This is in direct response to Sam Smith’s article on Chelsea lacking a striker. A lot of criticism has gone around directed at Fernando Torres but it is not justified. I am not going to claim that Torres is the greatest striker in the universe but the criticism he has received is completely unfair.
The “Consistent Striker” Argument
Who was the last Chelsea striker to knock in 20 League goals in consecutive seasons? No, it was not Drogba. Drogba never did. It was Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. The most annoying argument has always been the Drogba argument. People always chose to overlook the fact that he only scored 20+ goals twice in his 8 year career at Chelsea. What they overlook now is that Chelsea had Lampard banging them in with incredible consistency to shadow the fact that Drogba was not scoring goals.
Torres has not been consistent but he has not been awful either when he starts. A few poor performances (coming off an injury nonetheless) overshadow the fact that he had averaged nearly a goal every other game when he was a started. He has been dreadful off the bench but mostly solid when starting. People just need to jump on the Drogba bandwagon as long as they can, glorify him in ways that never truly existed.
What About the Rest of the Team?
Was Torres marking Pastore? Did Torres kick the ball into his own net? Was Torres even on the pitch for Lavezzi’s goal? Did Torres head the ball into his own net against Crystal Palace? No? Then why is he being scapegoated?
Fernando Torres was not at fault for yesterday’s performance – he only received 12 touches! Neither John Terry or Petr Cech were outstanding and, while they have received their share of criticism, the majority of the blame still falls on our striker. Schurrle had difficulty influencing the game and even he only had 27 touches. In the Palace game Torres only had 36 touches in 90 minutes. So how much of this is really the fault of our strikers? Anyone that plays football knows it is pretty hard to score goals if you do not touch the ball.
Would a Striker Really Solve Our Problems?
People have started to notice a dip in Oscar’s form since Mata left. Oscar was anonymous yesterday. If people really want to complain about lack of offensive potency then we are they not looking at Willian? 2 goals and 4 assists in 28 games this season is not good enough for a player in his position. The service just really is not there for Torres because neither of these players are performing at levels that support our striker. There was nothing for Torres to work with against Villa.
Of course Chelsea will get a new striker but only because Torres is 30 and Eto’o is 33. We have the option of picking up a basket case in Costa, a 28 year-old coming off an injury in Falcao, a 32 year-old in Ibrahimovic or some unproven top level player like Jackson Martinez. When you lay it out there, it is slim pickings. People will beg for Lukaku to be given a shot and the really ambitious ones will beg for Bamford to be given a shot. If we want a consistent striker then we need to abandon the 4-2-3-1 and change the way our midfielders play. It is impossible to make everyone happy though.
It’s Not a One Man Team
Sensible people comment on it being a team result. We can look at players individually and analyze their success but that only paints half of the story. If people really want to criticize then they should accept the fact that Torres is statistically our 4th best player when he starts, but people do not want to acknowledge that. Every other player on the pitch against Palace and PSG are just as much to blame as Fernando Torres. Even if you are not a fan of one player in particular, support them as long as they wear our colors and do not single them out as a scapegoat. Good luck Torres and good luck Chelsea.