The highs and lows from Rafa Benitez' reign on the anniversary of his appointment
On this day, in 2012, Chelsea appointed Rafael Benitez as manager after sacking Champions League winner Roberto Di Matteo.
Chelsea fans were furious that the club’s hierarchy could so brazenly ignore their affections for Di Matteo and dislike for Benitez, the former Liverpool manager.
Here, we examine the highs and lows from the Spaniard’s turbulent season in charge at the Bridge.
High: Europa League Final Glory
Benitez deserves credit for guiding Chelsea to their first ever Europa League title. It could never match the Champions League victory of the season before. However, Branislav Ivanovic’s last minute winner was still an epic moment.
Low: Loss in Club World Cup Final
The Club World Cup is, traditionally, an easy chance for the Champions League winner to claim a pretty meaningless trophy against a weak Southern Hemisphere team. It is a sure thing that Bayern, Barcelona, Real Madrid and all the others win this trophy.
It was extra embarrassing when Chelsea failed to do this as an awful performance resulted in a 1-0 defeat against Corinthians.
High: Comeback against United
In the FA Cup, Chelsea were 2-0 down to Manchester United in the second half at Old Trafford. Everybody was resigned to exiting the competition. An unlikely comeback ensued after a brilliant Eden Hazard goal and a breakaway equalizer from Ramires.
Low: Defeat to QPR
This was the lowest point of the Benitez reign. Chelsea had not lost to hated rivals QPR at Stamford Bridge for decades and the visitors had not won an away game all season. When the Hoops arrived in January, a goal from former Blue Shaun Wright-Phillips saw Chelsea slump to an awful defeat.
High: Lampard breaks the record
Chelsea secured their place in the Top 4 with a comeback win at Villa Park late in the season. The game was extra special as Frank Lampard’s brace saw him break Bobby Tambling’s record as Chelsea’s all time top scorer.