Tag Archives: FC Chelsea

Fernando Torres – Mystery?

59 million Euro and still no goal for Chelsea. While in Liverpool the supporters can’t hide their smiling faces, Chelsea fans and officials are wondering what is going on with Fernando Torres. Coming from Liverpool in January, he hasn’t scored in 11 games. Roman Abramovich’s face is getting longer and longer as the season goes on. Carlo Ancelotti even “admitted” a mistake in bringing Torres from the beginning in Chelsea’s Champions League game against Manchester United.

So, what is going on? Torres can’t play anymore? He lost his ability to play soccer? As it always is when players, coaches or teams are in crisis, there is quite a number of people who knew that (in this case) Torres is not as good as the press made him. Looking at his game at this time, if you wouldn’t know better, it almost looks like it. However, in my opinion, Torres is still a world class player. Yes, he is completely out of his game, nothing works. There are quite a few reasons for that. Some easy to understand, other’s need a little understanding and experience of the subject.
Let’s go back to the Euro 2008. Torres just made Spain European Champ with his goal against Germany in the final. He came back from the Euro 2008 and had a good season in Liverpool with awesome games, against Manchester United in March of 2009 for example. At one point, he caught an injury and Liverpool, including coach Benitez, a crisis. As it often is the case, Torres is not the first player that faces a problem to find form after injury and other issues, the dynamics take over and the entire “run” comes to a stop and all of the sudden nothing works. The pressure is increasing and one thing comes to the other and the problems mount. In between is the world cup, where Torres got injured again. While, like every other player, he was happy the world cup and the long (unsuccessful) season was over and he could rest, the new injury just put him back again. Injured, only a short break after the world cup, no real good preparation for the new season and a lot of pressure in Liverpool to do better than a year before. It didn’t look promising.

Playing Europa League wasn’t good enough for anyone at Anfield Road. Pressure, injury, only a short break after world cup and a team that is actually not a top class Premier League team is a recipe for disaster in an environment like Liverpool. By the way, Torres is not the only one that is suffering from loss of performance. As the best example you can use Bayern Munich and a few players of that team, including Arjen Robben and Frank Ribery.

To keep your cool in a situation like that is difficult. You want to perform, you can perform, but everything seems to be against the team and the player. Liverpool wasn’t able to stay in touch with the top five in order to play for Champions League glory in the next season. Torres, and a few others became nervous. While “the others” didn’t have offers, Torres had one, Chelsea! Was it the right thing to do? In my eyes not. It wasn’t good for both, club (Chelsea) and player. The only one that made good in that deal was Liverpool. With that, I want to bring your attention to my blog post from early January, “Liverpool and the p…”! In that post I talked about luck in soccer and that sometimes luck comes back for some incredible reason. In this case, Torres leaving the club served as a turning point for Liverpool. Deep inside, this freed the team and club of pressure and somehow things that already started to get better with Kenny Dalglish, turned the curve for good. Personally, I was hoping it would have been something else and it would have turned out good for both, Torres and Liverpool. I think he had a good platform at Anfield Road. All it took was the turn of the tide, somehow.

If you can blame Torres for anything, it is the bad advice he took. If he acted on his own, he made a wrong decision. This, however, can be made up very quick. Soccer is a fast pace business, what happened yesterday is worth nothing tomorrow. Liverpool is already out of the woods, Torres will score goals again, I am sure of that, and Chelsea will play Champions league again next year. If that is enough for the “ownership” of Chelsea, is a different story. There could be the next storm coming up for Fernando Torres. Back in January, I gave Liverpool the advice to stay cool and have a beer, the tide will turn. Now I am giving Torres advice: Forget about yourself for the rest of the season, rest mentally and just support the team. Try to shift your focus on something else. Go to the coach and ask him to only bring you after 60 minutes and start with the others until you get your game back. Your game is scoring goals, and once you hit again, many more will follow. Until then, you need to get out of the firing line. Small example, Wayne Rooney and his crisis after some “private matters” earlier this season.

UEFA Champions League: Chelsea – Manchester United – Preview

Manchester United and Chelsea face off today in a “super-clash” in the Champions League quarterfinal.

Besides of winning the game, there is much more at stake. For the fans, the usual bragging rights are up for crab. For the clubs there are millions of dollars at stake. Within the Champions League competition, each of the clubs collected already around $45 million. The winner of the two-legged quarterfinal can collect another $15 – $20 million, other millions of marketing income “on the side” not counted.

As far as the game goes, the winner is impossible to predict. Everything can happen and much will depend on how well the players got up this morning. Both teams know each other very well and major tactical inventions are not to expect. Manchester United seems to be the team that displayed more consistency over the season, but at this stage of the competition it is about “win or die” and the past performance is worth as much as the paper it was commented on.

Chelsea is awaiting Fernando Torres’ first goal for the club since his arrival in January. For Chelsea and Torres, it couldn’t be a better day than this event to finally set a tone and value the price tag for the transfer. On the other side, Wayne Rooney is in the spotlight. Rooney is facing a two game ban in the Premier League for a “verbal outburst” in last Saturday’s game in West Ham. He is asked to make up for his poor public display and play his soul out.

