Benitez baptism

As part of our Premier League snapshots, Peter Fraser looks back on Rafa Benitez's first game as interim Chelsea manager in the 0-0 draw with Manchester City

Last Updated: 26/11/12 5:19am

  • Share:
Chelsea fans let their feelings be known about Rafa Benitez at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea fans let their feelings be known about Rafa Benitez at Stamford Bridge

Sky Bet

Rafa Benitez could not inspire Chelsea to victory over Manchester City in his first game in charge and was the subject of protests from some fans in a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge.

The Spaniard has succeeded the sacked Roberto Di Matteo on an interim basis and his former connection with Liverpool has made him unpopular in London.

Sections of the Chelsea support held up banners against Benitez and they also stood and applauded in the 16th minute, which was Di Matteo's shirt number in his playing days, before the game ended in a forgettable 0-0 draw. Here, we look at the talking points from the fixture.


Benitez recalled Fernando Torres for his first game in charge of Chelsea. The striker returned after being axed from Di Matteo's final line-up at Juventus on Tuesday. Gary Cahill had been suffering with illness and Branislav Ivanovic was preferred as a centre-back.

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany proved his fitness in the pre-match warm-up to start, with Gareth Barry and James Milner recalled in place of Samir Nasri and Maicon.


Chelsea played a 4-2-3-1 formation with Oscar, Eden Hazard and Juan Mata sitting in support of Torres. But Torres was isolated. Benitez improved Chelsea's defending as they kept their first clean sheet in 11 games and John Obi Mikel and Ramires were key in blocking David Silva.

Manchester City opted for a 4-4-2 formation but, with Silva screened by Mikel and Ramires, they struggled to get the necessary service to Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko. Matija Nastasic was at centre-back and looked comfortable next to Kompany.


As is his normal procedure, Benitez waited until the hour mark had passed before making any changes. Both substitutions were like-for-like, with Victor Moses coming on for Hazard in the 71st minute and Oriol Romeu replacing Mikel on 79 minutes.

Manchester City's changes were designed to try and find a goal. Mancini sent on Carlos Tevez, who had scored six times in his previous six meetings with Chelsea, in place of the ineffective Dzeko. Sergio Aguero coming off for Mario Balotelli was a final roll of the dice in the 86th minute.


Chris Foy showed all of his experience in taking his time over any decisions. He allowed Pablo Zabaleta one foul before then booking the Argentine for a second offence. Aleksandar Kolarov was also cautioned. But Foy was perhaps a little harsh on Balotelli when booking the Italian for his ludicrous collision with David Luiz in the closing minutes.

Looking ahead

The boos which targeted Benitez were not productive and resulted in an overall negative atmosphere at Stamford Bridge. This will not help Chelsea in the long-term and it remains to be seen if he can win over the fans.

City have now gone six games unbeaten in all competitions. Although they have drawn three of those matches, Mancini's men are regaining some of their form of old. But Yaya Toure continues to look a player struggling for confidence.

  • Share: