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The Hard Life of Chelsea’s Fernando Torres

It is blatant to see that Fernando Torres is not at his best right now. Two goals this Premier League season for ‘El Niño’ is far from impressive. In fact, it’s terrible. John Terry has scored double that amount this season, even though he spends 95% of his time playing stupid passes on his own eighteen-yard box. Flashes of his brilliance have been few and far between, but consistency is key, although it would appear that Fernando has forgotten the meaning of the word of late.

In his heydays at Liverpool, we were used to seeing a 4-4-2 formation with Steven Gerrard sitting just behind the lone striker, with aid coming from both flanks. Gerrard would get the ball; play Torres through, and goal. Inevitable. One of the leagues most deadly strike forces was feared by many, and adored by all. Torres had pace, skill, acceleration, strength, and all other attributes. Scoring 56 Premier League goals in three seasons said it all. Torres was one of the best strikers around.

Here is where it starts going wrong for the Spaniard.

The first half of the 2010/11 Premier League season was not the greatest for Torres. Recurring injury problems and below par performances showed a dip in the form of the once great Fernando Torres.

January 2011, Torres signs for Chelsea for £50 million. No one saw that one coming, but stranger things have happened. Seemingly not bought by the then Chelsea manager, Carlo Ancelotti, Torres continued his poor form until he fired in a goal against an ever struggling West Ham. Chelsea fans went wild! The sheer brilliance of it! Running at the centre halves, change of direction, fired it into the bottom corner! Boom! (With a little help from a large puddle in the middle of the West Ham area, which in fact stopped the ball from probably going out of play and allowed for Torres to swing a flailing left leg at the stationary ball which luckily went in the net for once!) Was he back? No. The end of the 2010/11 season drew to a close, much to Torres’ relief. Now there was chance for the lad to kick back, relax, and find his form again.

I wish.

With AVB now at the helm for the new season, change was all around at the Bridge. The signings of Romelu Lukaku, Juan Mata, Oriol Romeu and Raul Meireles, and the return of Daniel Sturridge showed that a policy of youth was crucial to the young tacticians plans. The ever-popular 4-3-3 formation was still in place with three attackers leading the line. However, the difference really lied in the style of play. Out was the typical Chelsea ways of getting the ball wide to the wingbacks on every possible occasion, and in came the calm and collective style. Surely the new implementations put in place by AVB could only help the Spaniard? His record says otherwise.

Since the arrival of AVB, their had certainly been a difference in the way that Fernando Torres plays. In most, if not all the games that I have seen the Spaniard play in a Chelsea shirt, I have seen him tracking back into midfield positions to try and win the ball back, which he probably lost in the first place. The way in which Torres is trying to play reminds me very much of Wayne Rooney. The continued high work rate. The harrying. The tackling. Chelsea vs. Swansea City; Fernando gets himself sent off for a two footed challenge on the half way line, where a midfielder should be challenging. Desperation? I think not. AVB, the man who would appear to be trying to revolutionise the way in which Chelsea play their football may have asked the young man to play this way. Much like David Villa and Lionel Messi of Barcelona. The second you lose a ball, you get that ball back. Idealistic? Yes. Realistic? No.

This isn’t the Fernando Torres of old. Rarely was Torres a man who would venture back into his own half to win a ball back for Liverpool. Its all well and good if you’re actually good at it like Wayne Rooney, but Torres just isn’t that type of player. Torres was a player who latches onto through balls, turns defenders inside out and leaves centre halves for dead. Torres is now a player who picks up the ball deep, a player who runs around like a headless chicken, a player who just isn’t very good.

At Liverpool, the team was built around Fernando Torres. Formations were changed to accommodate his needs and players looked for Torres on every attack. At Chelsea? Torres is still struggling to get in the team. The formation has stuck, and he is not being accommodated. Unknown territory for ‘El Niño’.

To get the best out of Torres, you need to make him the King, with his Bishops, Knights, Rooks, Pawns and his beloved Queen around him making sure he gets the best service. Torres isn’t finding this at the Bridge. No longer is he a big fish in a small pond. It has become apparent that he just doesn’t fit in with the Chelsea system.

So the question remains… Will Torres get back to his former standards? Nothing is impossible, but ‘El Niño’ needs to acclimatise to the team, not the other way round.

And miracles do happen…

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