With two of Chelsea’s goals vs. Southampton coming from centre-backs and with the constant murmur amongst Chelsea fans you would assume Fernando Torres isn’t their chosen man to lead the line. However, with Chelsea having such an influential and high status midfield, that can attack by themselves, Fernando has had to change his style of play and this appears to have gone unnoticed.
Torres found himself pulling the centre-backs wide throughout Sunday’s game to create space for the likes of Mata, this also provided him with opportunities to receive balls in this position and carry it down the line, where he could swing the ball in for team-mates, one particular stand-out moment of his game was one of these situations: he won the ball out wide and took it to the by-line and landed the ball on Oscar’s head where he failed to beat the Saints keeper Boruc.
Having a 50% crossing accuracy illustrates his willingness to adapt during the game, for instance, when Chelsea went down 1-0 after 13 seconds they immediately pressed higher up the pitch, which in a way suffocated Fernando; he then used his intelligence to move wider, which lead to him being more creative and crossing the ball. His creativity was also reflected by the fact he had 3 successful dribbles, one third of his season total, showing he is a man that is steadily building confidence under his new manager. His dribbling even resulted in a chance created which isn’t reflected by statistics, when winning a free kick on the edge of the box which was stuck venomously by Frank Lampard.
I think every real football fan around the world is waiting for ‘El Nino’ to return to his goalscoring form and whenever he has a chance they all pray it hits the back of the net simply because of his potential. An event that will have had everyone holding their breath was during the first half when Hazard turned his man, played a perfectly weighted pass to Mata, who then chipped the ball across the 6 yard box where Torres showed off his attacking ability, checking his man before dropping back to provide himself with space to reach the floating ball. Unfortunately for Torres, Boruc was at hand to prevent an equaliser. This header was 50% of his total shots all game and was the only one on target, and with Fernando expressing such goal threatening quality only once in 84 minutes emphasises that although he looks a happy man and confidence looks to be rising, Torres just isn’t there yet and needs to be at least ‘having a go’.
Whilst he’s not scoring, Fernando Torres needs to hope and wish that fans will learn to appreciate the new role of a striker or I think he could struggle to hold his place when Romelu Lukaku returns from loan. With games approaching against the likes of Stoke and Crystal Palace, Torres may be able to work some of his magic and gather some momentum to carry him through Christmas, which should hopefully see him take his goal tally to higher than one and also improving his disappointing chance conversion of 9%.