Rafa Benitez still searching for first win after Fulham hold Chelsea to goalless draw
Last Updated: 29/11/12 9:51am
Rafa Benitez is still looking for his first win - and goal - as Chelsea manager after the Blues were held to a 0-0 draw by Fulham.
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.
Best of the match
- Man of the match: Dimitar Berbatov totally outshone his rival Fernando Torres, providing a great outlet throughout for Fulham's counter-attacks. His control and ability to bring his colleagues into play was central to Fulham's gameplan
- Save of the match: Petr Cech was out quickly to deny John Arne Riise as he bore down on the Chelsea goal.
- Chance of the match: Torres looked like he could win it for the home side when he volleyed across goal but Aaron Hughes did well to get back and clear his effort.
- Talking point: Rafa Benitez left Juan Mata on the bench until the 63rd minute. He visibly lifted his team-mates when he belatedly appeared but why didn't he start?
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.
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|3||Shots on Target||4|
|4||Shots off Target||2|
|59.7||1st Half Poss.||40.3|
|58.2||2nd Half Poss.||41.8|
Barclays Premier League
|9||West Ham United||30||42|
|14||West Bromwich Albion||30||33|
|19||Queens Park Rangers||30||22|