Fernando Torres: 10 Radical Steps to Get Chelsea Striker Back in the Goals
He hasn't scored a goal in his last 24 matches. For almost half of his stay, he has gone without a goal.
Obviously, Torres isn't the elite striker he once was. However, going so long without a goal is pretty astounding for anyone that plays striker at such a high level.
Torres has come close on easy chances, tough chances and nearly impossible chances. Regardless, the man simply hasn't been able to put the ball in the net.
I have come up with some solutions to the problem. Some of them are a little more outlandish (as in, perhaps a bit absurd, but humorous) than the others, but they should all be considered, if Chelsea ever want Torres to score.
Play Torres for 90 Minutes in Every Game
With Didier Drogba just sitting on the bench, it is tough to rationalize giving Fernando Torres a full 90 minutes in every match.
Torres' form has left much to be desired, but he just needs to keep working through it. There's no way he will go for the rest of his career without scoring a goal, even if it may seem like it.
As Torres continues to accumulate minutes, he will get closer and closer to scoring that elusive goal. If he doesn't play very often, he will be unable to get in a rhythm and start scoring.
If Torres is playing all game, every game (as fitness allows), he will be able to find his form. It may take awhile, and it may be painful. However, it will eventually happen.
If Chelsea are dedicated to Torres, they will give him as many minutes as they possibly can.
Play Torres on the Wing
Fernando Torres needs as many touches as he can get.
On the wing, he will be able to get touches with space. When he receives the ball in the middle, he often finds himself surrounded by two or three defenders.
When his touch is off and his confidence is low, Torres needs to get clean touches. He can't do that in the middle of the field.
If Torres played on the wing, he would have plenty of space on every touch. Additionally, Torres' crossing and speed would give Chelsea more width and danger in their attack.
Chelsea have a bad habit of clumping in the middle. If Torres played as a winger, the side would be more prone to playing the ball wide and spreading the defense out.
Play with Two Strikers
Chelsea have the personnel to do it, so why don't they just commit to a two striker formation?
With all the midfielders, it might not be best in the grand scheme of things, but it would surely help Fernando Torres. I understand that he is a central striker, as is Didier Drogba, but he clearly isn't his old self (neither is Drogba).
To relieve pressure from the two of them, maybe just put them together. They haven't played well together in the past, but pride was an issue then.
If both men understand that they are mere shadows of the players they once were, they could coexist. They complement each other well, and the goals would come in bunches.
Have Torres Take Penalty Kicks
A penalty kick is a great way to affect a striker's confidence.
Sometimes it's in a good way. Sometimes it's in a bad way.
With Fernando Torres, however, it wouldn't hurt him too much. Torres' confidence is pretty low as it is, and I don't think it can get much lower.
Therefore, having him take penalty kicks is a low-risk, high-reward decision regarding his confidence. If he converts them, he will start to get a feel for scoring goals back.
If he doesn't, well, his confidence will most likely be completely shattered.
Let's face it. Chelsea need him to return to form. This is a necessary, calculated risk that will help him find that form.
Juan Mata is not a great option from the spot, and Frank Lampard hasn't been playing much. As a result, Torres should become Chelsea's first choice to take a penalty.
Change Torres' Boots with Every Missed Touch
When it comes to sports, I'm incredibly superstitious.
Maybe Fernando Torres is, too.
If Torres misses a touch, let's get him to the sideline to get new boots on. There's no way Torres is to blame for all these poor plays. The cleats have to share some of the blame.
From now on, if Torres misses a touch, he must come to the sideline, where Romelu Lukaku will be standing with two new pairs of cleats, and quickly choose a new pair of shoes to wear.
It may get a little tricky in the rain, but something has to be done after a missed touch. Putting his head in his hands sure hasn't helped Torres so far. Maybe this will do the trick.
Have Roberto Di Matteo Vehemently and Publicly Support Torres
Roberto Di Matteo is one of the most calm, collected managers in the Premier League.
If he came out and vehemently supported Fernando Torres, that would send a huge message to anyone listening. Torres would know that he has the full support from his manager, even if it's just on an interim basis.
When you watch Torres play, he just seems to lack confidence. If his quiet manager publicly supports him, then he might gain a little confidence. That little confidence could lead to something bigger, which is exactly what Chelsea need.
If Torres is constantly wondering about his spot in the starting XI, he won't be able to gain confidence. As such, Di Matteo should try to give Torres a lot of support, both publicly and privately.
Let Torres Choose the Side
Who does Fernando Torres like to play with?
If Torres chose the side, then we would know for sure. We have figured out that he likes Juan Mata to play directly behind him, but who does Torres want at right-back? That's what I want to know.
If Torres started picking the side, the team could get some swagger. They might start playing a little sharper, knowing that El Nino wants them in the game.
With everyone playing a little sharper and a little quicker, maybe the goals would come in bunches. Torres would surely score some goals if the whole team was scoring.
The players went the first seven months of the season without listening to a manager. Let's see if they'll listen to a player!
Play Torres in a Creative Midfield Role
Fernando Torres has the sole responsibility of scoring goals.
Maybe that's his biggest problem.
If Torres fell back more into the midfield and was responsible for creating goals rather than scoring them, maybe he would be a force.
Torres is one of the few creative players on Chelsea's roster. Unfortunately, he is usually swarmed with every touch. As a result, he must pass the ball right back, or he runs the high risk of losing possession.
If Torres played in the midfield, he would have the time to let the game come to him. He would be able to play the ball through, wide or back, without having the burden of scoring goals.
With the burden lifted, Torres would play with more flair and less tension. Moreover, he would be more likely to score goals in the flow of the game.
Sometimes, players just need a different focus in order to accomplish what they've been fruitlessly trying to accomplish for so long.
Have Torres Get a Raul Meireles-Inspired Haircut
Fernando Torres has long been known for his luscious locks.
With his hair flying behind him, Torres has been able to score dozens of goals in his career. This could be the year where that changes.
Torres doesn't have the same style or flair he had while at Liverpool. His hair is played out. Rather than shave his head (that would be criminal), Torres should get Raul Meireles to cut his hair.
The Portuguese international always has a fashionable 'do, and Torres should follow suit. With a new hairstyle, Torres could get new swagger.
Furthermore, this new swag could get Torres some confidence, which could help him start scoring goals again.
Get Torres Away from the Team
We can talk all we want about getting Fernando Torres more time, or giving him a different formation or position.
Maybe he just needs to be away from the club.
Torres is under a tremendous amount of pressure every single match, and that eventually wears a player down. If he took two weeks off, he could probably get his head back on right.
I'm not suggesting that the club should ask him to leave. That would kill his confidence.
I simply think it could be beneficial if Torres removed himself from the team sheet for a little while. Granted, Chelsea are in the middle of the biggest stretch of the year, and things are only going to get more important.
However, if Torres took a little while off and came back like his old self, Chelsea would have no problem collecting the FA Cup trophy and a top four spot in the Premier League.
It's a huge risk, and it's a crazy idea, but it might be just want Torres needs to get himself right.