEW vs CCM 17:00HUN
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Wed, 03 DecTimes shown AEDT
WST vs BRI 19:30Pirtek Stadium
BRI vs NEW 20:00SS
Tue, 09 DecTimes shown AEDT
WST vs PER 19:30TBC
Thu, 08 JanTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs SYD 17:30WS
Mon, 02 FebTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs CCM 19:30AAMI
Wed, 25 MarTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs MEC 19:30Coopers Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Thu, 04 DecTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs PER 19:30AS
Fri, 05 DecTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs VIC 19:30TBC
Sat, 06 DecTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs WEL 17:00HUN
ADE vs WST 20:00Coopers Stadium
Sun, 07 DecTimes shown AEDT
MEC vs BRI 17:00AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 12 DecTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs BRI 19:30Coopers Stadium
PER vs NEW 21:45NIB
Sat, 13 DecTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs CCM 16:00EP
WST vs MEC 17:00Pirtek Stadium
VIC vs SYD 19:30ES
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 19 DecTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs WST 20:00SS
Sat, 20 DecTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs ADE 17:00HUN
MEC vs VIC 19:30AAMI
PER vs CCM 21:45NIB
Sun, 21 DecTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs WEL 17:00AS
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Fri, 26 DecTimes shown AEDT
MEC vs PER 17:30AAMI
SYD vs ADE 19:30AS
Sat, 27 DecTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs BRI 17:00Central Coast Stadium
VIC vs NEW 19:30AAMI
Sun, 28 DecTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs WST 17:00WS
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Tue, 30 DecTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs MEC 17:00HUN
BRI vs SYD 20:00SS
Wed, 31 DecTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs WEL 19:30Coopers Stadium
Thu, 01 JanTimes shown AEDT
WST vs CCM 19:30Pirtek Stadium
Fri, 02 JanTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs PER 19:30Simonds Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Sat, 03 JanTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs NEW 19:30WIN Stadium
Sun, 04 JanTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs BRI 15:00WS
CCM vs MEC 17:00Central Coast Stadium
Mon, 05 JanTimes shown AEDT
PER vs ADE 23:00NIB
Tue, 06 JanTimes shown AEDT
WST vs VIC 19:30Pirtek Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Sat, 24 JanTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs NEW 17:00Coopers Stadium
CCM vs SYD 19:30Central Coast Stadium
Sun, 25 JanTimes shown AEDT
PER vs VIC 20:00NIB
Sun, 01 FebTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs WEL 15:00SS
MEC vs WST 17:00AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 06 FebTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs BRI 19:30HUN
Sat, 07 FebTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs ADE 17:00Central Coast Stadium
VIC vs MEC 19:30ES
PER vs SYD 21:45NIB
Sun, 08 FebTimes shown AEDT
WST vs WEL 17:00Pirtek Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs BRI 19:30Central Coast Stadium
Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs MEC 16:00Brendan Foot Kia Hutt Recreation Ground
NEW vs WST 17:00HUN
SYD vs VIC 19:30AS
Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs PER 17:00Coopers Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs VIC 20:00SS
Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs CCM 17:00AS
ADE vs WST 20:00Coopers Stadium
Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs NEW 16:00Brendan Foot Kia Hutt Recreation Ground
MEC vs PER 17:00AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
MEC vs ADE 19:30AAMI
Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs CCM 17:00HUN
WST vs SYD 19:30Pirtek Stadium
PER vs BRI 21:45NIB
Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs WEL 17:00AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW vs SYD 19:30HUN
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs ADE 18:00Brendan Foot Kia Hutt Recreation Ground
VIC vs PER 19:30AAMI
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs MEC 15:00Central Coast Stadium
BRI vs WST 17:00SS
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Thu, 12 MarTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs CCM 19:30Coopers Stadium
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
WST vs VIC 19:30Pirtek Stadium
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs BRI 19:30AS
PER vs WEL 21:45NIB
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
MEC vs NEW 17:00AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs MEC 19:30AS
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
WST vs NEW 17:00Pirtek Stadium
ADE vs VIC 20:00Coopers Stadium
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
CCM vs PER 15:00Central Coast Stadium
BRI vs WEL 17:00SS
View All Fixtures
Round 24
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
VIC vs CCM 19:30AAMI
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
MEC vs BRI 19:30AAMI
PER vs WST 21:45NIB
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
WEL vs SYD 15:00WS
NEW vs ADE 17:00HUN
View All Fixtures
Round 25
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
BRI vs CCM 21:00SS
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
WST vs MEC 16:00Pirtek Stadium
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
SYD vs ADE 19:30AS
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
WEL vs VIC 16:00WS
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
NEW vs PER 16:00HUN
View All Fixtures
Round 26
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
VIC vs NEW 19:30AAMI
PER vs SYD 21:45NIB
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
ADE vs BRI 17:00Coopers Stadium
CCM vs WST 19:30Central Coast Stadium
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
MEC vs WEL 17:00AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 27
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
WEL vs CCM 17:30WS
NEW vs SYD 19:45HUN
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
WST vs ADE 17:00Pirtek Stadium
BRI vs VIC 19:30SS
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
PER vs MEC 17:00NIB
View All Fixtures
Hyundai A - 2014-15 - Ladder
Overall standings
Team P W D L +/- Pts
Perth Glory FC 7 6 0 1 4 18
Adelaide United FC 7 5 2 0 7 17
Melbourne Victory FC 7 4 3 0 9 15
Sydney FC 7 4 3 0 6 15
Wellington Phoenix FC 7 3 0 4 0 9
Melbourne City FC 7 1 3 3 -3 6
Central Coast Mariners FC 7 1 2 4 -5 5
Brisbane Roar FC 6 1 0 5 -3 3
View all
 
Featured advertisers