Rafael Benitez Has Succeeded in Reigniting the Spark in Fernando Torres
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When Rafael Benitez was given the job as Chelsea manager, there were a number of objectives that he needed to achieve to be a success in the job. The first was to try and arrest the alarming slump in Chelsea's season that had seen them eliminated from the Champions League at the group stage and fall behind both Manchester clubs in the race for the Premier League title.
However, one of the main challenges that he faced was to try and get the best out of Fernando Torres and get to the bottom of his mystifying lack of form since he signed for Chelsea on Transfer Deadline Day in January 2011.
After enjoying incredible success at Liverpool, the Spaniard has struggled badly for form and goals. He scored one goal for the club up to the end of that season and managed only 11 in all of last season, finding himself on the bench for both the FA Cup and Champions League finals.
For a £50 million striker this simply wasn't good enough. After a decent performance in Euro 2012, which saw him claim the Golden Boot as Spain defended their title, he started the season well, scoring three goals in his first five outings this season. Though the goals didn't continue as regularly, he notched up seven goals by the middle of October.
As Chelsea started to struggle, Torres found himself more and more isolated on his own up front and the goals dried up. He looked like he was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders and looked like he wanted to be anywhere else but Chelsea.
The appointment of his former Liverpool mentor has slowly reinvigorated the Spaniard. After poor showings in the first two games of the Benitez regime, which ended in goalless draws, Torres started to look sharper in the 3-1 defeat against West Ham.
His movement and hold up play was much improved and he claimed an assist with a clever run and pull back for Juan Mata. It is goals that matter to strikers and it was about time Torres found himself back on the scoresheet.
What followed were two excellent braces against Nordsjaelland and Sunderland in consecutive games. What was so encouraging about his performance against Sunderland was the confidence he showed to grab the ball for the penalty for his second goal. Remarkably this was the first time Torres had taken a penalty in all his time in English football.
Chelsea and Torres will now take on what should be a relatively straightforward challenge in the Club World Cup which gives Chelsea the chance to win a confidence boosting trophy and Torres the chance to continue his resurgence in form and add to his increasing goal tally.
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