Manchester United vs Chelsea: Fernando Torres' Performance Reason for Optimism

Kent SommerContributor IIISeptember 19, 2011

SO KON PO, HONG KONG - JULY 30: Fernando Torres of Chelsea looks on during the Asia Trophy Final match against Aston Villa at the Hong Kong Stadium on July 30, 2011 in So Kon Po, Hong Kong.  (Photo by Victor Fraile/Getty Images)
Victor Fraile/Getty Images

There have been various headlines to emerge from Chelsea's loss to Manchester United on Sunday. One such headline is of course the open-goal miss by Fernando Torres.

While many people are having a field day with the miss and mocking Torres, a different storyline emerged from Sunday's game—a storyline which will exist long after the mocking has faded away.

For the first time since arriving at Chelsea, Fernando Torres is playing inspired football.

Ever since his arrival he has appeared stiff and not on the same page as the other players. He seemed lost and out of place.

His frustration recently hit a boiling point when he lashed out at the rest of the team and complained that the other players were slow. While he very well may be justified in his criticism since Lampard and other core players are aging, it appeared that Torres was more frustrated than anything with his own performance and stint with Chelsea.

After being benched for a game, Torres returned to the lineup for Chelsea's Champions League match and assisted both of Chelsea's goals. But it was still unclear if that game was an anomaly or a reemergence and return to form for Torres.

Then, he netted a goal against Manchester United in their Premier League clash yesterday. 

But it's not just the fact that Torres scored that is important. It was the ease and confidence displayed in his goal and throughout the entire game. For the first time since his arrival at Chelsea, Torres was a threat on offense and made scoring a goal look easy. 

After scoring the goal, Torres has various other opportunities beyond just the open-net miss. He had moments where he slashed through two United defenders before having a strike on goal; moves that he did at will with Liverpool but ones which many thought he had lost since arriving at Chelsea.

The other reason for optimism is that Torres finally appears to be on the same page as the other players at Chelsea. He scored his goal by making a great run and receiving a perfect pass from Anelka.

Even on his miss, Torres was in that position because he made a great run—the type of run he wasn't connecting on last season.

Sure, he missed the open goal, but again, that was after making a great run, receiving a perfect pass and making a smooth and clever move past the goalie. He did none of these things last season.

Which is the main point: If he really is returning to form and regaining his confidence, then he won't miss opportunities like the one on Sunday in the future—opportunities he wasn't even creating last season.

Last season Chelsea was an unstoppable force at the beginning of the season. After the first couple of games, everyone just assumed they were going to run away with the Premier League title. They ran into some issues, faded, and United claimed the league trophy.

This season, United is off to a brilliant start. Everyone is heralding Ferguson and the great youth players, and with good reason. United looks like the unstoppable force.

But as everyone knows, it's a long season and the youth, which have provided the promising start, could also come back to haunt United if the young players aren't mentally tough enough to have a target on their back for an entire season.

Chelsea, on the other hand, could be poised to upset United. 

They have the veteran players which know how to endure the long season. They have added some youth players who have showed promising starts. They made two fantastic acquisitions in Juan Mata and Raul Meireles. Both players seem to be comfortable with Chelsea and are already proving to be great contributors.

On top of all of that, and the piece of the puzzle that could set Chelsea above United: the return of Fernando Torres. 

It all depends on how you look at the glass and whether it's half empty or half full.

Many people will say Torres blew a clear chance at goal and that he has been a waste of money for Chelsea.

He definitely hasn't earned his huge paycheck yet. But on Sunday, for the first time in a long time, he showed flashes of brilliance and showed why Chelsea ever even considered paying such a lofty price for him.

Does that mean he's back? Not necessarily. But his confidence seems to be. Which means only good things are in store for Chelsea's future.


    Abraham Confident He Will Solve Chelsea Striker Woes

    Chelsea logo

    Abraham Confident He Will Solve Chelsea Striker Woes

    Evening Standard
    via Evening Standard

    Basel Winger Elyounoussi Talks Up Arsenal Interest

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Basel Winger Elyounoussi Talks Up Arsenal Interest

    James Dudko
    via Bleacher Report

    Shedding Weight, Scoring Goals in Mexico’s Obese League

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Shedding Weight, Scoring Goals in Mexico’s Obese League

    via World Soccer Talk

    Leaked: New Man Utd Pre-Match Jersey

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Leaked: New Man Utd Pre-Match Jersey

    Footy Headlines
    via Footy Headlines