There were many things to be happy about for Chelsea after their 2-1 win, as slight underdogs, at the Emirates against Arsenal, but having Fernando Torres finally back on the score-sheet in another so-so performance from him and his team was the best news they could have asked for.
Chelsea are simply not an impressive side. Not yet, and maybe not at all this season, no matter how far we go down the line. No driving force in the middle of the field makes this team a bit underwhelming and disappointing to watch because of the big names. Efficiency and making the most of individual brilliance here and there seems to be the general idea, that maximizes the talents on the team.
Torres hasn’t scored a league goal in over a month, and it wasn’t just about him finding himself in yet another goal drought. He was playing badly, failing to create chances and getting the mopey look on his face, the one Chelsea fans have grown to know so well. The goal against Wolves in the Carling Cup was just the warm up; Torres wasn’t great against Arsenal. There was nothing great, offensively, for Chelsea, about that match. But they finished, somehow, with two goals, including Torres showing a bit of striker genius by slipping by Koscielny (not too difficult) and scoring the opening goal.
The rest? Brave defending, organized defending. John Terry appealed and Roberto Di Matteo went with the captain and was paid in full. Arsene Wenger tried to use some mind tricks before the match, something he’s usually very bad at, saying that Chelsea were lucky to win the Champions League. In truth? He was absolutely right. So they extended that run of luck, mixed in with a flat display from his offense and some terrible holes and mistakes in his defense, both on set pieces, both by Koscielny.
Juan Mata hardly did anything right, but his free kick won the match. Eden Hazard and Oscar worked hard, even getting some class touches on the ball here and there, but were mostly ineffective and dormant with their attacking play. Fernando Torres? Drew attention, but nothing much else. The key plays came from Ramires and Mikel, who made life impossible for Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta, who simply looked lost and trapped each time they ventured towards the Chelsea box.
The defense, with Luis and Terry strong as oaks in the middle looked a bit more confident and solid than it did in the Champions League draw with Juventus. Branislav Ivanovic and Ashley Cole handled Arsenal’s effective (usually) wings very well, keeping play in the congested middle, where Arsenal failed to create a quantity of opportunities. Even when they did, they had a striker who’s in worse form than Fernando Torres.