The two biggest signings in the 2011 winter transfer in the Premier League saw Fernando Torres move from Liverpool to Chelsea for £50 million and Andy Carroll switch from Newcastle to Liverpool for £35 million. Both players have come under a lot of criticism from fans and media alike as neither of them have produced much since their moves nearly 2 years ago.
Andy Carroll has been in and out of the Liverpool side and then loaned to West Ham this season where he still seeks his first Premier League goal of the season having failed to score in his first 6 appearances. Carroll is without a Premier League goal in his last 12 games in all, since his late winner at Blackburn towards the end of last season.
Fernando Torres is a different story. He is playing at a more successful club in recent times and amongst much more creative players. This season, Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar have all been playing behind the striker to create chances for their team mate. Most strikers would be grateful to have just one of those gifted players in their team, but Torres has the luxury of all 3.
So it comes as little surprise that Fernando Torres has actually scored a few goals. 4 goals in 10 Premier League starts to be precise. But can this be classed as a success? I’m not even taking his price tag into account here, but he’s playing as the sole striker in the second-highest scoring team so far this season (ok, third if we include Fulham’s 3 yesterday but Chelsea have a game in hand), in which he has been substituted just once this season (and that was with 10 minutes to go). I say no. And his performances have quite frankly, been very poor.
Only the ever-present Petr Cech and Ashley Cole have played more minutes than the 869 Fernando Torres has been on the pitch in England’s top flight so far this season for Chelsea. 22 of those missed minutes were down the Spaniard himself for being sent off in a 3-2 defeat against Manchester United.
In all those minutes, Fernando Torres has only attempted 20 shots on goal. That’s an attempt on goal every 43 minutes for the sole striker of a side that only Manchester United had scored more goals than heading into the weekend. In comparison, Luis Suarez attempts a shot every 18 minutes, Olivier Giroud every 23 minutes, Jermain Defoe every 24, Robin van Persie every 27 and Nikica Jelavic every 31 minutes.
Having seen a number of Chelsea’s games this season (Champions League as well), Fernando Torres has looked as bad as some of his stats show. Often he’s not even getting into the box to get on the end of a cross or create space for a team mate to find him; sometimes hanging outside the right-hand area of the box. He looks too static with his back to goal and not on the shoulder of defenders like he used to be at Liverpool; making it difficult for the likes of Mata, Hazard and Oscar to play him in.
On the counter attack, I have seen him overrun the ball or simply run into a defender on numerous occasions this season. And despite this, Sky Sports commentators will throw in a superlative for him. He’s shocking at holding the ball off and does not lay the ball off very well, wasting potential counter attack opportunities for Chelsea.
Eden Hazard was all the talk after a 2-0 victory over Wigan on opening day. Fernando Torres was very quiet that day before a busy game against Reading during the week. Chelsea came from 2-1 down to win 4-2 in the second half. Torres fired in 6 of his 20 shots in that game alone. Only one of them was on target though, but it did find the net at least. A close-range tap-in.
A goal followed the following weekend in what was arguably Fernando Torres’ best performance this season. He won a penalty midway through the first half after a nice run into the box which saw Hazard convert to give the champions of Europe the lead. And then at the end of the half, toe poked the ball into the top corner from 18 yards. Without doubt his best finish of the season. That was his only shot of the game.
An unproductive performance in a 0-0 draw at Queens Park Rangers followed as Chelsea dropped points for the first time this season. The game also saw Torres subbed for the only time in the first 10 games, this coming in the 81st minute having had just 1 shot in the game.
Chelsea were able to beat Stoke City 1-0 the following weekend, a game in which Ashley Cole popped up to score the games only goal in the 85th minute. Chelsea’s striker failed to have a single shot on target in this game; 1 of 2 times that has happened in the Premier League to this point.
A grab of Laurent Koscielny’s shit and Fernando Torres volleyed home nicely to give Chelsea the lead during a 2-1 victory at Arsenal at the end of September. His only other attempt in that game failed to test Vito Mannone. Sky Sports were quick to praise Torres, but there were a number of times in this match he had chances to cause Arsenal threats on the counter attack in which never lead to anything positive for the Blues, and mostly to turning the ball over.
Thinking the goal and victory over Arsenal would spring the Spaniard into life, he was made my fantasy football captain the following weekend for a home game against struggling Norwich City who were conceding goals for fun. A hattrick was on my mind. Chelsea didn’t disappoint. They won the game 4-1. Fernando Torres had two good chances in the game. One of which he headed home from just outside the 6 yard box to score Chelsea’s first. Another which produced a comfortable save from John Ruddy. It was a blocked scissor kick from Torres that lead to Frank Lampard smashing Chelsea ahead midway through the first half having fallen behind. 3 shots, 2 on target, 1 goal. Not quite the fantasy football points I had dreamt up.
And on 6 October that was Fernando Torres’ last Premier League goal. Despite Chelsea beating Tottenham 4-2, the Spaniard failed to get on the scoresheet. In fact, his only shot of the game came in the final minutes on a counter attack after Spurs were chasing the game. He shot wide.
68 minutes on the pitch against Manchester United before being sent off for a second yellow card. In that time he had a headed attempt well saved by David de Gea. He failed to get a single shot in with either boot.
Suspended for the midweek Capital One Cup tie, Torres returned for Chelsea’s next league game against Swansea City. Arguably the team were a bit tired playing their 4th game in 12 days, which included 2 games with Manchester United (one with 9 men, 1 went to extra time) and a trip to Ukraine to face Shakhtar Donetsk. Roberto Di Matteo could have done a better job rotating his squad. The Chelsea squad didn’t play too well in this game on the whole, Torres having a difficult and tame headed attempt to show for his 90-minute performance.
Chelsea host Liverpool today. In 4 appearances against his former side, Fernando Torres has not scored and not won any of them.