5 Reasons Fernando Torres Will Prove His Nay-Sayers Wrong
There certainly has been a lot of fuss made about Fernando Torres in the past nine months; some warranted, and some not.
On one side, you have his supporters saying that the world-famous striker is just in a temporary slump, waiting to emerge and prove he's every bit the venomous goalscorer he ever was.
On the other side, you have those who expect, and maybe even want him to fail. They argue that his injuries have imposed irreversible damage on his form.
They cite his recent performances in the 2010 World Cup and his league performances since then as evidence that the striker is simply past it, never to return.
These are the five reasons I think those in the latter grouping are dead wrong.
1. He Has the Support of Villas-Boas and the Chelsea Faithful
Torres has had the support of manager Andre Villas-Boas and the Chelsea faithful right from the start. He has started almost every game Chelsea has played this season, and has had the complete backing of AVB in the press.
One of the mistakes our previous manager Carlo Ancelotti made, in my opinion, was that he never seemed to back Torres 100 percent in the way that Villas-Boas has. Villas-Boas in his press conferences consistently and unwaveringly backs up his striker, saying the media is trying to invent a crisis when in reality, no such crisis exists.
This is very important to a player in Torres' state. The slightest hint of distrust could send his already fragile confidence on a free-fall. Thankfully, there is no indication any such thing will happen, with AVB still supporting the Spaniard, and the home crowd still chanting "Torres, Torres, Torres."
With all this support, Torres can be sure that even if the media doesn't want or expect him to succeed, his backers certainly do.
2. The Service and Assistance of His Teammates
One of the things most Chelsea supporters have been saying for months is that a big part of Torres' shortcomings are the result of the lack of service from the midfield. This theory proved true first in the game against Norwich, then again in the CL game against Bayer Leverkusen.
Late into the Norwich game at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas subbed on new Blue Juan Mata. Just minutes after he was put on, a lovely pass from him gave Torres his best chance to score in months, which was tactfully saved by the goalkeeper. This caused many of us to believe that what we'd been saying for the past few months might just be true.
Our suspicions were again confirmed in the Champions League game against Bayer Leverkusen, and to an even greater extent than before. With new signing Raul Meireles providing chances from midfield, and Juan Mata and Daniel Sturridge providing them from the wings, Torres got more chances in the opening minutes of that game than he has in months, one of which was even a disallowed goal. Torres could have very well have scored a hat-trick in the first 10 minutes of that game.
And again, against Manchester United, Torres was serviced flawlessly. He even scored a spectacular goal over the shoulder of United keeper Daivd DeGea, and came within inches of scoring another in that same game.
With the new, more creative influences on the pitch with Torres, he'll start scoring in no time.
3. Goals Beget Goals
One of Torres's biggest hindrances these days is his confidence. After scoring just two goals in almost 25 appearances for Chelsea, and with the weight of a massive £50m price tag on his shoulders, Torres has doubtless been feeling the pressure of his shortcomings.
But one of the things I've noticed from the start of the preseason is that whenever he does something to help the game, such as score a goal or provide an assist, he dramatically picks up his game, running after balls, chasing down defenders, and being more engaged in the playing overall...things you couldn't get him to do at all last season.
I'm certain that once he begins to score a few more, the confidence he gains from it will breed more hunger, and thus, more goals, out of the striker.
4. He's Already Proven It
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Listening to the media's reporting, mostly interested in stirring up controversy, one would think Torres' career as one of the world's best strikers is all but over, with Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas on the verge of relegating the Spaniard to the bench, and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich ready to sell Torres off in January to the highest bidder in an effort to recoup some of the £50m he splashed on him just nine months ago.
But the fact of the matter is, Torres has actually performed quite well so far this campaign. He's by far been Chelsea's most consistent and hard-working player thus far. And his efforts have earned him two assists in the Bayer Leverkusen game and a spectacular goal against Manchester United that had the essence of the Torres of old.
Judging Torres based on his performances, rather than what the media tells you, will give all a better idea of how he's really performed this term.
5. He's FERNANDO TORRES
And the last, and perhaps most important reason Torres will be back is that he is, indeed, Fernando Torres.
We've all heard the phrase, "form is temporary, but class is permanent." People seem to forget, world-class strikers dont just go to bed one night as one of the best in the biz and wake up incompetent and over the hill.
Being thrusted into a new team in the middle of the season with completely different players, coaches, and tactics wouldn't be easy for anyone, much less someone coming off a serious injury. But that doesnt mean Torres is finished being the goalscoring machine he's always been.
Given these five reasons, there is no reason to expect Torres wont be back to his old self very soon. Those who underestimate El Niño may do so at their own peril.