Alex Grimm/Getty Images
Mata and Torres have formed a relationship that has proven deadly thus far.
Batman had Robin. Superman had Lois Lane. Cheech had Chong
Juan Mata has Fernando Torres.
Even before his arrival at Stamford Bridge, Mata always shared a strong bond with Torres from their time on the Spanish national team. In fact, Mata admits that it was Torres who pleaded with him to come to Chelsea (via telegraphtv on YouTube).
Boy, has it paid dividends for Torres.
After scoring only one goal for Chelsea in 18 appearances in 2011, Torres began to make positive strides during Mata’s first season with the Blues.
In 46 appearances for Chelsea last season, Torres netted 12 goals and added a career-best 12 assists.
Although Torres struggled mightily in the first half of the season—he went nearly six months in-between league goals—Mata has always remained one of his most vocal supporters.
Whether he was fumbling one-on-ones with the keeper, or missing wide-open nets, Mata was confident that the embattled striker would find his form again (via Mark Doyle at goal.com).
Thankfully, that encouragement seems to be doing the job.
During the tail end of the season, Torres’ play increased significantly. His five goals in his last 12 appearances wasn’t exactly mind-blowing, but it displays a great sign of improvement.
Torres publicly applauded Mata for his faith during the 2011-12 season, even repaying the midfielder by handing him a goal in the closing minutes of the Euro 2012 finals against Italy, an assist that Torres said he enjoyed more than his own goal in the same game (via The Sun).
This season, Torres has continued his path to improvement.
In 11 appearances for Chelsea, Torres has netted six goals. That includes three in his last four games—two that came off of assists from Mata.
With the lack of depth at the striker position, it’s vital that Chelsea get the most out of Torres.
Mata is essential in doing just that.