Chelsea: The Great Striker Enigma

Various words springs to mind when I think of Chelsea’s season so far: chaotic, wild, unpredictable, inconsistent. The latter perhaps best summarises the way in which Chelsea’s results have gone. The season started well with wins over Wigan, Newcastle and Reading, but a 4-1 demolition spearheaded by Radamel Falcao in the UEFA Super Cup against Atletico Madrid.

After the oh so controversial sacking of Roberto Di Matteo and equally controversial appointment, wins over Aston Villa, Norwich and Everton made it seem things were really on the up at Stamford Bridge. Yet again however, the positivity was disrupted after a shock 1-0 loss at home to local rivals QPR.

So what has caused all this inconsistency and vast but regular changes in the feelings of Chelsea fans. Well, one thing about Chelsea has been consistently poor: their striking options.

Although Fernando Torres has shown glimpses of his best this season, he hasn’t shown anywhere near enough of this form to justify his place in the team. Some would claim Torres deserves to be in the Chelsea starting line up week in week out due to his ability to score out of nothing as shown by his goal against Brentford, but goals like these have been far too rare.

In fact, I can’t remember a single occasion where Torres has scored a truly vital goal for Chelsea, and the goal against Barcelona, which was a chance that he couldn’t really miss was the only goal I can remember Torres scoring against a real top side. Instead, his goals have come in matches against weaker teams such as Nordsjaelland, Brentford, Leicester, Reading, etc.

Also, on most of these occasions, he has chipped in with a goal rather than be a heroic match winner, like he was many times during his days at both Atletico Madrid and Liverpool.

Chelsea fans, more and more of them, are becoming increasingly frustrated with Torres. Many fans are posting, saying and writing things reading messages such as: “Torres and Rafa out of our club”.

The reasoning behind this sentiment isn’t as obvious and one dimensional as it appears.

Contrary to popular belief, Chelsea fans’ support for Torres has only faded somewhat since the sacking of Di Matteo and hiring of Rafael Benitez. Many Chelsea fans feel all the drama surrounding Torres has been the clear reason behind Abramovich’s constant hiring and firing of managers, and that Benitez was only hired to help Torres find form.

So with Torres still misfiring and Chelsea fans becoming more and more impatient towards the Spanish striker, surely the conditions are ideal for Demba Ba to seize the role of Chelsea’s best striker to play up top?

Well, Rafael Benitez doesn’t seem to feel that way. One game that summarises the whole Torres/Ba and the general Chelsea striker situation is the blues’ game at home to Swansea in the Capital One cup first leg a few weeks back. Torres regularly lost the ball, and couldn’t seem to get hold of it, despite some decent crosses and passes. When Ba came on, things seemed to improve, but still no goals.

Ba looks to be a threat when he is on the pitch, and hasn’t really had a bad game in a blue shirt as of yet. But it appears Ba is doing something wrong, as he hardly ever seems to start. Since Ba joined the west London club in early January, he hasn’t really started any of Chelsea’s key games, to be precise, the games against Arsenal, Reading and both legs against Swansea.

To me, Benitez should stop playing Torres just to keep Abramovich happy.

Ultimately, football is about winning matches, and as of right now, I feel Chelsea are more dangerous and more able to score goals with Demba Ba playing.

Ba doesn’t have to play every week, or even be the distinct first choice striker, but I just feel that Torres is far too unreliable, and the more he is left on despite being what some would call lazy, and appearing exhausted almost constantly, the more the resentment of him and Benitez amongst a large proportion of Chelsea fans will grow.

So please Rafa, give Ba a go as otherwise it may damage the whole atmosphere at Chelsea, as it is being slowly but surely damaged now.


Written by Joshua Sodergren

Follow him on Twitter @Joshsalad365

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