Stamford Bridge

Next Game

Chelsea v Fiorentina

Wednesday, 05 August 2015, 20:00

Int Champs Cup North America

Wembley

Last Game

Arsenal 1 - 0 Chelsea

Sunday, 02 August 2015, 15:00

FA Community Shield

Hope for Rafa?

Can Rafa Benitez take heart from the manner in which Sam Allardyce has turned things around at West Ham?

Last Updated: 30/11/12 at 14:24

Rafa Benitez and Sam Allardyce come up against each other at Upton Park on Satur

Rafa Benitez and Sam Allardyce come up against each other at Upton Park on Satur

It was another strange evening at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. A second goalless draw in four days did little to help the mood at Chelsea or indeed the prospects of Rafael Benitez hanging around beyond the summer. The Spaniard at least put on a brave face. Meanwhile, Roman Abramovich looked impassive when the crowd barked the name of Roberto Di Matteo in a spirit of defiance. One wonders if those same fans will be quietly hoping he remains similarly impassive rather than act on their subsequent chants of 'We want our Chelsea back'.

Benitez could be forgiven for wanting to see a friendly face. And he may find an unlikely ally in the form of Saturday's opponent in the West Ham dugout. Sam Allardyce might afford himself a little chuckle when considering Benitez's predicament. "We're West Ham United, we play on the floor," sang the Hammers fans earlier this year as the club's promotion push looked to be faltering under Big Sam and his pragmatic approach.

Redemption followed in the playoff final against Blackpool and Allardyce has succeeded in turning opinions around. Not loved by the West Ham faithful but acknowledged by the custodians at the Academy of Football as the best man for the job, victory over Chelsea at Upton Park at the weekend would take the newly-promoted outfit up to seventh in the Premier League table.

Allardyce has always been bullish when questioned. Asked about the famed West Ham passing game, he responded in March, "When did they play like that? I don't remember it. Is outpassing teams and losing matches entertaining? We have created a winning environment at this club for the first time in donkey's years."

Fuss

With Allardyce taking on the supporters while in post, Benitez must wonder what all the fuss is about for some comments about plastic flags over seven years ago that were uttered for the benefit of his doting Liverpool audience. If the former Bolton and Blackburn boss feels able to boast he has "improved every club" he has worked for, surely the ex-Liverpool and Valencia has every right to feel confident he is worthy of his position.

Indeed, Benitez appears in danger of having his life's work rewritten with back-to-back goalless draws seen as the damning evidence that proves the point. But while defensive and tactical organisation is a prerequisite for the 52-year-old, the simplification ignores the fact that Liverpool were the Premier League top scorers in 2008-09. Valencia were arguably the best team in Europe during Benitez's 2003-2004 season at the club.

It isn't often that Benitez will look to Allardyce for inspiration. But on Saturday lunchtime when the teams do battle in a London derby in front of the Sky Sports cameras, perhaps the Chelsea boss can take some comfort in the fact that his West Ham counterpart is the living proof of the theory he espoused in his opening press conference as the Blues boss. "I'm sure they (the fans) will be happy with a manager with a winning mentality and who wants to win games," he explained. "In the end I hope they will be pleased."

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

A

ll very well selling all midfield and strikers but unless we bring anyone in that is better than what we had then it will be a terrible transfer window in my view. Sorted out the defense but our midfield and striker options look very light.

bigo
Spurs Halfway To The Perfect Summer

L

ove it when Jose accuses others of being defensive, cynical and playing to win. If I was Wenger, I'd get that quote laminated and framed - surely the biggest compliment he's ever received from Mourinho. You've got him riled Arsene - you're relevant again!

suarez_blind
Jose rues pitch and weather after defeat

I

t's wrong to be making a joke out of Bender's name at the expense of gay people. It's the kind of childish, uncivilised thing that Football365 would deride and ridicule if it was another media outlet saying. Why is there a need for jokes like this? Does it make your writers feel like men? F365 might suggest that I 'lighten up', but it is genuinely traumatic for people who have been oppressed all their lives to be the butt of jokes, and to be told...

anamsport
The Beeriod Gossip

Footer 365

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has 'difficult questions'

Arsenal centre-half Per Mertesacker says manager Arsene Wenger has a lot of "difficult questions" to answer.

Di Maria joining bigger club - Thiago Silva

Thiago Silva believes Angel Di Maria is joining a club in Paris Saint-Germain that are bigger than any apart from Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Wenger: 'Nothing happening' with Benzema

Arsene Wenger has dismissed speculation linking Arsenal with Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema.

Mail Box

Not Just A Friendly. This Had Meaning...

Arsenal fans are very excited about beating Chelsea (don't remind them about last year), while there is criticism for BT and a football fan tired of being screwed by TV...

Neville Has It Wrong On Chelsea...

One Mailboxer says that the Neviller has it slightly wrong on Chelsea. Plus thoughts on sexy Saints, pre-season reviews, Connor Wickham and televised analysis...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company