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Fernando Torres, The Ghost of Stamford Bridge Against Man United

Photo by The_Old_Grey_Wolf

Chelsea’s vital win Tuesday night against Manchester United will help their bragging rights, but it certainly wasn’t a performance that you would expect from the current title holder of the Premier League. For the first 40 minutes of the game, Chelsea were flaccid, playing like an away team and constantly losing possession.

Around the 40th minute, Chelsea created their first real chance of the game when Frank Lampard’s rocket of a free kick was saved by Edwin van der Sar, but Branislav Ivanovic was unable to get a clean hit on the rebound which van der Sar had two further swipes at before the ball was cleared away.

After that, for long periods of time, the only danger that Chelsea seemed to cause was from set plays.

But in the second half, the game changed completely after David Luiz scored an equalizer in the 54th minute with a superbly taken shot that most strikers would have been proud of. From that moment on, Chelsea gained a massive dose of confidence and they were a changed team thereafter.

Except for one man. Fernando Torres.

The former Liverpool striker looked lost at sea for almost the entire 90 minutes. The only moment where you saw a glimpse of his former magic was near the end of the match where he cut back and opened space in front of goal but ended passing the ball into the box instead only for the ball to be cleared away.

But consider, for a second, his stats from the game against Manchester during his 90 minutes (plus five minutes of stoppage time):

  • 3 shots: 2 off target, 1 blocked
  • 25 passes: 16 successful (a pass completion percentage of 64%), 9 unsuccessful. Of those 16 successful passes, only eight were in a forward motion; the others were side-to-side or backwards
  • 2 interceptions
  • 7 tackles: 2 won (28%), 5 lost
  • 1 clearance attempted: 0 successful
  • 0 blocks
  • 1 free kick won, 2 conceded

And that’s it from 95 minutes of playing. Value for money for a £50 million player? I don’t think so. Torres was a ghost on the Stamford Bridge pitch. He seemed to be wandering around the penalty area at times, looking unsure of where he should stand and being unable to read the intentions of his Chelsea teammates who had the ball. Other times he tried to connect with Michael Essien and other players, but the understanding between the players was not there.

To be fair, Torres is at a new club with a set of players that he has not had experience playing with. It’ll take to gain an understanding. And the Spaniard is also coming off a demoralizing six months at Liverpool where nothing seemed to go right (other than a win against Chelsea earlier this season where Torres finally showed the spark that he know him for).

But to watch him now is sad. Yes, he’s the type of player that if given one chance can make a massive difference in a game and score a crucial goal. But Didier Drogba showed more in 30 minutes of action than Torres did for the entire 90. At the same time, the service that Torres got was weak. Ramires tried to link up with him a few times, but the accuracy of the passes weren’t precise enough to give Torres a chance.

That’s why he looks lost at sea at Chelsea. He’s not getting the service he needs. And he’s not able to create something out of nothing. No offense to Manchester United but it wasn’t because Torres was marked out of the game. Torres was often open enough to give him a chance to create something, but the Chelsea players were not on the same wavelength as Torres.

It’s obvious that Torres’s partnership up front with Nicolas Anelka isn’t working. It may be best for Chelsea to go back to the Anelka-Drogba partnership which is far more deadly than when Torres is on the pitch. Right now, with the way Torres is playing, I don’t see him scoring a goal in the league anytime soon. Perhaps he can get a run out against Copenhagen again in the return leg of the Champions League, to see if he can regain his striking prowess as well as helping the rest of the Chelsea players to gel with Torres the playmaker.

Luckily for Chelsea on Tuesday night, they didn’t end up needing Torres to work his magic to win this match. He may have been a ghost at Stamford Bridge, but it was a valiant effort by the Blues in the second half that won this game for Chelsea as well as some fortunate refereeing decisions that helped their cause. But when the going gets tough and Chelsea needs Torres to be the difference in games between now and the end of the season, the jury is out whether or not he can step up and take the responsibility. Based on his current form, I don’t think he’s mentally or physically capable of doing it. But as we saw Tuesday night, a goal can change everything And the Luiz goal changed Chelsea. A goal for Torres may perhaps change his confidence too.

