Fernando Torres’s Poor Form Is A Sign Of Other Problems at Chelsea

Fernando Torres has undoubtedly hit the nadir of his career. This week, he was dropped all together from Spain’s 18-man squad and was subsequently demoted to the bench for Chelsea’s Premier League match against Sunderland. He also appeared to lose his cool for the first time in an interview when he criticized Chelsea’s play as “very slow,” contributing to his lackluster performances. For Chelsea fans, it’s really a very worrying enigma. On one hand, it’s hard to imagine that a player of Fernando Torres’s ability would permanently lose all his potency in just a few months. Yet, has his confidence been dealt an unrecoverable blow?

I don’t have the answer. For me, this is the least confident I’ve ever been about Torres succeeding at Chelsea. I’m definitely worried. Still, I haven’t given up hope. For one, Torres has age on his side. At 27, we can expect that he, like most footballers, still has between 4-6 years of top quality football. In the grand scheme of things, this period could later just be viewed as a minor blip in a successful career – meaning his legs can still make up for lost time.

More importantly though, I think Fernando Torres has garnered a disproportionate amount of blame for a Chelsea team that has been notably anemic in attack for the longest period in the Roman Abramovich era. While I believe it is undoubtedly true that Torres has lacked adequate service, I also believe that assessment to be too narrow. Rather, I would say that Chelsea’s central strikers (Anelka, Torres and Drogba) have lacked adequate service. With three golden boots between them, Anelka, Torres and Anelka have each only scored one goal since February. For me, this is irrefutable evidence that something is broken at Chelsea. Whereas it was expected that Torres’s arrival would fix the team’s problems, it has actually highlighted them. This obviously begs the question of Chelsea: Why would they invest in a striker who is dependent on service when the team cannot currently manufacture any service? That’s a slight digression, however.

I was particularly struck by Sergio Aguero’s debut for Manchester City. Within six minutes of being on the pitch, his team constructs for him an opportunity to score with an easy tap-in goal. After spending six months in Chelsea blue, Torres has failed to be given a single opportunity like the one Aguero had. Don’t get me wrong, it would be foolish to assume that Torres should depend on tap-ins to score, because he’s partly to blame for being so dependent, but wouldn’t you expect something to fall his away eventually? And that’s the same story with all of Chelsea’s strikers recently: easy, confidence-boosting chances have not fallen to them. Just being near the box for so many minutes should provide strikers with some easy opportunities. Alas, those have been non-existent.

It’s almost a good sign that Torres’s scoring record for Chelsea has been so dismal because it’s completely abnormal for a striker on a top club to be so ineffective. I don’t want this to sound like I’m happy that Torres has scored so few, but that record seems to signify more than just a player performing poorly. To me, it suggests that the team is also playing very poorly. Even when Chelsea were forced to depend on players like Claudio Pizarro and Shevchenko, they were much more prolific than Torres, Drogba and Anelka have been.

The bottom line is that I want to see how Torres will perform when Chelsea are actually playing well. Although they’ve won some matches in 2011, I haven’t seen them hit top form. Chelsea cannot score with ease. They cannot win games comfortably (with or without Torres). I mean, even when Shevchenko was struggling, the team was still playing very well. If you remember that season, Didier Drogba scored 33 goals. As for this season, it doesn’t look like any of Chelsea’s strikers will hit 5 goals. Drogba’s performances during Shevchenko’s tenure assures me that the problem goes deeper than just one player. It’s easy to overanalyze Torres because of the price tag, but lest we forget that none of Chelsea’s strikers are performing any better.

Still, I’m worried that Torres’s confidence has taken such a shot that he will never feel comfortable playing for this club. His body language when he came on against Sunderland was the worst I’ve ever seen it. He barely tried and his overall performance was nonchalant. I expected more from a player who had just been dropped by club and country alike.

So, my final verdict is that Fernando Torres still has a chance to revive his career at Chelsea. The most important thing is that Torres realizes in his mind that he can be a success at Chelsea. That can come with a couple of simple goals and a good run of games. Whether that will come is another story.

25 thoughts on “Fernando Torres’s Poor Form Is A Sign Of Other Problems at Chelsea”

  1. I totally agree with you! Torres is such a great footballer, but his confidence has totally been shot. He’s only human. I still have faith in Torres. I think people need to stop blaming everything on the poor guy.

  2. I agree on some points, in that Chelsea certainly aren’t at their best form at the moment, but ultimately I don’t think it’s that that is contributing to Torres’ lack of a good performance. Last season he didn’t hit form whilst he was at Liverpool either, and although he had flashes of his great play, he didn’t have a very successful season at either club.

