Bridge Banter: Boo boys lift the gloom at Chelsea
11:59am Friday 18th January 2013 in Chelsea
The boos echoed around Stamford Bridge again this week as another chilly Wednesday night fixture finished in disappointment.
Although it was a draw rather than a defeat, the fact Chelsea surrendered a two-goal lead to struggling Southampton felt as bad.
Saints fans whooped and cheered their way to their charabancs after Rickie Lambert and Jason Puncheon’s second-half goals wiped out first-half strikes from Demba Ba and Eden Hazard.
“I dunno why you’re so happy,” one Blues fan shouted at the celebrating red and white-shirted supporters. “You’ve just dropped two points.”
Maybe gallows humour will sustain weary Chelsea fans until the end of this rapidly unpicking season, but they sure as heck aren’t warming to Mr Interim.
Rafa Benitez admitted he was disappointed after the game. But did his tactics play a part?
Chelsea were cruising at the interval, and the debate in the warmth of the press room under the east stand was about how many different Blues players might be on the scoresheet by the final whistle.
But Southampton were transformed when Jay Rodriguez was replaced by the more direct Rickie Lambert, and three minutes after coming on Lambert headed Nathaniel Clyne’s cross home.
The equaliser came in the 76th minute. Then, with 11 minutes of normal time remaining, Benitez took off Frank Lampard and put on Fernando Torres.
The hoots of derision from the home fans told their own story. Torres managed a total of one shot in those 11 minutes, and it was well wide.
“Fernando is trying to do his best, and that is the main thing for me,” said Benitez afterwards. But Torres, on current form, is not the kind of player to make a dramatic impact in the dying minutes.
Not when the Saints were marching in with a bonus point for their survival battle.
Oh well. It’s only Arsenal visiting the leaky Bridge this weekend.
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