Chelsea FC: Forget About the Red Card, Fernando Torres Is Back
Fernando Torres is back to doing what a £50 million earning £180,000 per week should be doing—scoring goals and looking like class.
Though there was nothing classy about his mindless and dangerous two footed tackle on Mark Gower.
Unfortunately the Spaniard has somehow attracted negative headlines just like he did against Manchester United when he missed that chance after a sublime finish.
It's easy to focus on the negatives but Torres' performances in recent weeks should give optimism to even the most cynical critics.
Let's critically analyse Torres' performance against Swansea and grade his overall performance this season.
What grade do you think I've given him? Read on to find out.
Fernando Torres' Smart Run
Without the run, Fernando Torres wouldn't have been in the position to receive Juan Mata's Xavi-esq pass.
Remember when Torres complained about how Chelsea's midfielders were too slow. In essence, he was trying to say they don't make enough incisive passes for me to latch onto and score.
Torres made a great run behind Ashley Williams' defence as Swansea attempted to play the offside trap but Àngel Rangel was in la la land.
Torres capitlised on Rangel's mistake and made Swansea pay dearly.
Credit to Torres for making such a smart run but the accolades have to go to Mata for bit of genius in predicting where his teammate was going to end up and executing such a beautiful pass.
The irony of Torres' goal against Swansea was in the build up play, he waved his arms in displeasure as Mata took his time.
Potentially the Torres-Mata combination could be fruitful this season as they've already combined to score against Bayer Leverkusen.
Fernando Torres' Incisive Pass
One of my main criticisms of Fernando Torres when he drops deep is that his passing goes sideways or goes backwards and I thought gee isn't this hypocritical considering he came out and attacked the Chelsea midfield for slowing down play.
This passage of play shows Torres talking the talk and walking the walk.
Good little dink pass under pressure from Ashley Cole to Torres who drew three Swansea players towards him and released a defence splitting pass for Cole to latch onto as he provided for Ramires to score.
This is a clear example of what Torres wants the team to play like.
Forward and diagonal passes.
It was Torres' forward pass and it was Cole's diagonal pass which made it 2-0 in favour of Chelsea.
Go to the next slide and see what Torres did during the play.
Fernando Torres' Lung Bursting Run
One would have forgiven Fernando Torres to do what Juan Román Riquelme used to do—split the defence open with the pass and take a few seconds to admire the beauty of the pass.
Instead Torres, who may have been inspired by teammate Ramires, went on a lung bursting run, and an intelligent one too.
As the Swansea defence are dragged towards the right, Torres runs straight behind the space left vacant by Neil Taylor, and is open and free in front of goals.
The closest player to Torres was Garry Monk, but because Torres passed and moved instantly, Monk couldn't cover the ground he had forfeited to the Spaniard.
The Spaniard was proactive whilst Monk was reactive.
Again, great play from Torres to not only start a goal scoring chance, but to get himself into an advantageous position to score a goal.
Fernando Torres' Red Card
No doubt referee Mike Dean made the right decision and it was an easy one in sending Fernando Torres off.
Easy because Torres launched himself with two foot at Mark Gower and 20 minutes before, the Spaniard launched a verbal spray at referee Dean.
As prodigious teenager forward Romelu Lukaku said,
"Chelsea has a winning culture so if, I have to suffer to win something, I prefer to suffer."
Rather than rest on his great performance so far, Torres was running all over the place, putting the hard yards for Chelsea and being a team player.
Look where he is, he's almost in his own half when he made the tackle.
Considering the Spaniard's last red card was in 2006 (thankyou OptaJoe), the tackle was more over-enthusiasm than outright maliciousness.
Will the Red Card Set Him Back?
Clive Rose/Getty Images
That miss against Manchester United didn't set Fernando Torres back and it's likely this red card won't set him back.
Torres has a chance against Unai Emery's Valencia in the UEFA Champions League this week and he's likely to return against Arsenal in a months time.
The upside is Torres will be able to rest himself (not that he needs resting) and get himself focused for the rest of the season.
Grading Fernando Torres' Performances so Far
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vs. Stoke City | B. Looked sharp but didn't find the back of the net or provide an assist.
vs. West Bromwich Albion | D. No cigar again but gained admiration for defending and doing the dirty work. Lucky not to be sent off.
vs. Norwich City | F. Took 77 minutes for him to register his first shot on goal and he didn't show the same desire he did against West Brom.
vs. Sunderland | N/A. Came on for a cameo but I believe he was dropped as opposed to being rested. This would spark the turning point for Fernando Torres.
vs. Bayer Leverkusen | A. Finally, he does something. Two assists. For some reason, he kept verbally harassing referee Stéphane Lannoy.
vs. Manchester United | B. Involved in the game from the get go and had six shots but should have scored four. Though he did finish sublimely.
vs. Swansea | B. Red card didn't cost Chelsea but did cost him his A grade. Would have been odds on to score a hat-trick against a shambolic defence.
Overall grade: B-
Record: 2 goals and 2 assists in 7 games.
Assists are as good as goals so Fernando Torres has scored and provided 4 goals in 7 games.
If you want to twist statistics, in the last 3 games, Torres has scored 2 goals and provided 2 assists.
Looking Towards the Future
David Ramos/Getty Images
Throughout the season so far, Fernando Torres has shown desire to work hard for the team and the red card against Swansea is a perfect example.
Even after his goal and his general play, he was so desperate to make it up to the team that he ran to the half way line and then did what he did.
Though we all need to remember this is a £50 million valued forward earning £180,000 per week. He should be scoring goals and providing assists nearly every game like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
However, perhaps a more fair example would be that of Kaká.
Even though Kaká at Real Madrid has been a better player than Fernando Torres at Chelsea, both have failed to meet expectations, their transfer fee and what they're earning per week.
This is just the beginning for the Spaniard who'll need to at least score 30 goals this season.
But if he provides assists like he did against Bayer Leverkusen, get into position to shoot six times against Manchester United, and make the same runs against Swansea—there is no doubt Torres' goals and assists will accumulate over 30 goals this season.
Like Kaká's situation, now there is renewed optimism for Torres and even the most cynical critics cannot deny Torres is back (for now).
If you didn't watch the Swansea game, here is my live text commentary of it.