Fernando Torres has scored 5 goals so far this season in 10 matches, as well as a couple of assists. He has worked hard to chase and hassle opposing defenders in possession, and looked to link up with his midfield support when he gets the ball.
And yet, there are still concerns about the Chelsea number 9. There are times this season where he has looked nowhere near the player who tormented defenders a few years ago – especially the several times where he turned Nemanja Vidic around so many times the Serb needed to be unscrewed from the pitch afterwards.
The new Chelsea system is very much built around getting Torres opportunities to score. After witnessing many of his struggles first hand over the last 2 seasons, especially when playing as the central forward in a 4-3-3 system, I think that he now has the best opportunity of his Chelsea career. It was clear that he could not work as a like-for-like Drogba replacement in the same system, given the differences in style between him and the Ivorian. The times when Torres was at his best it was when he was hanging on the shoulder of the last defender, not having to hold the ball up, just to play short passes back to Mata then look to get towards goal.
Now that Drogba is in China, Lukaku is out on loan at West Brom and Daniel Sturridge hasn’t featured regularly, Torres is clearly the main Chelsea forward. Playing in the 4-2-3-1 system ought to mean that he can focus on getting himself into position to test opposing goalkeepers.
The problem is, so far, this hasn’t really been the case very often. Too often Torres has been running at defenders well outside of the area and either tried to dribble past too many players, missed passes to better placed teammates or simply failing to get past people with any speed. He has been at his best near the edge of the penalty area – his goals against Newcastle and Arsenal, and assist against Wolves in the League Cup are examples of this. For much of the rest of these games though, Torres looked a little slow and off the pace – and at times seems to be trying too hard to do something special, rather than doing the simple things well and getting himself back into rhythm.
Is it a case of him being out of form, needing a proper offseason rest or not being the force that he was a few years ago? These are questions that I think Di Matteo and the Chelsea hierarchy need to find answers to, because at the moment, he is not firing on anything near all cylinders I would like to see Sturridge get some more opportunities once he returns from injury, but also see Chelsea play in a way that allows Torres to focus on making chances and getting shots on goal, rather than either playing back to goal or having to hold off defenders 40 yards from goal.
I think that more depth is needed, and I have been watching West Brom with interest to see how Lukaku has been getting on now that he has chances to play regularly. There have been rumours of Falcao arriving in January for £45million as well, and while he is an exciting player who would be a very good addition to the squad, it would also show that the Chelsea management have very little faith in Torres.
Do you think the Blues need a new forward, or is Torres the right option but out of form? Let me know in the comments.