Benitez off to rocky start with fans
Premier League round-up:Rafael Benitez was given a nightmare welcome from Chelsea fans today as the European champions ground out a dour goalless draw with Manchester City.
Former Liverpool boss Benitez was treated like a pariah in his first match in charge of the Blues but did manage to mastermind their first clean sheet in 11 matches and deny City top spot in the Premier League.
Sergio Aguero wasted the best chance of a turgid game in driving rain, which the visitors had the better of in the first half but the home side the second.
The draw moved unbeaten champions City to within a point of new leaders Manchester United, leaving Chelsea fourth.
Benitez has shored up the Blues’ defence during his four days in charge but he has his work cut out to get them playing the scintillating football demanded by the watching Roman Abramovich - and to get Fernando Torres scoring.
But that is nothing compared to winning over the fans on today’s evidence.
Chelsea’s stadium announcer was drowned out by jeers as he appealed for calm in order to pay tribute to former Chelsea boss Dave Sexton, whose death was confirmed today.
There were also expletive-laden chants of “you’re not wanted here”, and signs reading ‘Benitez out’, coupled with songs and banners hailing the sacked Roberto Di Matteo.
Liverpoolmanager Brendan Rodgers was unable to get one over his former side Swansea Cityon his return to Wales as the Anfield side continued their mediocre Premier League start with a 0-0 draw at the Liberty Stadium.
Liverpool, anchored in mid-table with just three league wins from 13 games, created the better openings in a lively encounter.
Teenage winger Raheem Sterling rattled the crossbar with a rasping volley on 33 minutes and 60 seconds later the visitors had a goal disallowed when Luis Enrique, who slid in to turn home Luis Suarez’s cross, was denied by the offside flag.
Swansea midfielder Leon Britton admitted after the game that the side needed time to settle down following the summer departure of Rodgers and the arrival of Michael Laudrup as manager.
Britton said: “We’re doing well. At the start of the season we got new players and management and it takes a bit of time to settle down.
“It was great to see Brendan Rodgers, I owe him a lot for bringing me back here.
“I think it was quite a tactical game, with two teams who like to pass the ball and get it down. It was tough out there.”