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  1. UpTheBlues

    March 3, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    Not the greatest article. No mention of Nando’s goal that was disallowed because of a phantom foul. He’ll score, and when he does expect a flood of goals from Chelsea’s number nine.

    • Natalie

      March 4, 2011 at 6:09 pm

      i couldn't agree more!

  2. brn442

    March 3, 2011 at 2:20 am

    The Torres’s problem was also the Benitez/Hodgson/Liverpool problem and the Bosque/Spanish problem. Luckily, for the latter – the shear amount of first class talent he had at his disposal in South Africa, ensured the Spaniards would lift their first cup as World Champions regardless.

    During Tuesday’s match, the commentator aptly asked the question ” With a 50,000,000 pound player, wouldn’t Chelsea by default, have to build their team around him?” If Chelsea wants Torres to be prolific, they may have no choice. It’s clear that with both Liverpool and Spain – Torres struggles when he has a conventional strike partner but is prolific when he’s on his own up front and provided with good service.

    Ancelotti, if he lasts past the summer, doesn’t have the power to leave Ahbramovic’s shiny toy on the bench, hence – I can’t see Drogba, who’s still mostly at the height of his powers but on the wrong side of 30, hanging around to find out. Also, Anelka, even if asked to play out wide, may still get in Fernando’s way as, unlike Kyut, the Frenchman is a natural finisher.

    Torres is a world class striker, he will start banging them in for Chelsea but – the powers at Stamford Bridge may have to bring an era to an end, both in personnel and formation – to do so.

  3. Charles Cooke

    March 2, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    I’m waiting on the article about Berbatov having to be on the bench because the apparent rose of england Wayne Rooney must be on the pitch at all times….I love england, wayne is talented however no bicycle kick can substitute for having the leading scorer in the EPL come off the bench in a must win game for UTD…And no i did not check if berbatov is the leading scorer, i knew he was at one point for all the people here ready to attack

  4. Maybee

    March 2, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    Yesterday I missed the first 10 minutes of the game and just got around to seeing the disallowed goal. It came well after the whistle had gone and van der Saar had clearly stopped trying to defend his goal. I’m pretty sure he could have saved that if the whistle hadn’t gone. We’ll never know, but Torres’ goal tally still stands at nil.

    • Natalie

      March 3, 2011 at 5:08 pm

      wow, so don’t say stuff if you didn’t watch the full game! HA pathetic.
      he could of very well saved it, but i doubt it. it was a corner shot that well well struck so i don’t believe he could of.

  5. Thomas

    March 2, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    The whole signing still strikes me as a gasp of desperation by Chelsea. The Strikers were far from the problem for them this season. Sure it was a signal of intent, and it’s a move towards the future, but Torres has done nothing in the past 12 months to warrant such a high price tag.

    Anelka and Torress are by and large similar, at least in the degree in which they operate. Yes Anelka had ONE game where he played extremely well playing behind a strike partnership in a creative role, but generally he is at his deadliest running onto balls through the channel. When you have two players who do this, and you are up against teams that crowd your midfielders, this doesn’t prove extremely effective.

    I just see the whole affair, the high price tag, the expectations, and a general loss of form as too much for Torres to handle at the moment.

    Let’s not forget, the guy is generally used to having a team structured around him. Not being a player to be thrown into an established side, where he is not the focal point (see Spain at the World Cup).

  6. old33

    March 2, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Forgetting opinion, great statistical article. All shots, passes, free kicks won, etc. were right on the money. Here’s where opinion comes in. As a Liverpool fan, Torres has scored just as many goals as Andy Carroll to this point for much less.

  7. El Tri 2014

    March 2, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    I’m not jaded by Torres, so it’s easy for me to say that he had an awful night. And yes, I think The Gaffer put it best, he was a ghost. That said, I think Torres still needs more time with Chelsea before you see any rewards. Has he overcome his last injury? I’d say that he is not the same player, perhaps lost a step in speed and touch but he’s still a dangerous striker and could be an important pawn for Carlo and the team. Will he transform to the Torres of old this season? No, but I think he will improve, get better acclimated to his new team mates and you’ll see better performances (baby steps). Is he worth $50M? Not this year’s Torres but who knows for sure if he can step up next year.

