Seven days on from Eden Hazard’s infamous kick on the world’s oldest, and most pampered, ballboy and his ensuing charge by the FA, Chelsea travel to the Madejski Stadium in the hope of putting their off-pitch troubles behind them and secure three points against Reading. They desperately need some kind of win, for the fans and Benitez alike; their barely deserved draw against Brentford at the weekend would be the bottom of the barrel of tortured reign under Benitez if it were not the fact that the Spaniard has overseen his fair share of hugely embarrassing results as Chelsea’s gaffer already.
I could write a rant about how furious I am about the direction my club have taken in recent weeks, but that would produce more pages than Victor Hugo’s lengthy Les Mis saga, and Les Mis would be considerably more upbeat than my Chelsea tirade. Suffice to say; I'm not happy. As soon as it looks like Chelsea are taking one step in the right direction - giving Ashley Cole a one year contract extension was an unexpected, but extremely welcome curveball from the board - they take about six back.
As much as he’s a sitting duck for vitriol, not everything can be pinned on Benitez. The discomforting way the Frank Lampard contract non-extension has been protracted has been condemned widely by Chelsea fans and football writers alike; the Englishman has carried Chelsea on so many occasions in the past that he literally has a hunchback now from doing so. Benitez has been increasingly evasive when asked about Lampard in interviews and attracted criticism for that, but in truth, this problem that is out of his hands. The decision to not keep Lamps on is stupidity on the part of Abramovich and his advisors, Buck and Gourlay, not the manager.
Signing Demba Ba was a very good move, and whenever the Senegal man has played in a Chelsea shirt I have loved what I’ve seen. The thing is, we Chelsea fans think he ought to be playing a hell of a lot more. But that would mean not playing Precious Fernando, and as Roberto Di Matteo learnt the hard way after he was so exasperated with the Spaniard’s misfiring that he opted to play Hazard as a false no. 9 instead of Torres - bench El Nino at your peril.
Credit where credit is due, Chelsea’s hapless striker scored a crucial equaliser on Sunday that earnt us a replay against Brentford when without it, we’d have been knocked out of the competition. But before that, he had barely justified his existence, let alone his starts for Chelsea. Against Arsenal the Sunday before, Chelsea were essentially playing with ten men; that they managed to defeat Wenger’s side was solely down to the amazing midfield triumvirate of Mata, Oscar and Hazard weaving their magic, as well as a fabulous performance from Ramires.
Torres’ goal celebration against Brentford - bringing a finger to his lips to “shush” was utterly, hilariously ironic - he isn't anywhere near as good enough to pull off an arrogant celebration like that. And that sums Torres up; he’s always pictured sulking or pulling faces at his teammates, but never putting a shift in himself to merit the sullen mien. To quote Top Gun, “son, your egos writing cheques that your body can’t cash.”
It would be easy to say that the FA’s charge against Hazard was a sign of “anti-Chelsea bias”, and it is just as easy to understand why complaining thus would smack of persecution complex. But such a decision infuriated me, not least because when Rio Ferdinand injured one of our stewards back in 2011, the FA didn’t do a damn thing about it. It’s safe to say that the FA and Chelsea probably aren’t in love with each other after Terry-gate and the Clattenburg affair, but to bring past baggage into present situations and taking it out on Hazard is nothing less than petty behaviour from the so-called Football Association.
The most frustrating thing about our shambles of a season though is, if I’m being totally honest with myself, that much of this is Chelsea’s own making. It was Abramovich’s decision to sack club hero Roberto Di Matteo and replace him with Rafa Benitez, a man who is about as popular amongst Chelsea fans as Nick Griffin would be in Chinatown. And look how well that’s working out. We stuttered in games where John Terry was serving a ban - yet who’s fault was that? The more deluded Chelsea fans might cling on to his story, but let’s be real, in a heated situation, the last thing you would do is invite trouble by repeating the offending words. And as angry as I am at Charlie Morgan and indignant on Eden Hazard’s behalf, the fact of the matter is that Belgian would not be facing a three match ban if he had simply not tried to be cute against that lard-arsed teenager. This season has been a nightmare, and what makes it worse is that it’s a nightmare of our own making.
Currently, and perhaps also down to my exams not going as well as I’d hoped, I have a lot of anger on all things Chelsea-related. I can occasionally be found channelling all my ire at Charlie Morgan on Twitter, tweeting the teenager cruel jibes about his weight. It’s not big or clever, but with the way Chelsea’s season going, being the 'Worst Ever Champions' of Europe, getting eliminated at every competition we participate in, having quite possibly the worst striker to wear a Chelsea shirt and with only a Champions League place to play for in the league, cyber-bullying a lad on Twitter is the closest to joy any Chelsea fans are going to get to experiencing genuine joy this season.