Torres' Galatasaray Display Shows There Is Still Life in Chelsea's Strikers Yet

Garry Hayes@@garryhayesFeatured ColumnistFebruary 26, 2014


All the focus had been on Didier  Drogba and Samuel Eto'o heading into Chelsea's Champions League clash with Galatasaray in Istanbul on Wednesday.

It was the first time Drogba had come up against the Blues since he scored the decisive penalty that saw them crowned European champions in 2012, while Eto'o had been embroiled in a controversy with Jose Mourinho—the Blues manager being caught on camera by French TV station Canal+ apparently complaining about his form and joking about the striker's "real" age.

The stage was set, but one man hadn't read the script—Fernando Torres.

Much maligned throughout his Chelsea career, the Spaniard stole the show from Eto'o and Drogba, scoring the game's opening goal and putting in an encouraging performance to earn Chelsea a much-deserved 1-1 draw.

Indeed, it should have been more given how dominant the Blues were, with their Spanish striker in particular causing problems across the home team's back line.

"The first half the game was our game, we had chances to win the game," Mourinho told Sky Sports at the final whistle. "I am not criticizing my striker [Torres], my striker did a good game. We were just missing the last pass, the last touch, the last control."

Uncredited/Associated Press

Had that "last pass, the last touch" come off, Torres would have no doubt added to his tally on the night. He was often found in the right positions, waiting to pull the trigger, but more often than not, his teammates failed to load the gun with that killer pass.

The Torres we saw on Wednesday evening was a contrast to the man we have consistently seen at Stamford Bridge since his record £50 million move in January 2011.

Not only was he on the scoresheet, but Torres looked confident and, what's more, greedy.

There were times he was guilty of being too direct, not looking to find a teammate who was better positioned to finish. In the second half he saw an effort edge wide off the far post and Andre Schurrle made sure he was aware of his frustration at not being picked out.

Uncredited/Associated Press

Had he done so in that instance, Chelsea may be looking at taking a two-goal lead to Stamford Bridge instead of a draw. In the long term, though, Mourinho and his team may just reap the benefits if Torres maintains this newfound ruthlessness.

Every striker needs a selfish streak, but Torres has never quite displayed that quality in a Chelsea shirt. Whether it be a lack of confidence or other contributing factors, the Spaniard has been too nice at Chelsea.

Galatasaray showed that could be changing and in the weeks ahead, it will prove incredibly valuable to Chelsea's title charge and their Champions League hopes if he follows through.

His goal in Istanbul was also his ninth Champions League goal overall for the club, coming in 20 games. It's one more than he scored for previous club Liverpool, coming in seven less games.

It's not exactly an overwhelming statistic, nor is it one that will drive fear into the hearts of defenders. Nonetheless, it's an encouraging sign that shows there have been positives for him in European competition.

Chelsea still have much to do in this last 16 tie with Galatasaray and should they progress at Stamford Bridge on Mar. 18, maybe it will be Torres who holds the key to Mourinho's side going even further.

The Blues' opponents will write him off at their peril.

Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @garryhayes