Fernando Torres' Performance Exemplifies Chelsea's Renaissance
His performance was great, and it was evident that there has been a significant change at Chelsea since the beginning of the year.
On Sunday, the Blues hosted the Championship side, and they handled business accordingly. Torres was the focal point of the victory, and looked good from start to finish.
It had been nearly 26 hours of playing time since Torres' last goal before he tapped one in the 67th minute. He then flicked in a clever header in the 85th minute to seal the deal. With an assist just a few minutes later, Torres capped off his best game in a Chelsea uniform.
There's no way of knowing if this performance is an aberration or a trend, but Torres' showing proves that Chelsea have gotten back to their old winning ways.
Andre Villas-Boas is a smart football mind; he has a very bright future in managing. However, after alienating the old guard at Chelsea, he didn't stand a chance of being successful.
Once he was sacked, the entire dynamic of Chelsea changed. John Terry came back from injury with a point to prove. Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard came back into the lineup. Things were nearly all good at Stamford Bridge again.
The players trusted the manager, and Roberto Di Matteo trusted them. From that common trust, the two parties began to respect one another. Because of the respect, the team started to win matches.
Have Chelsea turned a corner?
The winning ways may be a product of new-manager syndrome, but that doesn't matter. Wins are wins, and Chelsea will take them however they can. Things were starting to look up, but there was one problem.
Torres still couldn't score.
As hard as he worked and as hard as the fans cheered, Torres couldn't find the net. He made some poor decisions, had some ugly finishes, and suffered from rough luck. With all that added up, Torres had gone more than a full day of playing time without putting the ball in the net.
Things had changed for the better at Stamford Bridge, but Torres was still in the shadows. However, with his performance on Sunday, that is no longer the case.
Torres showed what made him a £50 million transfer in the first place. He scored a sloppy tap-in and a skillful header. One looked better than the other, but they both count.
That's all that matters.
Villas-Boas wanted to play a beautiful, counterattacking style. He, along with Roman Abramovich, wanted Chelsea to play beautiful football. Well, after almost two weeks of direct, semi-ugly play, Chelsea are 4-0 with a plus-nine goal differential (only one league match).
It doesn't matter who outplays whom; it matters who outscores whom. Chelsea always identified by that motto, and Villas-Boas tried to change it.
While it would be great to watch Chelsea pass the ball like Barcelona, they aren't built for it. They're built to get the ball wide and swing the ball into the middle. It's all about scoring goals.
Chelsea lost their way. Di Matteo has helped them find it again.
The season is far from over, and these points could be completely disregarded in two weeks time. However, right now, Chelsea look good.
Right now, Chelsea look like the club of old. Torres' performance in the FA Cup solidified it.
Chelsea's wins may not be beautiful, but they're wins all the same. And again, when it comes down to it, that's all that matters.
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