Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughTroublemaking Torres, more money than sense. - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Troublemaking Torres, more money than sense. - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Troublemaking Torres, more money than sense.

As Friday’s draw decided Chelsea would face Manchester Untied in this year’s Champions League quarter-finals, it now seems everything is going well at Stamford Bridge.

Two wins in their last two league matches have closed the gap between themselves and leaders United to nine points, with the added bonus of a game in hand for the Blues. Plus, victory against Manchester City today would keep the faint hopes of defending their title alive, whilst making them favourites for third place.

In the Champions League, owner Roman Abramovich’s ultimate dream, a win against Alex Ferguson’s men would see them avoid the big Spanish teams Real and Barcelona in the semis and present their best chance yet of making up for the heartbreak in 2008 against their last-eight opponents.

Although if you look beyond the recent upturn in form, you’ll see the problems that have troubled them over the past few months have merely been swept under the carpet.

For anyone who saw the midweek goalless draw with Copenhagen, there was a half full-half empty feel about it.

On one side, Chelsea carved out some real clear cut chances and could have won the game at a canter.

On the other side, they didn’t.

And it’s the latter view on the aforementioned stalemate that gives the appearance Chelsea are still not firing on all cylinders.

The root of the problem can be traced back to January, a month where in the transfer market, Chelsea attracted all the headlines.

In came David Luiz and the Benfica purchase has looked a good investment already in the brief time he’s spent at Stamford Bridge.

Yet it’s the other buy from Ancelotti that has flattered to deceive.

It’s been clear for all to see that as of yet Fernando Torres hasn’t set the world on fire.

Yet it’s the signing of Torres in the first place that leads to question marks over the short-term future of not only the team’s affairs but manager Carlo Ancelotti himself.

The Spaniard’s signing was a marquee one. It was a move to boost shirt sales, supporters morale and get everyone talking about Chelsea again as they disappeared into the shadow of United, Arsenal and even City. 

Why though? Ancelotti’s side may have experienced a sudden plunge in form but the £50 million pound man was a needless purchase and has only hindered his team’s shape, making more problems for Ancelotti than the Italian would have envisaged.   

Ever since the days of Jose Mourinho, Chelsea have been a force with the same system, the 4-5-1/4-3-3 first introduced when the Portuguese swapped Portugal for England. Yet now, with Torres swapping red for blue, it’s very much a case of square holes and round pegs. 

Having to play 4-4-2 is quite alien to a team whose recent three title successes have all come from the one-up-front approach, with current forwards Didier Drogba and then later Nicolas Anelka, key figures in leading the line. 

Now that Torres has joined them, things are a bit too well stocked in the striking department.  Torres has gone from being a big fish in a small pond at Liverpool, to a big fish in quite a crowded pond at Chelsea when it comes to forwards. At Anfield, the Spaniard was the number one attacker. When he wasn’t fit, they didn’t look the same side and no other player was half as good. 

And it may sound ridiculous, but Torres just suited red, in blue he doesn’t look quite the same.

At Chelsea though, “El Nino” is merely one of three world-class front-men.

He may not have been involved against Copenhagen but the former Atletico Madrid star’s arrival has forced Ancelotti to pursue with two forwards even if the striker himself is looking a forlorn figure on the bench. The repercussions of a two up-front means other players have to suffer.

Against Copenhagen, Ramires, bought as a central midfielder, was cast out wide, nullifying his talents. Frank Lampard, whose trademark is to be the most forward thinking midfielder, was stifled in the same way he is when he plays in England’s 4-4-2 formation. Even when Ashley Cole and Jose Bosingwa bombed forward, the only cover they have is John Obi Mikel, and against better sides this could prove far too risky.

On Wednesday, the Blues looked a shadow of the immovable force they were last season. They were wasteful, at times one dimensional and if it wasn’t for their threat from wide areas, would have been bereft of ideas. They didn’t have enough possession, 51/49% in Chelsea’s favour not good enough at home to weaker opposition.

Their recent success has stemmed from controlling their opposition, something that became the norm under Mourinho and was a trait of last campaign’s emphatic title triumph. A five-man midfield was pivotal to their rise to the top and it’s easy to forget that under the same system at the start of this season, they occupied top-spot and only lost their form as a result of injuries and suspensions, whilst not having a good enough squad to cope.                                                                                     

So maybe that’s all the Torres signing is about, adding depth to a depleted squad. When the Blues suffered that season defining defeat at home to Sunderland back in November, their substitutes included Ross Turnbull, Patrick Van Aanholt, Jeffrey Bruma, Josh McEachran, Jacopo Sala, Salomon Kalou and Gael Kakuta.

That in itself tells its own story.

Adding Torres is no deficit to any team. On his day the Spaniard is electric, not a defence in the world would fancy stopping him and given the right service he could well reach double figures before the season is out. 

But one player doesn’t make a team and changing a proven formula just because of one dodgy patch seems far too extreme. Chelsea could go on to miraculously win the title and the Champions League with Torres and Drogba blossoming as a partnership.

Yet I get the feeling unless Chelsea face facts and realise it’s either one or the other, it could be curtains not only for their season, but for Ancelotti.

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