Friday, May 17, 2013

"Interim" Chelsea

Chelsea has been up and down over the last few years. In 2011 Carlo Ancelotti was fired as the club "only" made it to second place in the Premier League (the previous year he had led them to their first "Double"). For the start of the 2011-12 season Andre Villas-Boas became manager, and under him team performance dipped with a string of defeats. Villas-Boas was fired in March 2012, and was replaced by "interim" coach Roberto Di Matteo, who in the subsequent months pulled the side up to win the FA Cup and the Champions League in May 2012. One could have been led to think that this would be enough to keep him in the club, but Chelsea's elimination in the first round of the 2012-13 Champions League season (as the first defending champions ever) led Di Matteo to lose his job in November 2012, and a new "interim" manager took over: Rafa Benitez.
And Rafa Benitez stayed as "interim" in spite of continued controversies and criticism, and eventually he announced that he would be leaving at the end of the season in spite of securing a CL spot in the Premier League. In the meantime the team progressed in the Europa League and last night Rafa Benitez led Chelsea to the Europa League title when defeating Benfica 2-1 in Amsterdam. It wasn't pretty: only Benfica inefficiency and an excellent late header by Branislav Ivanovic gave them a victory that must surely have felt somewhat bittersweet for Benitez, who will nevertheless probably not have to look much around for a more steady job.
And Chelsea? Rumors abound about a certain Portuguese gentleman returning to Chelsea. He will probably not have the title "interim", although that may always be the case in Chelsea anyway.

No comments: