Chelsea’s Fernando Torres finally scores
After 732 goalless minutes, Fernando Torres’ first Chelsea strike has left many questions to be answered. At least, most now accept that Torres, still in a poor patch of form, is a striker of undoubted quality.
The sense of relief that reverberated around Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening was notable. The Chelsea players flocked to the Spaniard, burying him under a pile of blue shirts; suddenly, the media hate-storm came to a halt.
There was a sense of urgency, from the moment of his arrival on a sodden Stamford Bridge turf.
His first touch was a crisp pass to put Nicolas Anelka in on goal and just a few minutes later, it was those two who linked up again to break the duck.
The irony was in how El Niño found his long-lost footing on a pitch where so many had struggled to find theirs.
Torres was back and the Chelsea-faithfuls sensed their number nine had scored the first of many.
In the remaining minutes, he showed a sharp turn of pace to beat Wayne Bridge whilst always looking lively with the ball at his feet.
However, Torres’ little cameo has provided more questions than answers, most notably the conundrum of fitting two centre-forwards in one team.
Didier Drogba has been in devastating form of late, after his mid-season bout of malaria – he seems impossible to drop.
Carlo Ancelotti insisted this week, he would try tooth and nail to get the two of them functioning together for the visit of Spurs on Saturday.
The role of Didier Drogba, as a provider in recent weeks has encouraged this theory.
The Ivorian seems capable of roaming further back, with Torres occupying the front line. It’s a bold move though, to risk hindering the goal threat of last year’s golden boot winner.
Then, there lies the question of Chelsea’s plethora of other strikers.
Anelka may be set for a premature exit this summer with the emergence of Torres; it is difficult to find room for him with Chelsea’s emerging forward depth.
Saloman Kalou seems to be finally nearing his potential, after an indifferent Chelsea career thus far. He is a unique option with his willingness to run at defenders, but his touch needs some work.
Kalou, along with Drogba must be kept.
Even Chelsea fans have had a little chuckle at Daniel Sturridge’s brilliant loan form in light of Torres’ struggles.
Unneeded in January, his spell at Bolton has wielded seven goals in nine games, demanding a recall in the summer.
However, Sturridge will perhaps have to settle for game-time on the right of a Torres-led front three, but he is certainly a man for the future.
Despite his talent, lack of squad-room may force fellow loanee Fabio Borini to be sold to Swansea.
With just for games left however, still with a slim chance of the title, Chelsea need to stick to the tried and tested 4-3-3 setup. This means Drogba will probably limit Torres to more efforts off the bench.
Ancelotti, assuming he avoids the sack, will have a whole pre-season to experiment with variations of 4-4-2.
With time, this is going to be a very good Chelsea side. It’s a matter of patience for the owner on his investments and with his manager.
A likely second-place is not a disaster and with Torres’ long awaited arrival in London’s West, Chelsea could go one better next term.
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