Fernando Torres has been a big disappointment since arriving at Chelsea with a large price tag of £50 million. Once a feared striker on Liverpool, he’s been reduced to a substitute role with the Blues.
Torres is projected to get the starting nod against Middlesbrough, and he needs to make sure he takes full advantage of the opportunity.
Chelsea has been patient with Torres, and coming into this matchup, he has scored just two goals in 2013.
A Fernando Torres goal will be vital to their progression in the competition, which has already seen the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool drop out to opponents from the lower tiers of English football.
Chelsea faces a weakened Middlesbrough team. Per ESPN Soccer Net, “Midfielder Josh McEachran has not played in the competition to date under the terms of his loan agreement with the Blues, while Kieron Dyer and Sammy Ameobi are cup-tied.”
Meanwhile, Chelsea will be without Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta.
Torres is hoping to get his chance to start with Rafael Benitez complaining the team is "playing too many games."
With an unimpressive season, Torres needs to take this opportunity to prove to Benitez, and more importantly, to himself, that he can still man the front line of attack.
Chelsea hopes to avoid a draw, which will result in an all-decisive replay.
Per SkySports, "With Chelsea continuing their progress in Europe, a replay in the FA Cup would be the last thing they need, should the Blues fail to set up a quarterfinal tie with Manchester United at the first time of asking."
Demba Ba has become the preferred front man in the Premier League for Benitez, so for Torres to score a goal, would instill the manager's confidence in him.
The Blues have only lost one of their last 52 FA Cup games against lower ranked sides.
It could take a game like this for Torres to get his confidence back.
Chelsea has won their last five games against Middlesbrough without conceding a single goal.
If Torres can make an impact, be in the right spots, and perhaps find the back of the net, Chelsea should see another victory over ‘Boro.
A player of his caliber, he's worth the risk in this matchup.