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Bridge Banter: Torres enjoys Benitez effect at Chelsea
All hail Chelsea’s exciting new striker, Fernando Torres.
Lazarus-like he has risen to end a 12-hour barren playing spell, potting four goals in two games. At that rate, he’ll have the season’s golden boot by the end of January.
Interestingly, the Spaniard has scored four goals in five games under Rafa Benitez… one more than he managed in his first five games at Liverpool under, er, Rafa Benitez.
Which suggests the pair work well together, despite fans’ continued reservations, and that the tweaks that Benitez is overseeing to Chelsea’s attacking system suit Torres.
The 6-1 demolition of Nordsjaelland, the Blues’ last action in this season’s Champions League, saw Torres well supported by Juan Mata, with whom he has an excellent understanding, Eden Hazard and Victor Moses.
At the weekend, Chelsea comfortably beat Sunderland with Torres notching two more, bringing his personal tally to a respectable 11 goals in 25 matches.
“We do not pass the ball as much as we did in the final third, and we play a bit more direct,” said Torres when asked what had changed.
Fans were fed up seeing the ball pinging sideways and back again as well-marshalled defences rebuffed waves of blue attacks in earlier games, so more directness is being welcomed by everyone at the Bridge.
Once the distraction of the Club World Cup is out of the way, the Blues have the fun of Leeds United to look forward to in the League Cup on Wednesday.
With Oriol Romeu out injured with ligament damage until the end of the season, John Obi Mikel looks like playing ahead of the back four in most forthcoming games, starting at Elland Road.
Leeds v Chelsea is one of those fixtures that needs no bigging up.
Santa lookalike Ken Bates is still in the chair, no matter who ends up owning the Yorkshire club, so it’s the perfect chance for Torres to continue his ho-ho-ho-hot streak.