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Can Benitez Silence the Boo Boys?

Since his appointment in November earlier in the season, Rafa Benitez has had to endure a barrage of abuse at every Chelsea game he has managed. Could yesterday's triumphant FA Cup comeback against Man United silence the boo boys?

The name Rafael Benitez is now synonymous with the deafening sound of Chelsea boos, due to the utter distain that welcomes the Spaniard at every Chelsea home game he manages. Although the boos are sometimes over-the-top, many can understand why he is not a Chelsea favourite.

Benitez has been highly critical of Chelsea in the past and a rant against the club when he was Liverpool manager is now infamous. He also replaced the beloved Roberto Di Matteo, the first man to deliver Chelsea the Champions League.

Things such as the two listed above have been key in creating hostile receptions for Benitez. Yet, the most important component that has helped maintain Chelsea fan's attitude towards Rafa is the lack of good results and performances from their team, under his guidance.

However, yesterday that all changed... when, after finding themselves 2 - 0 down to Manchester United within 11 minutes, Chelsea fought back to 2 - 2 to force a replay of the FA Cup tie at Stamford Bridge. It was reminiscent of Chelsea's spirited Champions League performances last season.

The comeback owed a lot to two brilliant tactical substitutions by Benitez. He bought on John Obi Mikel for Frank Lampard and Victor Moses was replaced by Eden Hazard, in a double substitution in the 52nd minute.

Both changes had a dramatic impact on the game. Mikel disrupted United's play who until then looked like they were cruising to an easy win. But it was Hazard who proved the most effective- the Belgian started the comeback with a magnificent strike and was at the heart of Chelsea's attacking flair.

Chelsea equalised on the 68 minute mark through Ramires. For the next 20 or so minutes, United endured countless Chelsea attacks. If it were not for a crucial save from De Gea with his leg, Juan Mata would have won the match for Chelsea. The game finished 2 goals a piece.

At the end of the game, the usual theme tune of "Rafa out!" were replaced with elated songs of joy as Chelsea fans, players and their interim manager celebrated the result.

A replay of the tie will be held at Stamford Bridge later in the month. If Rafael Benitez were to win that game, progress to the semis, then the final and eventually win the FA Cup with The Blues- then his tenure at the club will be remembered for something other than the abuse he has recieved.

But would a FA Cup victory silence his critics indefinitely? We're not sure...

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