| Chelsea’s David Luiz challenges Manchester City's Edin Dzeko during their match at Stamford Bridge, on Sunday |
London: Rafael Benitez endured a hostile reception and gave the restless Chelsea fans nothing to cheer about as his first match in charge ended in a drab 0-0 draw with Manchester City on Sunday.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was unable to get one over former club Swansea City on his return to Wales as the Anfield side continued their mediocre Premier League start with a 0-0 draw at the Liberty Stadium.
Jermain Defoe’s double, including a superb first-half strike, and Gareth Bale’s goal just before the hour jolted Tottenham Hotspur out of the doldrums with a 3-1 London derby victory over West Ham United at White Hart Lane.
Southampton moved out of the bottom three with a 2-0 home victory over Newcastle United.
Three days after Chelsea replaced Roberto Di Matteo with Benitez, there was no sign of improvement from a team, who have only one win in their past five Premier League matches.
“He is here to try to change things to put us in a winning mode ... and he needs to get a chance to prove he's worth (it) to have a chance,” Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech said. “We have a new start.”
But the meeting of the champions of England — City — and Europe — Chelsea — failed to produce any real attacking moments of note.
Fernando Torres was restored to Chelsea’s starting line-up but the misfiring striker, who was so prolific under Benitez at Liverpool, squandered his only meaningful chance in the second half.
Chelsea dropped to fourth below West Bromwich Albion, while City remain unbeaten but lost top spot to Manchester United, who lead by one point.
But it was the intense venom directed by Chelsea fans at Benitez that provided the most memorable moments and revealed their verdict on the ninth managerial change of Roman Abramovich’s nine years in charge.
After chanting Di Matteo’s name, Benitez’s introduction before the match was greeted with continuous jeers from all around Stamford Bridge.
The action in the stands was livelier than on the pitch.
It took 20 minutes for the first scoring chance, with David Silva heading over the bar, while Sergio Aguero went close at the end of the first half.
Chelsea imposed themselves more after the break, with Ramires firing over from 25 yards and David Luiz off target with a header.
Torres was starved for service and cut an isolated figure up front, rarely looking like scoring his fifth league goal of the season.
His only opening came after Juan Mata and Eden Hazard combined to set up the Spain striker, who blasted over in the 61st.
City goalkeeper Joe Hart only had one key save to make, palming a strike from Ashley Cole over the bar late on, although the home fans were annoyed that a corner wasn't awarded.
For close to the first time in the game, referee Chris Foy was the target of the Chelsea fans' anger rather than their own manager.