Despite the unimpressive numbers, Fernando Torres is the best striker Chelsea have. It might only show when the team is playing in Europe, but if it’s something that puts his team back in control of the group, I’m pretty sure Jose Mourinho doesn’t really mind it.
Chelsea got a huge 3-0 win over Schalke in Germany, which means they’re once again in control of the group, pretty much erasing that opening match defeat at home to Basel. Mourinho took no chances when it came to his defense and left Ryan Bertrand off the pitch, instead using Branislav Ivanovic and Cesar Azpilicueta as his full backs.
The midfield with Frank Lampard and Ramires isn’t the perfect combination, but it’s pretty much the best they have right now, and against a soft and injured team like Schalke it’s more than enough, having no problem dominating possession and dictating the pace when necessary.
Eden Hazard continues his fabulous form with another goal, his first this season in the Champions League and his fifth in all competitions, making it three matches in a row with a goal. In the ever growing struggle to find a place in Chelsea’s attacking midfield unit, Hazard is back in a place where he’s showing that he’s the best player Mourinho has overall, leaving Juan Mata and Oscar behind.
Mata himself didn’t even play. Mourinho went on the defensive after scoring the second goal by putting in Obi Mikel for Andre Schurrle and David Luiz for Oscar, but that didn’t stop Eden Hazard from adding a third goal, showing that this team is on the right path in both the league and Europe, and that Mourinho knows what he’s doing.
When he’s enjoying himself, Fernando Torres actually looks like a striker who might be worth £50 million. His movement doesn’t seem labored, and it doesn’t look like he’s suffering when he’s with the ball. We’ve seen him score too many times before going on long droughts, especially when it comes to the league and tougher defenses than what teams like Schalke have to offer. There’s also the Mourinho rotation to consider, which means that Samuel Eto’o might start for the team against Manchester City. But as long as Torres makes the most of the opportunities given to him, proving once more there’s still some goals for him to give, there’s not much more to ask of him.
Chelsea did have some luck in the match, which means some nice saves by Petr Cech while it was still a one-goal game and a goalmouth scramble that went their way during Schalke’s better moments at the end of the first half, but you need that as well, as Chelsea enjoyed quite a lot of it over the last two years as they won two European titles. The difference this time is that Mourinho has a team that isn’t afraid of trying to dominate, and is a lot deeper than the squads both Rafa Benitez and Roberto Di Matteo had to work with. If you can allow yourself to keep Juan Mata on the bench for 90 minutes and still win by three goals in Germany, than you’re probably doing something right.