Every time you feel Fernando Torres is going to have a special day to bring him out of the doom & gloom he’s been experiencing since becoming a Chelsea player, he finds a way to f$%^ it up. Every goal he scores is cause for celebration, but even Eden Hazard winning a penalty for him seemed to have the opposite effect.
Instead of putting the tie against Steaua beyond doubt (Chelsea still went through with a 3-2 aggregate score), Torres just added another problem to his many lack-of-confidence issues. After the match, Rafa Benitez was asked if it was a mistake letting someone as fragile and volatile as Torres to take the shot from the spot.
We have three takers, he was one of them. It depends how they feel.
Maybe if Frank Lampard was on the pitch the penalty would have gone to him, but Juan Mata has also been taking them, and he was on the pitch as well. For a shot that’s suppose to go in 75-80% of the time, it sure looked like a much more difficult one for Torres, despite becoming the only player to score in all 7 competitions Chelsea played in this season.
Chelsea did make things complicated for themselves – after Juan Mata scored in the first half, they simply had to concede a goal from Vlad Chiriches and make things complicated once again, now having to score two more goals because of the silly away goal rule that has no place anymore, probably never had.
And Chelsea came through – Rafa Benitez, according to legend, calmed things down in the dressing room, and a different team was out on the pitch to save the day. Not new players – he stuck with the lineup that brought him there till the 90th minute, but a new attitude. Suddenly it was Eden Hazard looking quite the dominant player, and when Hazard is on his game, Chelsea do look like that team from earlier this season, when they couldn’t stopped winning to begin their Premier League season.
Juan Mata and Oscar were in on it to, while Torres was simply waiting for the chance to be created for him. After John Terry scored the 2-1, killing Steaua’s confidence in trying to score another, the combination of Mata and Hazard created another chance for Torres, this time finding the net for the first time in March and for only the third time in 8 weeks. Nothing’s changed for him, despite the early season success.
So Chelsea carry on to make this season one of their most tiring ever, booking two more matches in the Europa League quarterfinals, not to mention their early April schedule, which should see them play four matches in nine days. The squad isn’t too deep to make them feel confident about heading into that kind of grind, but maybe feeling a bit better about everything thanks to the last couple of results, showing what kind of lineup will work best for Benitez (hint – it’s what worked best for RDM as well), and hopefully, finding Fernando Torres in a tad more confident form.