Across Di Matteo’s 21 games in charge in the 2012-13 season he encountered 6 defeats to Juventus, West Brom, Shakhtar Donetsk, Manchester United, Athletico Madrid and Manchester City in the community shield, all (but West Brom respectively) top European footballing sides.
Aside from this, he won 11 games including away wins at Arsenal, Tottenham, a vital win against Shakhtar Donestk, and wins against Reading, Newcastle (games which Rafa Benitez collected 1 point from) and the Capital one cup victory against Manchester United. 4 draws occurred in his 21 games from games against Swansea away, Juventus, QPR at loftus road and against Liverpool.
Rafa Benitez has thus far taken control of 23 games, equalling the 6 games lost under Di Matteo, coming against Manchester City, QPR at home, West Ham, Swansea at home in the capital one cup semi final, Corinthians in the final of the club world cup, and Newcastle despite the fact we were leading.
As you can clearly see, aside from the Man City loss, clearly these are sides we should be beating without a doubt, compared to the European class we lost against under the stewardship of Di Matteo. Also 7 draws coming against, Brentford, Swansea (Semi final second leg), Southampton (at home where we were leading 2-0) Reading (despite the fact again we were leading 2-0) Manchester City at home and Fulham at home. Rafa Benitez also has a win percentage of 50% compared to Di Matteo’s 52.3%.
The question I pose is why we were so quick and rash to get rid of Di Matteo after 6 losses, where were a team in transition, lacked striker’s, played the free flowing Barcelona-esque attacking football, playing with footballing swagger admired by many at the start of the season with short eccentric passes, pressing high up the pitch, closing men down early, scoring 52 goals in 21 games. Yes we were vulnerable at the back, but of course the eccentricity of our attacking would have to come to a price, a system that we were still new to, a system that could be adapted with time, training and most importantly backing from the board.
Under Rafa Benitez we have looked brilliant on some occasions, and terrible on most others. That’s what we lack great consistency, when we are losing we lack any sort of drive, and seem to roll over easily, none of the character shown under Di Matteo when coming back from many losing positions, least to name our amazing champions league run last season. When winning we seem to lack any conviction when it comes to chances, and leads us to rueing the missed chances and thus drawing.
The tactical decisions Rafa Benitez makes bemuses many Chelsea fans, and when most of them do not come off, does anyone really expect us fans to not voice our displeasure at the appointment of him, and how it was a mistake to bring him to our football club and we are going backwards in terms of football.
On the pitch we seem to be shipping in long balls too much of the time to either Torres, Oscar, Hazard or Mata neither of them are particularly aerially able. In losing positions, there seems to be a lack of emotion, eagerness to drive forward and get a vital goal.
Bottom line is the only reason Rafa Benitez has not been sacked is because three managers in one season would be seen as ludicrous by many involved in football management damaging our club further. So until the end of May we are stuck with Benitez, we have to hope we secure a top 4 position and move on from there and get back to the top footballing side we know we can be.