  8. Aious

    March 2, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Dear God, every CFC blog mentions solid play along with non-United blogs talking about the game. He didn’t score but had quite solid motion and chances with Anelka early on. Where he looked “lost at sea” is beyond me and probably beyond others who watched it

    I get the feeling this writer didn’t actually see the game or rather has a bias against Chelsea.

    Either way, absolutely idiotic article

    • The Gaffer

      March 2, 2011 at 2:46 pm

      Take a look at the stats and tell me what he contributed in 90 minutes. Three shots, none on target other than a disallowed goal which didn’t count.

      The Gaffer

    • Natalie

      March 3, 2011 at 5:09 pm

      thank you Aious. finally someone smart.

  9. Terence

    March 2, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    MilotiNY, you must have been watching a different game. Torres made a terrific pass to Anelka who was open on the right and Anelka missed by a couple of feet. Torres also passed to Lampard and shielded a couple of defenders for Lampard to go towards goal. Both could have ended up in the net. Torres is a quality player who will deliver sooner or later. He has to get used to a different team playing a different style of football. Is he worth 50 million quid? Not on the field. Is he a striker that can get you goals? Yes.

    Of course, the big question is when will Torres come good. Anyone who thinks Torres is finished or won’t help Chelsea shoyuld consider how poor Berbatov was at Man United early on but now he has come good. I predict that Torres will do more for Chelsea than Berbatov has done for Man United.

    • Maybee

      March 2, 2011 at 2:08 pm

      Berbatov and Torres are completely different. Berbatov never had a solid season of great performances like Torres’ first season at Liverpool. Berbatov is a luxury player. He’s capable of producing great moments of genius and magic, but he’s not a consistent week-in-week-out player. Torres used to be, but he’s lost it.

    • MilotiNY

      March 2, 2011 at 2:50 pm

      Terence – I watched the same game you did. Now, look, he had some moments but nothing to brag about. One pass or two passes in 95mins are nothing . I’ve watched every Torres’ game since he arrived at Anfield and since that first season, he hasn’t had a good season – Fact! (Like Rafa used to say). I don’t want to contradict myself but he sure is a quality striker when he has his moments, which nowadays are very rare. Speaking in terms of consistency, he’s been not so great (including the time he played for Liverpool) – Fact. A 50mil player should be consistent. I would expect a good game every other game from him. Just compare him with Christiano Ronaldo, David Villa, Lionel Messi or even Eto’o. NOT IN THAT CLASS. They have good games week in, week out.
      I agree with the comment below by Maybee.

  10. MilotiNY

    March 2, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    Oh, stop kidding yourselves. You’d expect far more from a 50mil striker. Give me a break. Torres did nothing, not one good pass, not one good clean shot – NADA. He just wandered around just like he did for the past two years at Liverpool. Torres has not had a good season since that first season at Anfield. I think this guy gets too much credit and not sure why. How many times do you see Torres setting up someone else ? Never! The only thing Torres is good at the moment, selling jerseys. That’s about it.
    And this coming from a Torres’ fan…

  11. Up the Chels!

    March 2, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    To be fair to Torres’s price, he comes with about 30-40 million quid per year in sponsorship deals, most of that goes to his club for the image rights to use the player. Based on his performances on the pitch, 50 million is WAY over value, having the most recognized and sponsored player in Europe on your roster and wearing your colours brings far more value to the club as a whole than just his performance on the pitch.

    • Maybee

      March 2, 2011 at 1:59 pm

      I confess I’m no expert on imaging rights and calculating a players worth, so I ask this in all seriousness: how long can Torres maintain a valuable imagine rights if he fails to preform?

  12. snavehtrebor

    March 2, 2011 at 11:30 am

    As a Liverpool supporter, I was initially very disappointed that he wanted to leave. Now that I have seen him play a few games with Chelsea, I think it was a great piece of business for Liverpool. He will certainly improve with Chelsea (nowhere to go but up) but his touch seems to have departed him since his last injury. The question now is, will he become Anelka at Chelsea (revitalizing a promising career) or Shevchenko (remember him?).

