The talk among the Chelsea supporters was sorrow and respect for the departed Roberto Di Matteo, and contempt for new manager Raja Benitez - despite his claim that he didn't care about being booed, it was hardly the right way to start off your (no doubt short) Chelsea career.
Was it my imagination, or did Chelsea players always pick out someone else if they had a choice between any other player and Torres to pass the ball to ? Torres is at least consistent - consistently awful. But he wasn't subbed of course, as that isn't allowed.
Rafa is clearly a disaster waiting to happen, and some fans reckon he won't last even until Christmas. The other bet is that Pep Guardiola will give Chelsea a wide berth, chosing instead the relatively more stable Manchesters City and United to hang his hat next.
Former manager Dave Sexton, who delivered Chelsea's first FA Cup and European trophy, was showed due respect to mark his passing earlier this morning. Rafa isn't fit to clean Sexton's boots, the fans said.
Back at the match, Manchester City probably just shaded it, especially in the second-half. James Milner was man-of-the-match, but the rest of the team's star players (save Vincent Kompany) failed to shine. Even Tevez, who came on midway through the second-half, looked out of shape and out of spirits.
This term started so promisingly for Chelsea. Hot off those two trophies at the back end of last season, Di Matteo quickly guided the team to the top of the Premier League, and they seemed genuine title contenders. When the predictable drip in form came, Red Rom was waiting to pounce, and the rest is history. And so is probably Chelsea's season. Today was really pedestrian stuff, and it will take a bigger man than Rafa Benitez to get things moving forward again.
image: © aromano