Fernando Torres got the keys to the kingdom despite a terrible first 18 months with Chelsea, securing the starting striker job from Roberto Di Matteo and the ownership, but after a decent start, both he and the club, that’s still winning the league, aren’t playing well, which reminds everyone of the pretty awful scoring record.
Five matches into the new season, Torres stands at two goals in five matches, and seems to be going the same way the players behind him, with Oscar, Mata and Hazard starting together for the first time, not finding much space or success against a Stoke team that did pretty well what it comes to do in away matches – suck the life out of the game.
Eventually, it was Ashley Cole who found the net, surprising for a player who hasn’t scored in the previous two seasons. And although Chelsea continue to grab wins and lead the Premier League, Di Matteo can’t be pleased with what he’s seeing from his team, still trying to find the right kind of formula to produce the attacking and easy on the eye football that Abramovich demanded to come along with the mega signings of Oscar and Eden Hazard.
More worrying? Not that Torres isn’t scoring. The body language and the evident lack of confidence from last year are back. It’s no longer a matter of the faith that’s entrusted upon him. Torres’ old demons of simply not being a good enough player, eaten by frustrations and a few misses because he doesn’t even manage to get into position to shoot at goal, are back and alive inside his head.
Di Matteo was willing to place part of the blame on the trio of attacking midfielders, but not on his striker: Torres is in a very good mood because he is a team that is at the top of the league. A team with Oscar, Hazard and Mata all starting clearly needs more work and practice, but I feel it will be successful. It is a question of time and letting them to know each other better. I want them to have mobility and to try and find the space, but we lacked a little width at times and we need our full-backs to provide that at times.
Anyway, I don’t care who scores as long as we keep winning. We have goals coming from every area of the team this this makes us less predictable. We have players with great technical ability and guys who are good in small spaces. Every team that comes to Stamford Bridge play deep and it will be good to have players like this who should be able to break down this kind of opponent.
Maybe it is just a matter of time, and these talented players will eventually start clicking instead of randomly finding success through some act of brilliance, like the Oscar goal against Juventus or Eden Hazard’s performances through the first three matches. Frank Lampard on the bench feels like the right decision, which should leave Obi Mikel and Ramires in a bit of a more defensive mood, while Oscar takes over more playmaking duties.
Fernando Torres’ happiness and scoring record, whether he likes it or not, isn’t up to him. It’s up to Di Matteo and the Mata-Oscar-Hazard combo to click quickly, and create chances for someone who used to be the best striker in the world for a very short time, but at the moment can hardly get a shot at goal through 90 minutes.