    Of course we overpaid for Carroll by an order of magnitude but that’s a different story.

    • Braedyn

      March 2, 2011 at 11:39 am

      Overpaid indeed. There was the English player premium fee, under 25 years old fee, the seller knows you’ve 50 million in your pocket fee, and the deadline day fee.

      Bottom line: Suarez & Carroll for a wantaway/out of form/sulking player & 1 million.

      • Maybee

        March 2, 2011 at 1:14 pm

        I agree completely. I’m sick of people saying how we overpaid for Carroll. In the overall context, when all the additions AND subtractions are done in the books, we’re out barely 2 million pounds in the January window. Pocket change in the world of football. And we essentially traded one sulky out-of-form striker who didn’t want to play for us with two younger, eager strikers with loads of potential itching to make a name for themselves at Liverpool. No question that Liverpool got the better of that deal.

        (and you forgot to mention another reason for the premium is because Newcastle has no one to replace him up front. As much as I like Ameobi on a personal level, skill-wise he can’t hold a candle to Carroll)

        • Braedyn

          March 2, 2011 at 1:17 pm

          I did forget that one. I also left out the Mike Ashley Vegas vacation fund add-on.

        • snavehtrebor

          March 2, 2011 at 1:35 pm

          I completely agree that Liverpool got the better deal; my point was that Carroll is a relatively unproven quantity. Makes me wonder if his performance w/Newcastle against Liverpool earlier this year had an impact, much the same as Torres’ only decent game in recent memory was against Chelsea earlier this season. I can picture Abramovic saying “we must have that striker!” and breaking out his comically large checkbook.

          I sure hope Carroll lives up to potential. His name sticks out quite a bit when you review this list: C Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic, Kaka, Torres, Figo, Zidane, Crespo, Carroll, Villa, Buffon.

          • Braedyn

            March 2, 2011 at 1:47 pm

            We’re definitely on the same page. The wait for his debut is getting painful at this point. Especially in the EL when Suarez is cup tied.

          • Maybee

            March 2, 2011 at 2:16 pm

            Of course, Carroll’s unproven potential, I agree. But when you by any player, ultimately you can only buy his potential. What he has or has not done for another club can serve as maybe a guide, but you can’t buy goals he’s already scored or trophies he’s already won. You’re buying HOPE of what he MIGHT do for you.

            To use an example from your list there: Kaka. When Madrid bought Kaka is 2008 based on his performance at AC Milan, he was absolutely worth the 56 million euro they paid. Yet, what he’s done for them (so far) has been labeled a failure by most.

            One thing I do know is that Carroll definitely has potential, and that his chances of realizing that potential is better at Liverpool under the guidance of Dalglish than at Newcastle under Pardew.

          • MilotiNY

            March 2, 2011 at 2:59 pm

            Quite frankly, I am really nervous for Carroll. Hope he does well in his first couple of games otherwise media (and us) will be after him. I think the pressure is a lot more on him than Torres.
            I’ve only seen him play a few games in EPL and he does look okay. Worth 35mil? Worth more than David Villa? Not so sure.
            I wish him well and hope he makes his debut against Man U this weekend and hope he scores a header.

  13. Natalie

    March 2, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Torres didn’t play that bad, As a striker myself you don’t really pass the ball forward? no one is really in front of you to get it, you lay it off to a mid or defender and make a run to open up. I understand how it’s hard to connect, once they do it will be great.

  14. RomaChelsea-American

    March 2, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Not going to get into the premise of the post but thank you (Gaffer) for writing about the “Clash of The Giants” NOT as a match review. We all can get that elsewhere

  15. Braedyn

    March 2, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Don’t you just love the internet, Gaffer? How dare you imply that a player who switched clubs without having to adapt to a different league, is now surrounded by better players, and has not really come close to scoring in the matches he’s played (and has been taken off after 65-odd minutes in the majority of them) is not playing up to 50 million pound potential?

