Despite giving his finest performance of the season thanks to Jose Mourinho realizing Juan Mata should be on the field, what everyone now remembers from Fernando Torres and his match against Tottenham was his scratching and sending off, which might result in a three-match suspension, taking Chelsea another step backwards.
Although Jose Mourinho might not mind. In his mind, Samuel Eto’o is his striker, and a suspended Torres means the Cameroonian can continue his bid to score his first Premier League goal, while Demba Ba anxiously awaits an opportunity that might not come at all.
But while Torres was quite busy mucking about with Jan Vertonghen, who wasn’t exactly a boy scout on the day and had his regretful moments that the referee either missed or turned a blind eye to, like pulling down Torres in what resulted with a second yellow card to Torres, who on that occasion did nothing wrong, there was quite a decent performance from the Spanish striker.
Torres still has speed and vision to be tricky enough around defenders who leave channels open for him. All he needs is the right player providing him with assists. Maybe Jose Mourinho needed time to be convinced, but Juan Mata is the best attacking midfielder he has, even if doesn’t do defensive work as well as Oscar and Eden Hazard. Football teams can live with two players being out of the defensive assignments, and Mata and whoever plays as striker is a good choice for giving someone a bit of slack.
One of the problems for Fernando Torres since arriving at Chelsea has been consistency. A good match with a brace followed by 10 matches with no goals, even if he has played well in some of them. Strikers are measured in goals, especially when they’ve cost so much to bring over.
So once again, the moment Torres put in a good performance, his continuity is broken. It doesn’t really matter if Torres was acting on Mourinho’s orders as some like to think, giving the Portuguese manager some ammunition to claim Vertonghen is a diver, cheater and what not after the match. Torres blew a chance to score his first league goal of the season, because that where the game was heading in the second half, and ruined a chance for himself to win back his place in the lineup.
Torres is a player with plenty of football left in him, but he needs the right pieces around him to make it work. Early last season, the Eden Hazard combination worked well, as Hazard had a free role and was quite loose in positioning and style, enabling him to be the number 10 who provides for Torres. Juan Mata does that just as well, but Mourinho is in love with the idea of Oscar filling that role, even if he isn’t as good at it.
Like Jose Mourinho has said last week – he’s still learning and finding out what his best XI is, and is quite open to change, like promising Mata a starting spot in the lineup in the next Champions League match. If he keeps on giving the best player he has more minutes in the lineup, the bad taste to the bad start of the season might be soon forgotten.