Roman return prompted by search for Rafa’s replacement
Contrary to Rafa Benítez’s claims that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is pleased with his performance, the Life’s a Pitch team believe that the reason the Russian has returned early from his winter break in the Caribbean is to begin the search for a new manager for next season.
“It’s the start of the process to find the successor for the manager,” says the Mirror’s Martin Lipton. “We were told that nothing would be done until the owner came back: the owner is now back. Clearly, it appears that the Benítez experiment is deemed to have not been successful enough for it to be extended. The Swansea [League Cup] defeat and the QPR defeat have crystallised that view.”
While a large proportion of Chelsea fans will be pleased to hear that the unpopular Spaniard is on his way out, all Blues supporters will be happy at Ashley Cole’s decision to extend his contract at the club. The People’s Tom Hopkinson believes it is a good deal all round. “It did come as a surprise that a deal had been done. But if you think of the bigger picture, I think it’s actually a good piece of business by Chelsea. I don’t think Ashley Cole has had as good a season as he has done in recent years, but he’s still been a very solid performer for them when perhaps consistency has lacked [throughout the team].”
And while Cole has justified his large salary, many would argue – Tom’s colleague at the People, Janine Self, included – that Fernando Torres has not. “I was slightly surprised to see Torres start the other day [against Arsenal] after Demba Ba has made such a good start to his Chelsea career,” she says. “Torres: how many chances is he going to get? I have no idea why on earth he keeps getting them.”
The panel also preview Chelsea’s crucial Capital One Cup semi-final second leg at the Liberty Stadium, where they will attempt to come back from a 2-0 first-leg deficit.
Watch the full video discussion by clicking on the play button in the image above.
Follow Life’s a Pitch on Twitter @BTLifesaPitch
Watch Chelsea live on BT Vision:
Swansea v Chelsea (agg 2-0), 7pm, 23 January, Sky Sports 1 (Capital One Cup semi-final, second leg)
Brentford v Chelsea, 11am, 27 January, ESPN (FA Cup fourth round)
Don’t have BT Vision? Find out how to get it