The entire lineup Chelsea used for their League cup match screamed second string, or ‘Jose Mourinho doesn’t believe in you,’ although with enough quality to probably do quite well against better rivals, a strong performance from current misfits Fernando Torres and Juan Mata was enough to qualify into the next round and prove their manager he needs to take them more seriously.
There’s nothing new about managers not believing and changing their minds again about Fernando Torres, who has a knack for scoring in cup competitions but freeze when it’s time to do the same in the Premier League. That’s why Juan Mata has been a much more interesting subject to explore; that, and the fact that he’s been Chelsea’s best player over the last couple of years.
Mourinho changed all that, giving his League Cup side that traveled to Swindon and won 2-0 a very international look, as the two Spaniards were joined by country-mate Cesar Azpilicueta in the defense, while David Luiz, Michael Essien and Kevin de Bruyne also got a rare chance to show they deserve more.
Marco van Ginkel lasted only 10 minutes, taken off with an injury, that let Ramires into the match, in what was probably the change that gave them the early stretch of dominance, leading to two goals, both coming within six minutes of each other to officially end the encounter after 35 minutes.
Fernando Torres was the hottest man on the pitch. First it was his finish and reaction to a stop by Swindon’s Wesley Foderingham, reacting to the rebound opportunity quicker than anyone, and then it was his assist to Ramires, setting up a very nice volley shot for the Brazilian to score.
And that was that. Mata and Willian combined for some pretty passing, and Chelsea only tried defending and trying to make the clock somehow run faster, not wanting to stay an extra minute at the County Ground, a place the club hasn’t played in since the days Glenn Hoddle was their manager.
Jose Mourinho doesn’t make sense in his reasoning to bench Juan Mata, and actually comes out attacking the player in the media when he’s questioned about his absence. It’s hard to tell if this match, which was OK for Mata but nothing out of the ordinary, can help convince the Portuguese manager that it’s time to stop freezing out his best player, even if he doesn’t make sense for him tactically, which makes even less sense as an argument.
Torres is in the picture of the lineup, even if right now Jose Mourinho prefers Samuel Eto’o for some unknown reason. Maybe getting him into match fitness as soon as possible, but that shouldn’t be enough, especially after it has cost the team some crucial points in the league and the Champions League.
Chelsea have a deep squad, but also some unhappy faces, with a manager that doesn’t exactly seem comforting to those with a plea to find themselves in the lineup, and especially those with some backing from the media that tends to oppose Mouriho’s general idea of how his team should look. Maybe by making a match look comfortable for once, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata got closer to finding themselves a bit more playing time.