Thursday, 1 March 2012

The curious case of Fernando Torres


Chinmay Pandya explains to The Football Front why Fernando Torres may not recover from his confidence crisis.

Fernando Torres has been struggling. Yes, we’re all aware of that story, We’ve heard it like a million times, haven’t we?

Has he lost his mojo?

Or is it just a temporary drop in form and confidence?

Is he a double agent who’s SO loyal to Liverpool, that he’s come to Chelsea and deliberately destroyed his own career? Has losing a yard of pace affected his game so much? A million questions can be asked, and some unrealistic too.

What has happened to him?

Has someone had a plastic surgery, kidnapped the real Torres and replaced him at Chelsea? Well, whatever it is, it surely gives us, journalists something to write about. Well, for starters, we all would agree that he surely has lost a yard of pace. Let’s face it, he isn’t 23 anymore. He’s had a major injury right after the World Cup and has been playing with little niggles since then. Torres barely looks a shadow of his former self. He was brought in with a vision to replace Drogba in the near future but who is he replacing? The “Le Sulk” role recently vacated by Anelka?

During a soggy night in Naples, Under-fire manager André Villas-Boas saw his team give away yet another lead to slump to their 2nd defeat in the last 5 games. After Chelsea went 3-1 down, AVB made a double substitution introducing Essein and Lampard in a hope to give his team a glimmer of hope in progressing to the Quarterfinals of the Champion’s League. Needing a goal or two, the most obvious option would have been Fernando Torres, once one of the most feared strikers on the planet, but AVB opted to bring on the Chelsea veterans instead.

This may just be one substitution during one match, but this overlook of Torres signalled rock bottom in what has been possibly the greatest collapse of talent ever witnessed. This gesture by the Chelsea manager represented a tremendous loss of faith in the abilities of his 50 million man and also saw Torres’s career hit a new low. The saddest part is a majority of the Chelsea fans and Torres admirers would not question that decision.

People claim about his lack of confidence in front of goal, his reluctance to shoot or some even blame the midfield for their lack of creativity or service. Robin Van Persie has been the top scorer in the league. Which might mean Arsenal’s midfield is more productive than Chelsea’s. Well, these stats below are a total of the Average key passes and accurate crosses made per game by Chelsea and Arsenal’s midfield respectively.

Chelsea

Player

Avg Key Passes PG

Acc. Crosses PG

Juan Mata

3.2

1.9

Frank Lampard

1.7

0.7

Raul Meireles

1.4

0.4

Florent Malouda

1.3

0.9

Daniel Sturridge

1.1

0.3

Jose Bosingwa

1.0

0.9

Ashley Cole

0.9

0.6

Ramires

0.8

0.1

Total

11.4

5.8

Arsenal

Players

Avg Key Passes PG

Avg Crosses PG

Mikel Arteta

2.1

0.8

Aaron Ramsey

2

0.3

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

1.5

0.7

Gervinho

1.5

0.1

Tomas Rosicky

1.3

0.3

Theo Walcott

1.2

0.6

Alexandre Song

1.2

0.1

Andrey Arshavin

1

0.3

Total

11.8

4.1

Arsenal edge Chelsea in terms of key passes made per game, while Chelsea are well ahead in terms of the crosses made per game. To sum up, we can imply that Chelsea’s midfield (including the full backs, as they are involved in the build up equally) and Arsenal’s midfield are equally creative.

We can now officially rule out lack of creativity as the reason behind the drought. Fernando Torres has admitted, his lack of goals might be a result of Chelsea’s style of play, where he has to be involved in the build up, while at Liverpool all he did was get on the end of some amazing balls. However, during the game away at Man United in September, Chelsea were losing 3-1 but were playing well: the feeling was that they could go on and maybe get a draw the game. Torres found himself with the ball at his feet and only the goalkeeper to beat, which he did. Now all he had to do was tuck the ball into an empty net, which he of course, did not manage to do.

Torres fell to the ground; his head fell between his hands. A wave of laughter echoed across the old Trafford, most of it coming from the home fans, of course. This is not the Fernando Torres who Chelsea paid a record English transfer fee of £50 million.

When Fernando Torres blames Chelsea’s style of play for his failure to score and denies the obvious lack of confidence evident in the incident against Man United. One cannot help but conclude that Fernando Torres is in denial, the worst situation he can be in right now. Accepting his lack of confidence would be a step in the right direction as he’d begin to get over his denial.

One of my psychologist friends I spoke to, seemed to agree with me when I said a lack of confidence was the reason behind his failure. He was suffering from a certain situation that every athlete goes through at least once in his or her career, an inexplicable dip in form. One of the main reasons being over-thinking or trying too hard, training twice the amount you used to, earlier and forgetting the most important aspect of your game that made you who you were, enjoying your game like you used to do when you were a kid. While some recover from this, some don’t.

In Torres’ situation, judging by the severity and the amount of elements combined that Fernando Torres has to go through every second of this Chelsea situation; the chances of him recovering are very slim.

Stats Via: WhoScored.

This article was written by Chinmay Pandya, you can find his work at http://nimblefootwork.blog.com/ and you can follow him on Twitter: @_thesoccerist

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