Date: 9th May 2013 at 12:48pm
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Eden+Hazard+Chelsea+v+Tottenham+Hotspur+-GtgBEy9ULKxRafael Benitez’s substitutions during the 2-2 draw against Andre Villas’ Tottenham received a lot of criticism from the club’s fans as they feel as though is was a missed opportunity to secure a top four place.

The interim Chelsea manager offered an explanation to the changes he made late in the second half as Eden Hazard was replaced with Victor Moses whilst the decision to take off the excellent Oscar for Yossi Benayoun was met with a chorus of boos.

Benitez said:

“I needed to make substitutions in the wide areas because we were a little tired in those positions and Spurs are fast there.”

(West London Sport)

I can understand the reason for taking Hazard off as he’s been suffering with a slight calf injury and limped off after being kicked about by Tottenham’s defenders. It was the right thing to do as risking his fitness with three matches remaining – including a Europa League final – wouldn’t be the wisest of moves. Granted Moses was poor as he traded turns with Ashley Cole in giving the ball away on the left-hand side.

But it was Benitez’s decision to bring on Benayoun – Arsenal’s badge-kisser and cheerleader of last season – during the closing stages instead of Stamford Bridge legend Frank Lampard.

This was more of a must-not-lose than a must win for Chelsea and I can understand his logic as he wanted mobile players to help bolster the wide areas and Frank can be as guilty as David Luiz for ball watching when it comes to the defensive duties in the middle of the park, but it was the wrong choice of player and an error on the manager’s part.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing but to me it looked as though we were struggling to hold onto, especially in central midfield, so it’s a pity that John Obi Mikel wasn’t around to provide a bit of composure in the central areas. Perhaps Nathan Ake could have been used to shore up that area in his absence, but why leave Demba Ba on the bench?

If you can’t hold onto the ball then you would normally resort to kicking it long and if you’re going to do that then you may as well bring on your best forward in terms of aerial abilities.

It was unfortunate for us that Emmanuel Adebayor decided to have his one decent game of the season against us and it isn’t the manager’s fault that their equaliser came after the Togolese player should have been flagged for offside but luckily Gareth Bale was deeply snuggled into Cesar Azpilicueta’s pocket preventing the Spurs talisman from capitalising on a tiring Chelsea defence.

Benitez made the wrong calls in terms of changes from the bench and although his opposite number made effective ones, it isn’t likely to be enough for Spurs as they are relying on either us or Arsenal to capitulate over the next two games. If we were offered four points ahead of the matches against Manchester United and Tottenham then we’d have most likely have taken it. One more win against Aston Villa or Everton and we’re home and dry, whilst the north London clubs could drop points yet anyway.

Source: West London Sport


9 responses to “Benitez explains last night’s substitutions”

  1. George okeke .C says:

    That is the problem with Benitez . He managed that match as if he has collected bribe to let Tottenham win. Tottenham would easly have won that game as a result of Benitez contribution. Moses for Hazard at that time when we are 2• 1 up and Benayoun for Osca while Lampard and even Ake with Ba were fit on the bench is simply terrible. It huts a lot.

  2. Emmanuel says:

    Truly the there’s no reason to over flog Mr Benitez’s mistakes, given that we have come to the end of his era. Otherwise, it was a clear case of ineptitude. It’s a common knowledge that every team plays to win. A combined efforts of the manager and players make them happen. When a team is scoring, it tries to score more but if it becomes difficult, it protects what it had in order to win. We don’t see Mr Benitez do it all the time. With 2:1 lead and few minutes remaining and opponents were mounting pressure with the fresh legs, we required Mr Benitez to react by removing the forwarders and introduce defenders to checkmate the opponents. We, the fans see errors and omissions in these matches which are not by any means expected to happen under the watchful of the manager.

  3. Joshua T.M says:

    D fact is benitez rely f*** up wt d match,,,, yea, we understant d reason 4 replacin edin harzard 4 victor moses cos of d injury. Bt y nt bringin ba 4 torres n lampard 4 oscar…. Dat shud b d bst tin benitez cud hv done,, dis d same mistake benitez made against liverpool,, bringin in benayon 4 hazard… @ times I wonder wht he tinks b4 makin a substitution….. Let jst pray he put d beta squad in d game against aston-villa…

  4. Seleman Banda Phngula. says:

    Missed opportunity . Lampard and Demba Ba could have been the right options considering the intensity of the game . Jose Mourinoh beats them all in terms of reading the game and making right substitutions .

  5. twitch says:

    He is simply nt thee right man for the job.liability

  6. Adeyemi says:

    This Manager has always made the same mistakes all over, he will make the wrong substitution at the wrong time, he shuold just leave at the end of the season PERIOD because he has cause more dameges than good.
    He left the great lamps on the bench for benayoun and Demda while Torres was doing nothing on the pitch.
    We shall all celebrate the return of the SPECIAL ONE

  7. 4lan says:

    I culd understand dat he wants 2 keep ba nd lamp fuly feet 4 d next match wyl moses is(aldo nt d best) bt nt a wost sub bt terry(wit a possible 5-4-1 4mtn)/ake(wit a possible 4-5-1 4mtn)4 oscar or even mata cux we need pace 2 go into a more cnta attack play

  8. Zlatan EL Cerebro says:

    I understand the substitution for Hazard and Moses ??† what is Benayoun doing on the pitch when we have Ba, Lampard and Terry on the Bench. Benitez is not a good coach bcause a good coach like Mourinho would never do a thing like that. He only have 3games left and then he’s out.

  9. mmabdul says:

    Benitez will nva b a gud coach cos he is nt using is common sence, it’s only incomplete man dt wl bench lampard or ake benayoun is beta he shld ritre dt coaching role cos if he cn go 2 ani team he wl end up scartering dt team, jst d way he did 2 liverpool n inter milan, benitez is nt a gud coach @ all.