In recent weeks Torres has been touted as the worst signing in Premier League history, the man single handedly responsible for undermining Chelsea’s tactical approach, and the pantomime villain for an entire scouse nation. Quite a lot for a man searching for form at a new club under pressure.
But Fernando Torres is not responsible for football betting nearly-men Chelsea’s rudderless wondering as they ran ashore in their quest to land the bounty they crave so much, the champions league.
Instead, there is something altogether more fundamentally wrong with Carlo Ancelott’s, and it must be addressed if they are to succeed in Europe, or be the leading football bets candidates for the Premier League once more.
Against Manchester United at Old Trafford, Chelsea began rather brightly. Their movement caused worries in the United backline, and played with more purpose and intent in the first twenty minutes, managed more menace than across the other 160 or so drab minutes.
Contrary to popular belief, Chelsea didn’t improve with the appearance of Didier Drogba; the first half was their time to strike.
Rio Ferdinand, so often the scourge of Chelsea attacks was limping again in the Champions League, and Ramires in particular was making some penetrating runs while cutting in from the wing. Sure, Michael Essien found the pull-chord for his motor that has lacked this season in the second stanza, and Chelsea were able to press a lot higher up the pitch, but they had missed the boat.
"The Spaniard tried to give their attacks focus but either never received the ball or it was played behind him, forcing him to receive the ball with his back to goal."
Equally, as with Fernando Torres, the ebb and flow of Chelsea’s performance had little to do with the Ivorian, despite his undoubted efforts.
A man down, two goals down, although their task to win the game remained the same as it did at the start of the game, they were fighting against the tide, and always destined to fail.
When they were able to get up the pitch, Chelsea were unable to move the ball quickly enough to worry Manchester United, who are perhaps the most defensively organised team in Europe. Yet to concede a goal at home in this year’s competition, Chelsea needed to find a way to break them down, but simply couldn’t. Their midfield lacked intent, while Ashley Cole’s trademark forward bursts could be counted on one hand across both legs.
For his part, Fernando Torres worked hard for his team.
Playing in a team unwilling to take a risk by switching play quickly, or worse, too nervous about what might happen should they surrender possession, the Spaniard tried to give their attacks focus but either never received the ball or it was played behind him, forcing him to receive the ball with his back to goal.
Torres is embroiled in a battle to combat his admittedly poor form. If there is concerns within the Chelsea coaching team over his ability to play in a formation that does not suit him, ie alongside Drogba in a two man attack, then they must address those issues, they are doing him no favours. If the Champions League has become an obsession for them, they must maintian a focus they lacked last night if they are to suceed.
He is a scapegoat for Chelsea’s current problems, and will be so until he either scores or winning becomes a habit for the Blues once more. But journalists, commentators and fans would do well to look a bit deeper. The problem doesn’t lie with Fernando Torres, but those around him.