There is no clear number one striker for Chelsea, but there should be someone Jose Mourinho trusts more. His selection of Fernando Torres in the opening weekend of the Premier League while leaving Romelu Lukaku on the bench might have been the easier choice to make, but also the wrong one.
In terms of pure numbers, Lukaku had a much better season than Torres in 2012-2013, with 17 league goals for West Brom. Fernando Torres? He has scored only 15 league goals since signing with Chelsea. While he’s more experiences and has some European big-game success, there’s no doubt who is the more productive player at this stage of their careers.
Mourinho is trying to bring Torres back to life, as much as possible at least. Rafa Benitez did a decent job in that aspect last season, helping him win the Europa League, where Torres did very well, including scoring a goal in the final against Benfica. But if simply putting the best team on the pitch is what’s important to him, Torres isn’t the striker he should be using as his number one.
With an expectation of another long season in multiple competitions, it’s hard to believe just one striker is going to play a huge majority of the matches. But Mourinho, who isn’t known for someone who gives youngsters a chance, surprised many when he gave Kevin de Bruyne a chance to start in the lineup instead of Juan Mata, which is still too soon to tell if is a decision that is actually demoting Mata, like some feared would happen the moment Mourinho took the job, or is it about giving Mata some rest before tougher matches ahead. The same can bea asked about David Luiz, with Gary Cahill starting next to John Terry.
There’s a very limited potential to what Torres can do at this stage of his career. The physical deterioration, and the confidence that fluctuates all the time. Lukaku is a completely different type. Forceful, physical, confident, on his way up. Mourinho, who isn’t known for using youngsters too much, decided that even though he’s still trying to sign a striker, he wants Lukaku on the team. Even if Chelsea play with only one at a time.
Mourinho is obviously trying not to alienate anyone so early in his comeback to the club where he gets treated better than anyone else, but results are what he should bring, nothing else. Mourinho won’t win a new contract just because he’s fun to listen to in press conferences. The better results will come once Torres spends less time in the lineup, while Lukaku sees himself in it a lot more.