New Chelsea front man Fernando Torres is used to being at the forefront of conversation. Be it his goals, international accomplishments, and even injuries the Spaniard is used to the attention. Yet following his £50 million move from Liverpool to Chelsea such terms as amateur, waste of money and lost have labelled El Nino. Is it really fair after two games that one of the world’s best forwards receive such flak or should a price tag and pedigree so high mean instant results for him and his new employees from the Kings Road?
The build up to his debut was intense, combine the fact he was Chelsea’s biggest ever signing, the magnitude of a club such as Liverpool selling a star player to an rival and throw in his first match being against the aforementioned Anfield outfit and its easy to see why all eyes were be on the number 9. He wasn’t involved a great deal in the first half but did fashion Chelsea’s best opportunity from a Drogba ball. The hype surrounding “will he score” summed up perfectly by Sky’s Martin Tyler who quipped “is this the moment?” as Torres pulled back his right foot. Unfortunately for Torres and Chelsea it wasn’t. This was his last telling contribution before being substituted in the second half. It was an interesting choice by Ancelotti to take him off despite him playing no worse or better for that matter than Drogba or Anelka who remained on the pitch. A decision that gave Liverpool and there travelling fans a huge lift. Moments later Raul Meireles punished Chelsea to make it 1-0, coincidence? The blues failed to recover and Liverpool left with an impressive victory, spoiling Torres debut and continuing their newfound success under Kenny Dalglish. Based on this first game, although Torres hadn’t scored, he was part of a new experimental line up which attempted to incorporate three front man. It ultimately failed and despite Torres showing small glimmers he’s first game for Chelsea was genuinely portrayed as huge disappointment.
8 days later Chelsea took on Fulham in a West London Derby, once again in front of the TV cameras for a Monday night kick off. Fernando lined up alongside Anelka, there was a sense of optimism amongst Chelsea fans, and this would be where Torres got his chance to shine. Chelsea were quick out the traps dominating early possession and creating numerous half chances. The man under immense scrutiny was most likely wishing he wasn’t, as every touch seemed an erroneous one. Loose control, and inaccurate passes were met with celebration from Fulham supporters. Chelsea’s other new boy David Luis was fairing far better showing great industry and technique, making exciting runs normally exclusively for full backs. The young defender launched a brilliant aerial through ball seconds before half time, Torres was there he had latched on to it, surely this was his moment, but amazingly he failed to make meaningful contact and the chance was gone. In the second half both teams exchanged positive spells with Chelsea once again having the more possession. Torres showed endeavour but was eventually substitued for the second game in a row. Despite Chelsea’s countless efforts they had Petr Cech to thank for keeping the scores level after saving a poorly stuck Dempsey penalty.
By his own high standards Torres has not had a great start to his Chelsea career. Radio shows, Internet sites and newspapers are already lambasting the forward. It’s worth noting he hasn’t finished a full game yet, he’s transfer value puts extra pressure to deliver instant results but this isn’t always the case. Give Torres at least two more games before we write him off, especially when you cant help but feel once he grabs that first goal he’ll be bang back on the form that earned him that hefty price tag.