    If these angry folks in here are content with Torres’ form and wouldn’t utter a disgruntled peep if he carries on like this until he agitates for his next pay-rise, then by all means complain about the article. But if all the anger is down to this piece not being congruent with your own blue-tinted reality, kindly save it for the CFC messageboards.

    So far the multi-million ruble gamble hasn’t paid off. Not that it won’t – but for now, surely no sane man can say it has.

  16. Snyder

    March 2, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Such rubbish. First learn how to be grammatically correct before you go and attempt to write an article about things you clearly have no knowledge in. After reading this completely pedestrian article, I have to pose you with this question: Did you even watch the game Tuesday? Torres played very well with the only thing missing from his performance being a goal. He’s only played 4 games for Chelsea and I think before you go off an critique him you might want to give him a chance to actually play for a few games. Maybe then can you make an actual statement about wether or not he was worth the money and about wether or not he’s as good as he was. Unfortuantely after reading this, I still wouldn’t read what you have to say about him even if you did give him the appropriate amount of time to prove himself as a player.

    • The Gaffer

      March 2, 2011 at 10:42 am

      Snyder, yes I watched the game Tuesday. Torres played well? You must have been watching a completely different game than me, but you’re entitled to your opinion as am I.

      The Gaffer

    • Guy

      March 2, 2011 at 11:01 am

      “First learn how to be grammatically correct before you go and attempt to write an article about things you clearly have no knowledge in.”

      You must be kidding. People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

      • Earl Reed

        March 2, 2011 at 12:52 pm

        What do you mean, prepositions are great words for sentences to end in.

  17. Dave C

    March 2, 2011 at 10:31 am

    It’s early days for him. He’s been out of form and/or injured for the best part of a whole year (since well before the WC), and it’s gonna take time for him to turn it around (if he ever does).

  18. Terry

    March 2, 2011 at 9:44 am

    This was actually Torres’ best perfromance for Chelsea so far. That he was better than in his last few games is encouraging because he did seem to link up better with his teammates. I’ve noticed that at Chelsea he looks to pass more than take on defenders himself as he did at Liverpool. This is a new role for him that he has to get used to. The quality of players around him is better than at Liverpool.

    I don’t think he will ever be as good as he was a couple of seasons ago for Liverpool but he has enough quality to score goals. Definitely not worth 50 million pounds but also definitely not another Shevchenko.

    • RUKKY

      March 2, 2011 at 12:15 pm

      there is an obvious improvement in torres’s perfomance…

  19. Maybee

    March 2, 2011 at 9:18 am

    As a Liverpool fan, I was terrified that Torres would go to Chelsea and turn it on, and we would see the fabled “Torres of old.” Sadly for him and Chelsea, he seems to have lost it. How long does this have to go on before we all just admit that he’s lost it? It’s been nearly two years since we’ve seen any prolonged spelled of quality or magic from the boy, yet we are still making excuses. At least he did put in a good season or so of genius for Liverpool before souring.

    He needs longer to settle in and “get on the same wave length” with his teammates?? Correct me if I’m wrong, but haven’t Suarez and David Luiz been with their respective teams the same length of time Torres has been with Chelsea? Yet they’ve both shown more spark and promise that he has AND both have already found the back of the net – which is especially impressive for Luiz, since he’s, you know, A DEFENDER. And Suarez and David Luiz have an added excuse of being in a new country and a new league, playing a new style of football.

    Torres has tapped out of excuses. Face it, he’s lost it. And Chelsea spent 50 million on a new Shevchenko.

    • Natalie

      March 2, 2011 at 11:37 am

      David luiz is a defender, not much connecting to do. Liverpool doesnt have any other strong strikers other than suarez so obviously he will. It’s very hard for 2 or 3 very talented strikers to connect. and DEFENDERS actually score..shocking right? NOT REALLY. defenders tend to make a lot of back post runs which is where goals are scored. you say they had to learn a new style of football, but torres is having to too. Liverpool doesn’t play the same as Liverpool. and hey remember FERNANDO TORRES..i don’t feel like he is originally from ENGLAND, maybe spain? so being in a new country and league wouldn’t really be saying much since he did the same thing.

      • Maybee

        March 2, 2011 at 1:00 pm

        Defenders don’t need to connect with their teammates? I didn’t realize that! Live and learn, huh?