    I think the answer to the title question of this article is “No, it isn’t”. It is true that Chelsea have their problems at the moment, but none of that is related to Torres’ poor form. He’ll bounce back, many of the greatest strikers in the premier league (Van Nistelrooy, Van Persie for example) had spells where they simply couldn’t perform as well. That’s the cruel reality of being in a league that is so tough.

  3. Excuses excuses slow play geeze Torres can’t face reality. He hasn’t played well in two years. He can’t even make the starting lineup for Spain. I think the fact is Torres was never a great striker. We got bamboozled and Liverpool is laughing all the way to the bank. Best we take our losses now and transfer him to another team for a very low price. Hopefully Manu or Barcelona will bite that bad apple.

  4. I have to be a stickler on error in punctuation…”Fernando Torres’…”

    Making a grammatical or punctuation error, etc., in the context is understandable, but not on the headline/title!

    1. Fair game, it is preferred. Especially to show one’s “ownership/possession” of something, i.e., owning poor form for about a year now.

  5. First off, Torres is a great striker. So let’s do away with the fiction that he isn’t.

    Secondly, Chelsea over the past five years relied so much on Drogba/Lampard & co. that they failed to bolster the squad with long term depth and instead signed players like Ballack/Deco which were short-term solutions.

    This team is old, lacks pace and has a lack of creativity when getting to the box that can be stunning at times. Mata is a step in the right direction. Sturridge, Mata, Ramires, Luiz as well as the players who are on loan are the future of this team. Let’s not forget Josh Mceachran who should be getting more time rather then riding the bench.

    If Chelsea is still playing this way in March then we’ll be out of every competition except maybe the domestic cups. Season is young and so is Torres.

  6. I agree with above poster. He showed flashes of real brilliance a few years ago, but he is unable to play at that high level. He’s lackadaisical and full of himself, at least how he comes off on the pitch. He’s not worth half of the 50mil they paid for him!

  7. So what’s the excuse for his poor play at last year’s World Cup? He’s been in this rut for two years spanning a WC and two clubs. I think mentally he has lost his way. It’s very possible he won’t come back from it.

  8. While I don’t think he’ll ever regain the flash he had a Liverpool, AVB has to give him minutes with Mata, Meireles, and Josh if he expects him to get back to anywhere close to where he was with Liverpool. Lampard and Malouda aren’t going to set him up for goals like he needs.

  9. I asked the question when Torres moved to Chelsea in January, would Ancelotti or his successor be able to sort the “Torres” problem out? I will say again like I said back then – Does Chelsea (with an owner like Abramovich) have the patience to build a team around him? The answer so far is no. Facts: Torres’ confidence and form are low but the man is still a world-class striker.

    Torres is most effective when he plays up front on his own. It is near impossible for him to be as deadly with another traditional striker on the pitch, the same time as he. (The World Cup and the Hodgson era showed that)

    Torres is a “90 minute” striker. Yes, he will have poor touches, sulk and shake his head for 85 minutes but he will (with confidence) get his goals. (The Benitez era showed that)

    Give Torres four, consecutive, full 90 minute matches, up front on his own – getting service from the likes of Mata and Merieles and I guarantee you he will start scoring. Unfortunately – Andre Villas-Boas as with every Chelsea manager, is always three matches away from getting sacked, and with Anelka, Drogba, and an in form Sturridge at his disposal, I don’t blame him for choosing the latter.

    1. Exactly. How many games did Torres have for Liverpool where he was anonymous for 88 minutes of the game but somehow ended up with a brace? He’s never played like Rooney in the EPL where he’s running around and involved in everything. But a brilliant run here and there and goals, goals, goals. Check out the stats for his best games, he would complete 15 or 17 passes total. He didn’t attempt a lot either. Which tells me he was up at the very top, timing his runs and often, seemingly uninvolved. Then he would be spotted by Gerrard, Kyut or Alonso and it was off to the races. Bang, one or two passes.

      Chelsea keep insisting on playing him every way possible but the way that gets the best out of him. They’ll moan that Torres has to adapt and they won’t change to accommodate one player. Okay, fine, it’s not my 50M pounds. Don’t cry a river when he’s not Fernando Torres anymore then. He may be in poor form but I’m pretty sure even with the same exact form, he would have at least nicked a few goals for Liverpool in 8 months. He wouldn’t be all world, but his teammates would find him often enough.

      I’m no Chelsea fan or hater, but a neutral and it’s saddens me to see how a talent like Torres has been grinded to nothing by Chelsea. I thought Liverpool had flogged him to death but at least they knew how to play him (aside from Hodgson).

