Monday, October 28, 2013

Fernando Torres reborn?

Fernando Torres' malaise at Chelsea following his 50M move from Liverpool has attracted as many column inches as nearly any other issue in football in the past few seasons.

Such has been the level of his misery that opposition fans - including even some Liverpool ones - had stopped making fun of him and had started feeling sorry for him, it was horrible to watch, everyone just wanted him to be put out of his misery.

Torres admitted that at the height of his problems he simply didn't want to play and when he did, he didn't want to even receive the ball so bereft of confidence was he.

Nearly every critic and pundit in football had written Torres off, his pace had gone and he would never ever be the player he once was at Liverpool. The unplayable El Nino who tore Nemadja Vidic to pieces, those days were over.

Torres did actually score a good few goals for Chelsea last season but there was always a feeling that he was not showing up against the big teams. There were two many solitary goals in matches like the 8-0 hammering of Villa.

Now one swallow does not make a Summer but Torres' performance against City was magnificent. It also epitomised Torres' stay at Chelsea moving from the ridiculous to the sublime.

Back in September 2011 Torres played extremely well at Old Trafford in Chelsea's 3-1 defeat. Torres scored right after half time with a deft chip to haul Chelsea back into the match. Late on in the game he broke forwards and sublimely dummied David De Gea before missing an open goal. It was typical of Torres.

Against City it looked a case of deja vu with a shocking miss in the first half. This however appears a far mentally tougher Torres who responded by burning off Gael Clichy and supply a wonderfully clever pass for Andre Schurrle to score before marauding down the left and crashing an unstoppable shot against the junction of bar and post.

Torres' never give up attitude paid off in the final moments when he chased down a hopeful punt and took advantage of the ensuing chaos in the City defence to score the winner.

Now all this of course sounds like a bit of  a Torres love in and given his travails he probably does deserve one, but the question we have to honestly ask is he truly back?

There have been suggestions that the problems are all in his head and certainly anyone that saw him roast Gael Clichy yesterday would bare testament to the fact that he does not look short of pace or power. His shooting boots also looked in good working order with his second effort if not the first.

One interesting point was Mourinho's reaction to his hitting the woodwork. Mourinho almost looked a broken man at that stage possibly laying bare just how much he is investing personally in the rejuvenation of his Spanish No9.

Much of the scrutiny regarding Torres has surrounded his performances in the big games but even then that record can be misleading. He did so famously score the goal that sealed the win over Barca two season ago. Last year he scored in the UEFA Cup Final and he scored in this year's Super Cup as well as scoring twice last week in Germany in a must win game for Chelsea.

It is still unlikely that Torres' spell at Chelsea will ever be remembered as anything except a failure but his stats do deserve more consideration than people may realise. Should Torres continue this type of form under Mourinho then there may be a case for true optimism for the former Spain centre forward who of course will have a World Cup that he will want to go to - No Nonsense.