FERNANDO TORRES - The Great Illusionist
Harry Houdini, David Blaine, David Copperfield, Steven "Dynamo" Frayne and Fernando Torres...
What do all of these men have in common?
They are famous illusionists; masters at the art of deceiving the naked eye.
Why is our star striker being grouped in with these illusionists, you ask?
Fernando somehow manages to fool the majority of the footballing world time and again, making us truly believe he is on the road to recovery that will lead to the peak of form seen during his early Liverpool days.
His brief spells of form are like a sleight of hand or a rabbit out of the hat, it looks good and feels genuine, but upon closer inspection you can see beyond the illusion.
Unfortunately excluding the odd promising yet brief spurts of class we have witnessed from the Spaniard, we still haven't seen the striker we thought we had signed; the number 9 who struck dear into the hearts of opposing defences.
As a Chelsea fan, when he scores and puts in a good performance it makes your heart leap, you cannot help but believe he will push on and score the goals we need to challenge in the top competitions. You get your hopes up, then he falls at the next hurdle.
A regular pattern seems to be emerging with Fernando;
- He will go on a baron run, not scoring and playing particularly poorly
- He will suddenly spring to life for a few games & score some good goals
- This short burst of form will make fans and pundits alike believe he is on the road to recovery
- Then he returns back to number 1 for the cycle to repeat
It just feels like Fernando's form template is the reverse of what a regular striker's would be. When a striker loses form he loses it for a brief amount of time before springing back into life and scoring goals. Torres on the other hand is out of form for a long while then has brief spurts of good performances before playing woefully again.
You just have to look back at his rocky Chelsea career thus far to prove this sentiment.
His first half-season at Chelsea was a difficult one, he had 13 games without a goal leading into the home match against West Ham United. With some assist from the weather he broke his Chelsea duck, then the pure emotion he and the team showed in the celebration was infectious and bled over to all us fans. I remember thinking after that rainy day out at the Bridge, "he is back, we have the best striker in the Premier League in our ranks! It's us against the world". But we all know now that wasn't the case.
Fast forward to the start of the 2011/2012 season, Fernando had a very good run scoring 4 goals in 3 games against United, Swansea and Genk. The buzz surrounding our Spaniard was electric, he was 'consistently' scoring and looking like somewhere near back to his best under new manager AVB.
What ensued was unpredictable even for Torres' standards, the 3-5 loss against Arsenal marked the start of a run lasting 5 months for our striker - a 5 month goal drought, spanning from October 2011 to March 2012. This horrendous form in front of goal ended with his brace against Leicester in the cup, which again meant that the old mantra was once again repeated, "Torres is getting back to his best!".
This was followed by a return of 1 goal in his next 10 games...
Then we got the treat of his goal in the Barca game followed by his first hat-trick in Chelsea colors (against London rivals QPR)!
'Fernando is back...' Right?
His Chelsea career has been, and continues to be, an unbelievable roller-coaster of changing perspectives. From Torres being completely useless, to being on the road to recovery and then back to useless again at the drop of a hat!
So, because of his arguable failures so far as a Chelsea player, we as fans we have always made excuses for our number 9;
- Didier Drogba is always standing in his way
- We don't have good enough playmakers behind him
- We don't play across the floor enough to play to his strengths
- Previous managers didn't understand him
- (Insert generic excuse to pull the responsibility/blame from Torres onto someone else's shoulders)
Enter Oscar and Hazard the playmaking maestros, meaning Torres cannot blame his service.
Exit Didier Drogba and Romelu Lukaku (without replacements), meaning there is no other competition for his spot in the team whatsoever.
It is safe to say that we put all of our eggs into Fernando's basket for this season, we let go our legendary striker Didier Drogba and loaned out the promising young talent Romelu Lukaku to reassure our number 9 that he is the main man at Stamford Bridge.
Anticipation was rife at the start of the new season, we had exciting new talents waiting in the wings to support golden boy Torres, and early on he delivered! El Nino bagged 5 goals in his first 10 competitive Chelsea games...
Again pundits and Chelsea fans alike comment on how he is finally getting the proper service and showing what he can do in a Chelsea shirt! The Blues were top of the league, playing attractive football, winning games and our striker was scoring goals, what could possibly go wrong?
The next 11 games played, Torres managed 1 goal, seeing us drop from 1st place down to 3rd in just a month.
Then came a trademark knee jerk decision by Roman that he is famous for; Exit Di Matteo and enter Rafa Benitez - the manager who 'understands' Torres.
After the change in managerial personnel, our striker goes on to score 5 in 3, showing that Benitez was the key to get Torres firing! ...Right?
Well maybe not...
This could prove to be a 'hoax' when looking closer at the opposition;
FC Nordsjælland - Very weak team, especially in Champions League terms
Sunderland - Leaking goals for fun and not looking anything like a cohesive unit, fighting in the relegation battle
Monterrey - 7th in the Mexican League (Liga MX)
Looking at his performance against Corinthians, it looks like another short burst of form for Torres is over again, he missed 2 golden opportunities and scored an offside goal when he was looking across the line and had time to get onside.
As they say hindsight is 20/20, and I have to say I think it was the wrong decision to put all of our eggs into Fernando 'the illusionist Torres' basket - it could have a removable bottom!
What do you think Chelsea fans?
Article by Martin Smith
Follow me on twitter @MartinSmithCFC
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Carefree & KTBFFH!