Ball Harambee by Bagga Wilks
Raphael Benitez has no chance of being appointed anything but Chelsea’s
interim manager. Nonetheless, if the Chelsea team continues to click, then Rafael
will be able to end the season in a bit of glory. He would have silenced the
hooligans who have been harassing him shamelessly since the billionaire owner
appointed him to replace Di Matteo.
Under Benitez’s tutelage Chelsea played initially unimpressively. No one
questioned the abundance of talent but there was no chemistry or leadership and
Chelsea lost games that under different circumstances, they should have won.
With eight matches to play and other cup games, Chelsea is in fine form
and even the most critical Chelsea fans are now gratified by the team’s recent
success. One of the issues that plagued Chelsea at the beginning of the season
was who should play where and what should be the starting eleven. Chelsea was
and is a strange blend of the old and the new and for the first half of the season,
the chemistry remained elusive.
Benitez seemed to have gotten it together and has settled on a starting
eleven. The experiment of playing David Luiz in mid-field has been abandoned
and he and Cahill have become the two starting central defenders. John Terry,
the former England skipper, has been relegated to the bench.
There has been much indecision regarding Frank Lampard. The aging
Lampard has returned to being a main stay in mid-field and as is typical
throughout his illustrious career, Lampard keeps popping up in the right places.
This weekend against West Ham, he scored his 200th goal in the EPL.
The team now starts without a defensive mid-fielder and Ramirez is the box
to box mid-fielder. Mikel is brought in during the closing minutes of the game to
seal the victory.
Chelsea’s offensive players have begun to play like a symphony. Ba has
replaced Torres as the sole striker and behind him is a trio that may be the most
creative in English football. Hazard, Mata and Oscar constitute an ever present
danger to full backs and central defenders. Against West Ham this weekend,
Hazard and Mata were spectacular. They break down defenses with ease and
grace. And all three kick with uncanny accuracy.
Unfortunately, Rafael will not be around next season to enjoy the three
ring circus but based on the job he has done at Chelsea, he will have no difficulty
obtaining work at a top tier club and wherever he turns up in his post-Chelsea
career, the new fans will appreciate his knowledge of the game.