By Shikharr Chandra
Rafael Benitez's side will step foot on the Liberty Stadium for the second time this season as the two sides meet for the second leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final clash. Last time around a late Pablo Hernandez goal cancelled out Victor Moses' header to earn Swansea a well deserved point against the European champions. This was the start of the downfall which eventually led to Roberto Di Matteo getting the sack as he was eventually replaced by Benitez. Things will be a little different this time around as the two sides meet. The Stamford Bridge based side will have to overcome a two-goal deficit if they have any chance of progressing to the Capital One Cup final against Bradford City.
After an amazing end to last season, Chelsea's start to this campaign has been bitterly disappointing. The club entered the season with a chance of winning 7 trophies but disappointing results against Manchester City and Atletico Madrid followed by Corinthians in the Club World Cup saw them miss out on three chances to earn silverware. The Blues find themselves out of the Champions League and although they lie third in the Premier League, their chance of winning the title look bleak when compared to the two Manchester clubs.
It has been a below par start for the Spanish manager who has still not been accepted by the Chelsea faithful. Benitez has the worst record as a Chelsea manager after 17 games. Under his tutelage, Chelsea have won 10 and lost 4 games with a 58 % winning rate. The fans have constantly voiced their anger on the Spaniard when things have gone wrong and Benitez will know that if he wants to have any chance of winning over the fans, a win against Swansea could be very useful.
|It is going horribly wrong for Rafa|
Any form of silverware this season will be happily accepted by Benitez and Chelsea as the club is now left with a realistic chance of winning only 3 trophies. With the big teams still in with a chance in the FA Cup and Europa League, Chelsea's best chance of landing silverware is the Capital One Cup.
It was a disappointing performance by the Blues a few weeks back when they faced Swansea at Stamford Bridge as the side succumbed to a 2-0 defeat leaving the club on the verge of elimination from the competition. This was, for the men from South Wales, a night of glory. Swansea who have not kept a clean sheet on their travels for 19 games at Stamford Bridge, where they last tasted victory in 1925, did not allow Chelsea any room and space, as they closed in on a historic chance of lifting the Capital One Cup for the first time in their history.
Chelsea are no doubt a club in mess as there have been jeers for chairman Bruce Buck as a punishment for the club's desire to let Frank Lampard go. Slowly and steadily the club are turning hostile on their £50m striker Fernando Torres who was booed off on his 100th appearance. The fans have continued their 16th minute applause for Roberto Di Matteo ever since he was given the boot, and such hostility has not helped the club, in it's bid to revive its sagging fortune. Once considered a fortress, Stamford Bridge has turned into a nightmare for Chelsea and although the club registered a win against Arsenal in the weekend, Benitez's record at Stamford Bridge has been very poor.
|Fans are losing faith|
The win over London rivals Arsenal which will certainly act as a confidence booster for Benitez's men after dropping vital points against Southampton, QPR and Fulham. However there are still a few issues Benitez has to a find a solution to. The trio of Oscar, Hazard and Mata are without doubt one of the finest to watch which they showed in the first half against Arsenal but their inability to track back and defend is a concern, to which Benitez has yet to find an answer to in the absence of Moses. He will need to strike the right balance against Swansea.
Rafa Benitez is a manager known to be tactically astute and the former Valencia manager will have to orchestrate his men to pull off a vital victory at the Liberty Stadium. It might possibly be his last chance to earn some love from the Stamford Bridge fans who doubt the manager more than anyone else in the Chelsea back room.
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