  10. hey lets be honest here… how many one on one does Torres need to score goals?? i remember last season, he had a lot of them and he only finished one… Torres is done, lets give sturridge the spot, he will finished them for us!!!!

  11. Harrumph! I’ve given up on him.

    Torres when at Atletico and L’pool, was a striker known for his clinical finishing, pace and instinct in front of goal. He has lost all three in the last season and a half. Lost a yard in pace, lost the confidence to finish and lacks the instinct for off-the-ball movement and presence in the box. He’s 27 at a time when there’s a host of young strikers itching for a chance..so he’s in mortal danger of being phased out.

    He is not strong in the air, isn’t a physical type of striker, requires high tempo play around the box and fundamentally is a lone striker. I have no idea how he’s going to fit into either chelsea or spain with this decline in quality. His passing range isn’t great so dropping deeper just makes things worse (away from goal, can’t play out of the pocket, cant run as fast as before). Some say Mata will be the kind of player he needs but Mata needs to run the midfield to do that…and as long as Lampard is around, that’ll never happen. And Lampard very simply is “decay in a blue shirt”. Effin useless and refuses to step out.

    Simple case, in Chelsea’s 2nd or 1st game this season, they got a penalty against Norwich, was it? I was SCREAMING for Torres to take it…to get his confidence back…it was HIS chance…but who steps up? Lampard the cunt. When all your strikers are misfiring and failing…and you have 50 million pounds of potential gold standing a few feet behind you…the garbage that is Lampard takes the penalty…further drowning Torres. They don’t want to help Torres, simply.

  12. The Torres signing never really made a ton of sense. Yes Drogba was getting up there in age, but clearly he had a least another season or two of good football left in him.

    As has been outlined, it’s not really on the strikers, if you ask me, but the team around them.

    There are many teams that successfully play a narrow system, but generally there is a much greater creative hub playing in midfield. Lampard, who is clearly past his best days, has never been one to sit deep and pick out the killer ball.

    With a midfield 3 that largely consisted of Mikel-Lampard-Ramires last season, I’m not sure how you can expect a lot of creativity from them.

    Chelsea have relied on their fullbacks for width for years now. While Cole might be world class, you can’t say the same for Ivanovic, or even Bosingwa for that matter. Malouda has played more and more centrally, and was never an out and out winger. On the right, you’ve had a mix of Anelka/SWP/Kalou. None of them consistantly are providing service from wide areas.

    It’s left a team that plays decidedly narrow, but doesn’t possess the types of players to do it at the most elite level. Barca may be the gold standard, and using them as a measuring stick probably isn’t fair. But Chelsea haven’t had a player like Rooney, Fabregas/Nasri (when fit and or at Arsenal), and now Silva at City who are capable of unlocking a defense. Mata is a great step in the right direction, but he really should be deployed more centrally. As has been pointed out, that likely wont happen with Lampard running about.

    I’m not sure VB has time to make the changes nessecary, but it’s spot on that future may well lie in players like Sturridge, Mata, Lukaku, etc.

    And while this may not directly correlate with Torres not finding his feet in any way, I think Chelsea’s somewhat substandard play can largely be attributed to the absence of Essien over the last few years. Ramires may have the energy, but his influnce on a match is far less than what Essien brings to the side.

  13. Chelsea still have a strong squad but not as dominant as before mainly due to aging players. There’s an influx of quite a few young players but it will take some time to gel/grow, sooner or later. The big question remains (for Torres), wasn’t the reason to leave Liverpool because it is a “work-in-progress” club? HAHAHA

  14. Something that’s rarely mentioned: Liverpool have largely re-invested the Torres fee in new players..tell me Chelsea wouldn’t be better served having spent that 50m on players like Suarez, Meireles (which they ended up doing so), and Adam.

    As Vinnie points out, funny seeing the whole work in progress thing with L’Pool, when clearly Chelsea are looking no better than 3rd best at this point.

  15. Torres is a good striker,before.But,now,he has totally lost his confidence and technical.He don’t even know how to do with the ball when a ball in front of him.He has played almost a year in Chelsea and only score one goal.If you all say he cannot accommodate the formation in Chelsea,impossible.Hey,Torres,stop joking around,please.Please show your full power and strategy in Chelsea.I am believe in you are the best.I don’t even want to know what had Torres done or known in Liverpool before signing for Chelsea,please just play powerfully and technically in Chelsea!Before that,i saw many match of Torres.Since Torres signed for Chelsea,he had many chance to goal but he always misses the ball.He just lost the feeling of the ball.I totally hope Torres could be look better after it.

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