        And my point wasn’t so much about the defender scoring, but about the STRIKER who fails to. When defenders score, it’s a happy bonus. When strikers fail to score it’s a bigger deal, because that’s their job.

        And Torres has played in England for 3 years. He’s used to the speed and physicality of the league. Unlike David Luiz and Suarez, who both look much better at the moment than Nando.

        But it’s okay, honey. I genuinely do understand the need to support and defend your player against all reason and logic. My team just went through it with some Spanish kid that duped some Russian dude into buying for twice his worth – oh wait….

        • Natalie

          March 2, 2011 at 6:05 pm

          defenders initiate the connection. it’s not as much connecting as the strikers?

          hm i feel like you made a big deal since you CAPITALIZED it. just saying.

          okay my point is many players have to deal with that, fernando did when he came over so that shouldn’t be a valid reason? get it?

          don’t call me honey, your probably a 40 year old creep.

          OH HAHHAHAHAHA thats fernando! GOOOD ONE.

          no matter what if fernando scores or not, he is a threat teams double him and he causes a distraction. since people are still so intimidated and scared of such an awful player. OBVIOUSLY he is still good.

          P.S don’t say anything negative about players, i’d love to see your ass play. HA

    • Natalie

      March 2, 2011 at 11:44 am

      also, if you remember at first chelsea offered 30 million, and liverpool said no 50 million plus Anelka. It was not chelsea’s first bid. So if you don’t like to 50 mill price tag or think it’s tooo much, blame your club.

      • snavehtrebor

        March 2, 2011 at 11:46 am

        Hi Nat- who are you disagreeing with, exactly?

        • Natalie

          March 2, 2011 at 6:06 pm

          a lot of people. hahaha

  20. Your Ma

    March 2, 2011 at 8:57 am

    ‘But to watch him now is sad.’

    Sad for whom?

    One of the worst articles ever written on EPL Talk. No mention of his goal that was disallowed for a phantom foul? Really, no mention of it?

    • oliver

      March 2, 2011 at 9:17 am

      I agree – apparently Chelsea didn’t even create a chance until the 40th minute. I must have dreamed that Malouda shot straight at Van Der Sar in about the 4th minute

    • The Gaffer

      March 2, 2011 at 10:03 am

      Sad for neutral fans such as myself who have seen the best of Torres, but now we see someone who is lost.

      The article was not a match review and thus didn’t focus on phantom fouls. The story was about Torres.

      The Gaffer

      • Your Ma

        March 2, 2011 at 12:46 pm

        Torres scored a goal that was disallowed. I think that should be mentioned in a story about Torres.

        • The Gaffer

          March 2, 2011 at 12:53 pm

          According to Kevin McCauley of SB Nation:

          In the second minute, a Fernando Torres volley off of a corner kick went into the back of the net off of the underside of the crossbar, but his goal was disallowed due to the man who headed the ball to him, David Luiz, tugging at the shirt of Nemanja Vidic.

          The Gaffer

          • Your Ma

            March 2, 2011 at 12:56 pm

            I guess the point you are trying to make is that it was a legitimate foul? Fair enough, but it was a legitimately excellent strike from Torres, whether it counted or not. Probably deserved a mention in an article reviewing his performance, thats all.

            Keep ’em coming, you’ve obviously stirred some debate which I’m sure was your aim.

        • MilotiNY

          March 2, 2011 at 3:02 pm

          If the whistle is blown before the shot is taken, or if a foul is called, that’s the end of it. You don’t have to mention it ever. It’s a disallowed goal, nothing to it. Goals like that happen in regular basis.

  21. FC Asheville

    March 2, 2011 at 8:16 am

    Torres’ work rate is a joke! “He’s not getting the service he needs.” Wow…we constantly heard the same thing at LFC and now Chelsea. How many of the world’s top teams can he play for and not find service? At least at LFC his laziness wasn’t so obvious, but now when he’s on the field next to Anelka, Drogba, etc his lack of effort really stands out.

