The second half performance against Manchester United was spot on; on and off the pitch.
There was a moment after yesterday's comeback against Manchester United where I actually felt sorry for Benitez. The squad and the coaching staff came over after the game to applaud the away fans and thank us for our support (which was excellent if I say so myself), Benitez however just hovered around twenty metres behind the squad near the half way line.
He looked awkward, he knew he couldn't come anywhere near us as the majority would immediately turn their attention to him, he stood there alone while the team celebrated the great comeback with the away fans. He played with his tie for a few seconds before high-fiving a few of the players as they started to make their way back towards the dressing room. I wouldn't call myself a Benitez fan because I am far from that but for some reason I found myself feeling really sorry for a man who less than an hour ago, I was singing about how there will be a party when he leaves Chelsea FC.
Does that make me fickle? Probably but aren't all football fans? Manchester United used to sing vile songs about van Persie when he was an Arsenal player and now they have a "Jesus saves, RvP nets the rebound" flag in their ground. I used to dislike Torres a lot before he signed for Chelsea, mainly because he always used to score against us and then he suddenly became my hero when he signed for us...the less we talk about that the better.
I don't hate Benitez, I never have and I never will because when I find myself really annoyed with him, I remember that he's not sleeping with my girlfriend, he hasn't murdered anyone and come June, he'll be shown the door anyway. I'm not in a position to tell anyone how to support Chelsea either so I'm not going to do that, it just took a moment for me to remember that Benitez is just trying to do his job (a job he shouldn't have taken in the first place admittedly), he's got the message that the majority don't like him and deep down, he probably wishes that we were singing his name instead of Mourinho's or Di Matteo's. Of course no one will sing his name, neither would I, I'm not that soft.
On the pitch however, things actually looked very good in that second half. I still can't work out if Manchester United were very bad or we were very good. It's hard to blame Benitez for the first two goals but he got the starting XI wrong and he knew it. Lampard and Ramires will never work; Mikel and Ramires seemed to work very well though. Whilst Moses will always put in a good shift, he isn't Chelsea class at the moment and when you're playing against the best team in the league, you need your best players out there.
I believe we potentially saw our best attacking team in that second half. It's a tough one with Lampard because he keeps popping up with goals but when Mikel came on, Chelsea actually looked like they were playing as a team. If you still doubt Mikel's quality after yesterday's game then I'm not sure what else he can do. I'm sure Lampard could play equally well alongside Mikel as Ramires so it will be interesting to see who Rafa plays next to Mikel in the next few games. Just no more Lampard and Ramires please. PLEASE.
Luiz has his moments where you sit there and think "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" But I thought he was excellent yesterday. Cahill on the other hand is clearly our fourth best central defender which makes it even more puzzling that Terry was rested yesterday. I know Terry is getting on a bit but surely he can play more than strictly one game a week. I like Cahill as he seems like a nice person in interviews and his performance in Munich with basically one leg was heroic but I do think he is a bit of a liability at the moment.
Maybe we can all learn something from United away. The less we focus on Benitez and more on the team, probably the better but that's up to you all as individuals. Hopefully Benitez agrees that Mikel has to start from now on and it's time we started unleashing the three amigos upon teams again.