Benitez’s Blues draw a blank

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 1:30

Benitez's Blues draw a blank

The home side struggled to create many meaningful openings against a resolute Fulham side on a frustrating night for Chelsea – and misfiring striker Fernando Torres in particular.

The Spaniard looked like he may have won it for the home side on 80 minutes but his volley across the area was cleared off the line by Aaron Hughes.
It was another of those evenings for Torres who showed plenty of endeavour but the ball just would not break favourably for the former Liverpool man – or any of his team-mates for that matter.
The home crowd greeted Benitez’s arrival on the bench with polite indifference rather than the volley of abuse which marked his first game in charge on Sunday. They still remembered sacked manager Roberto di Matteo though, chanting his name on 16 minutes – his shirt number from his playing days at The Bridge.
And as Chelsea brought on Juan Mata – surprisingly left on the bench until the 63rd minute – and battled for the breakthrough to take all three points, the Stamford Bridge crowd again chanted the name of their former boss as the frustration grew.
Fulham hardly peppered Petr Cech’s goal either, managing one first half Hugo Rodallega effort on target which was easily gathered by the stand-in Chelsea skipper.
The visitors did create one golden opportunity for John Arne Riise on 56 minutes but he failed to take full advantage of a fabulous ball from Giorgos Karagounis. The ball sat up nicely for the former Liverpool star’s favoured left foot but he failed to find the contact needed to beat Cech.

Chelsea pressed late on as Mata pepped up their attack but Fulham defended resolutely to claim a point certain to delight manager Martin Jol.
As on Sunday against Manchester City, the Blues could have easily lost against a Fulham side who had the better of the chances and a striker in Dimitar Berbatov who completely outshone opposite number Torres.
And by the end of a disappointing evening for Chelsea fans, they were back to chanting, “You’re not welcome here”, at Benitez and even, “We want our Chelsea back”, in front of the watching owner Roman Abramovich, who looked as bored as anyone by the Stamford Bridge stalemate.

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