    • Red20

      March 2, 2011 at 9:01 am

      This is a great point and it was something that was well known at Liverpool. This season his amount of ‘runs’ (80% sprints) had decreased noticeably from last year. He blames service, while everyone else knows the truth.

      It’s hard for strikers in the PL to get good service unless they work their ass off for it. It was really hard for me to accept while he was at Liverpool, but is clear as day to me now. He’s gotten very very lazy on the pitch, and that directly correlates with his goal scoring rate.

      • Natalie

        March 2, 2011 at 11:31 am

        i mean for liverpool he didn’t try because HE DIDN’T WANT TO BE THERE. he asked several times to leave. and it’s very hard for strikers to connect right of the pitch

  22. Attaturk

    March 2, 2011 at 6:26 am

    I too didn’t think Torres was that bad, nor did I think Chelsea were terrible in the First Half. In fact, I thought the First Half was pretty equal with both teams going on runs, but only United able to capitalize on bad defending that had little to do with Fernando Torres. That wasn’t exactly some League 2 side they were up against in the FA Cup, it was ManU.

    And while Torres gets used to his new team, I think Chelsea got great value from Luiz who once again looked like an elite player who is getting a good handle (and a good ability to escape cards) on the Premier League’s style of play.

    • Simon Burke

      March 2, 2011 at 1:02 pm

      I agree, thought Torres looked lively and put in a good effort. Chelsea were poor first half but people have to remember that football is a 90 minute game game not a 45 minute one. Chelsea overall played pretty well though I hate to say it but the ref certainly helped Chelsea out on the day. Still, that’s karma for you Rooney.

      What is a 50 million pound player? No-one is worth it. If Torres scores 30 a season its not worth it. If he comes good and keeps Chelsea in the CL next season it will start to pay itself off. Its not Torres fault that he cost that much.

  23. Liam

    March 2, 2011 at 6:17 am

    Torres played really well against United.He linked play and held the ball up and
    played for the team.His movement was fantastic which made space for other
    players to attack.Chelsea’s first chance of the game was in fact Malouda after
    4 minutes whan he was in a great position to score but hit his shot at the keeper.Essien had a shot deflected wide after 11 minutes.It’s quite obvious
    you missed the first 15 minutes of the game.Chelsea’s worst player by a long way was Ivanovic who should have been subbed at half time.

    • Earl Reed

      March 2, 2011 at 7:18 am

      There were at least 4 or 5 times when the ball was cleared into space towards van der Sar’s area, when I said to myself, “Here comes Torres! Where’s Torres?!?”

      From an attacking point of view, I agree about Ivanovic. His service to the box was subpar, and maybe that contributed to the way Torres was perceived. But remember that Nani was on the left flank the entire match, and I suspect that the Serb is considered stronger than Bosingwa or Ferreira in the defensive third. And if you consider, Nani only registered one shot, in the 5th minute, and it was blocked off by Terry. Not only that, but with how often it appears that David Luiz will be given rope to move forward in attack, a guy like Ivanovic folds back to cover that defensive position very well.

  24. Sir Cecil

    March 2, 2011 at 5:59 am

    You say of Torres’ passing: “Of those 16 successful passes, only eight were in a forward motion; the others were side-to-side or backwards.
    He’s a striker! Of course he has to pass sideways or backwards half the time – the rest of the team is behind him for most of the game!
    A rather pitiful article for a host of other reasons too, not least the missing words and punctuation like in this rubbish: “Based on his current form, I don’t he’s mentally or physically capable of doing it. But as we saw Tuesday night, a goal can change everything And the Luiz goal changed Chelsea”.
    Shocking stuff.

    • Stacy Richardson

      March 2, 2011 at 6:36 am

      I think it fair to say EPL Talk is not the only site on the ‘net which could benefit from a greater emphasis on copyediting.

    • The Gaffer

      March 2, 2011 at 8:58 am

      Sir Cecil, one word was missing from that sentence: i.e. ‘think’ as in I don’t think he’s mentally or…

      Not shocking at all mate.

      The Gaffer

    • Guy

      March 2, 2011 at 11:55 am

      Internet blogs are no place for the grammatically pure to be wandering without an escort. 😉

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