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Rafa Benitez wins Premier League manager of the month

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Christopher Lee

When I was a kid, I refused to do homework*. At all. It was stupid, I hated it, and I didn't want to do it. Naturally, my grades suffered and everyone involved was rather angry at me. But a curious phenomenon emerged. On the rare occasions that I did hand in my work, everyone was thrilled. If I got a B, that was a lot better than my typical grade of zero.

*I'm such a good role model! PS: Hi dad!

This is what happens when you successfully lower expectations. Unlike most of my high-achieving classmates, I was under absolute no pressure to register top grades in every class. Instead, I could focus my efforts on playing football, hanging out with friends and playing video games (definitely in that order), knowing that if I ever did anything worthwhile academically I'd get even more praise than the poor saps who'd actually worked for it.

Which brings us to the subject of Mr. Rafael Benitez. Or, as he's now legally allowed to put at the end of his name, Mr. Rafael Benitez, PLMotm, for he is April's Premier League manager of the month. How did Chelsea do in April? Well, first there was that stirring FA Cup win against Manchester United, then there were ten points out of twelve from league games against Sunderland, Swansea, Fulham and Liverpool (perhaps two points above expectations). There were also rather sad losses to Rubin Kazan and Manchester City as well as a semifinal win against Basel in the Europa League.

In other words, it was a decent month, for Chelsea. Which makes it a superb month for Rafa Benitez's Chelsea, on account of Rafa Benitez's Chelsea being utterly awful for most of his tenure. Expectations have been successfully lowered. Meanwhile, for Roberto Mancini, beating Chelsea and Manchester United (and losing to Spurs) while reaching an FA Cup final, isn't good enough. Of course, he won the league last year. Expectations!