One match on the bench and one new player at his position was all it took for Fernando Torres to look like the man he’s been for Chelsea for most of his tenure with the club.
For some reason, the League Cup, which usually is the last thing on the minds of managers like Rafa Benitez, busy with Premier League matches and usually Champions League worries as well. This time, without the UCL and a boss that needs to see titles, even from the minor kind, the home match against Swansea, a First Leg in the League Cup semifinal, took on a different suit of importance. Maybe giving Marko Marin a start instead of Eden Hazard would have helped the team create some width on attack, instead of Juan Mata running into a pl
While Chelsea were the better side in Stamford Bridge, creating many chances, mostly through their midfielders who simply couldn’t put the ball in the net, Swansea were never panicked or rushed. They played their style of short passing, slowing down the pace, waiting for some kind of breakdown to capitalize on in the Chelsea defense. Branislav Ivanovic helped take the lead and also seal the deal just before the final whistle.
Rafa Benitez refused to blame the Serbian centre back from being the direct culprit in both goals, but it was hard to find someone else. He wouldn’t like to bash Torres from a terrible performance, in which he simply hid from the ball and tried as much as possible to stay away from the box. All the talk of him regaining his confidence and goalscoring form went out the window because of one FA Cup match on the bench, and the arrival of Demba Ba.
The crowd has once again turned against Benitez, losing two matches at home in a couple of weeks. Suddenly, they care about the League Cup as well, if it’s a chance to sing for Di Matteo and Frank Lampard, who only played for 20 minutes off the bench.
It was also a chance to see how Demba Ba should capture the lone striker position very quickly. In the nine minutes he spent on the pitch instead of Fernando Torres, who was paraded by some boos and jeers from the home fans as he walked towards the dug out, he was much more dangerous than the Spaniard, even scoring a goal that I’m still not quite sure was actually offside.
Playing the whole magical trio together, at the moment, isn’t the best of ideas. Too much congestion, as both Oscar and Mata drift to the middle. While Azpilicueta does his job well of coming forward, filling the gap on the wing to provide a cross or a pass, Ashley Cole remains too refrained from overlapping the winger. Using Victor Moses has become one of the changes in the Benitez regime, and it’s actually one of the better decisions he’s made since becoming the Chelsea manager.
Maybe giving Marko Marin a start instead of Eden Hazard would have helped the team create some width on attack, instead of Juan Mata running into a player who wants to play in the same position. Other than David Luiz in another solid performance in the midfield, Chelsea as a group were a huge disappointment.