Why Lady Luck Has Not Been Kind to Fernando Torres at Chelsea
Just when it was beginning to seem Fernando Torres could do no wrong in a Chelsea shirt, the Spaniard is delivered a double setback that will mean he will cut a frustrated figure at Stamford Bridge for the next month or so.
With neither Samuel Eto'o or Demba Ba enjoying the best of starts to 2013-14, the opportunity was there for the No. 9 to seize the moment and stamp his mark on this Chelsea team once and for all.
Blues fans have been waiting for that since he joined the club in January 2011. Despite many false dawns, it seemed under Jose Mourinho his time had come, though, with encouraging displays against Swindon Town and Tottenham Hotspur.
He found the back of the net against the Robins in the Capital One Cup—also grabbing an assist for Ramires—but it was last weekend's display at White Hart Lane that got Chelsea fans fired up, thinking things were different this time:
Torres injury was a bummer. Such is his luck, in his best form he ends up being unavailable for selection due to suspension or injury. #CFC— BlueChampion (@bluechampion) October 2, 2013
Torres played with the hunger and desire that has been missing from his game these past few seasons and the Spurs backline simply couldn't cope—at times at odds on how best to deal with his threat.
Then came his sending off after his duel with Jan Vertonghen boiled over and if that wasn't enough, the Spaniard was later crocked by a knee ligament strain against Steaua Bucharest in the Champions League.
That injury will leave him out of action for around three weeks according to Chelsea's official website and it serves as a stark reminder to the bad luck which has befallen him at Stamford Bridge.
Just as Torres seems to be kicking into gear, a crisis of some sort seems to sweep into town and knock him off his feet.
We saw that much against Swansea City in September 2011 when, having opened the scores and been a general nuisance to the Jacks, Torres was sent off for a lunge on Mark Gower shortly before the half-time whistle.
It came at a time when it seemed then manager Andre Viilas-Boas' techniques were beginning to pay dividends where the striker's confidence was concerned.
His previous outing had seen him score a fine goal against Manchester United at Old Trafford, despite an unfortunate miss in the same game when he had rounded David de Gea.
There was work still to be done, yet he looked lively and it was the same against Swansea, but his deserved red card that afternoon only served to ruin the form he seemed to be finding.
After scoring in September, it wouldn't be until March that he found the back of the net in the Premier League again—a 90th-minute strike in the 4-2 defeat of Aston Villa at Villa Park.
His record for the season was just five in the league, but it begged the question that had he not suffered that three-match ban on account of his Swansea dismissal, could things have turned out better for Torres?
Indeed, last season's clash with Manchester United in October saw a similar drop in form. From looking sharp and menacing, Torres' confidence and form took another knock when Mark Clattenburg sent him for an early shower for a perceived dive which earned him a second yellow card in Chelsea's 3-2 defeat at Stamford Bridge.
When he returned, the change was noticeable, with Torres' form regressing and it took another seven matches before he was on the scoresheet in domestic competition again.
Has Fernando Torres been unlucky at Chelsea?
He flourished in Europe for Chelsea, but there was something missing in the Premier League which, despite 23 goals in all competitions, has left many to write the season off as another failure for him in West London.
Every player, talented or not, requires an element of luck to help them along the way. It seems it continues to elude Torres at Chelsea, that when we as football fans dare to think he has turned the corner, tragedy often befalls him.
Chelsea fans must be hoping this latest drama in his Blues career will throw a somewhat different ending to those from the past.
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