Watch the game on Fox Soccer Channel at 2:45pm.

Barclay’s English Premier League: Status of top 5 after Round 30

It’s time to take a look at the status of the Premier League after 30 rounds and before the Euro 2012 qualifier break. As far as the top 5 concerns, not too much has changed. There are still the same 5 teams fighting for the title and European glory. The difference is, the competition became more fierce and and the field came closer together. Liverpool, due to the much increased performance since Kenny Dalglish took over, Fernando Torres left and Suarez and Carroll joined the team, has a shot at 5th place, maybe 4th. That is an incredible accomplishment, considering the status of the club in January.Take a look at my post from January 10th.

Manchester United is still the team to beat. While the times of “unbeatable” are over, the team avoided to get sacked when the times became a little harder after the first losses. Sir Alex Ferguson and the experience of the entire team kept them on top of the league. So far, they were even able to compensate for injuries of key players, another sign of the healthy structure of the roster and Sir Alex’s outstanding work. As it stands right now, Manchester United is the top favorite for the Championship. Next game: @ West Ham

Arsenal remains the main hunter at this point. Five points behind and a game on hand means they can reduce the point difference to two points and make it a one game competition. While they had and have there own small crisis, they were able to take advantage of the competition’s dynamics (United finally got beaten) and sneak up on United. Arsenal is “free” of other worries, since the Premier League is the only remaining opportunity for a titel this season. While the gunners don’t like this fact, it might be an advantage for the remaining 9 games, considering they have a few injury issues with important players. On the sideline, the gunners created a stunner with reactivating Jens Lehmann, due to a major injury misery on the goalie position. Looking at Manuel Almunia’s form, it might even be possible that Lehmann appears in the first team before the end of the season. Everything is possible. Next game: Home against Blackburn Rovers

Chelsea just pushed Manchester City from 3rd place this past weekend. They are now a point ahead of the citizens and present themselves in outstanding condition. The past performances didn’t leave a lot of opportunity for the critics. The win over Manchester City was deserved and accomplished in a classy way. In this condition, it is fair to say they might have a chance to win the championship. Fernando Torres still hasn’t scored, but with other players able to hit the net, they can score at any time. At this point, the only thing that can derail them, is themselves. Some of the players are not too happy with the situation, namely Torres, Drogba and Anelka. Neither one of them is happy with the current situation of limited playing time. Also, the club owner was seen with a sweet and sour face after Torres’ substitution against City this past weekend. Good for Carlo Ancelotti that the game was won, after the substitution. Next game: @ Stoke

Manchester City is, in my opinion, kind of a bummer. Considering the names and the quality of the roster, it is next to ridiculous what the actual performance is. Last week they had to excuse themselves from the Europa League and right after

that from 3rd place in the Premier League as well. I actually thought, in January and February, they will take a very close look at the championship, but since then the tendency is much more downwards. It seems the spending spree will not pay-off and even champions league qualification is questionable. Their immediate competition for the champions league qualification somehow is displaying a much better oiled engine. City seems to have to many “construction areas”. While there is a lot of work to do in integrating all these purchases, it also appears they acquired some unrest with Ballotelli. That one is known for his escapades and Mancini needs to keep an eye on this bird. At this moment, it looks like a struggle for the citizens and even 4th place is questionable. What might help them to secure 4th place is the difficult schedule of Spurs in the last games. Home against Sunderland

Spurs have again delivered an outstanding season. They represented themselves in the champions league as an outstanding and grown soccer team. Harry Redknapp has done an outstanding job in creating an international competitor. I am excited to see them against Real Madrid and I am convinced Spurs will give Real a run for their money. In the Premier League the remaining schedule is a though one. Mid May will determine Spurs’ faith. On 4/16 they play ManC in Manchester and then on 4/20 have Arsenal for a make up game. One thing is for sure, if it doesn’t work for them, the championship will be decided by Spurs. Except Manchester United, they have to play everyone of the top 6 in their remaining games. Those that lose against Spurs, will lose their championship and Europe, one way or the other, ambitions. While I have doubt’s that Spurs can master that schedule, I will cross my fingers for them. From what I see, they created a lot of friends and the team’s and coaches’ work deserves champions league next season. @ Wigan

Premier League: Chelsea – Manchester City

Outstanding game at Stamford Bridge between Chelsea and Manchester City. The “Blues” kept City in check and created their own game based on strong defense around John Terry and David Luiz. City’s inability to create opportunities left Peter Cech with a nice early spring afternoon. His duties were limited to pick-up left over that was not completely cleaned up by Terry and Luiz, which he did with physical appearance  and routine.

On the other side, Chelsea created multiple opportunities to get the lead, but couldn’t keep the cool in front of Joe Hart’s goal. Carlo Ancelotti increased the pressure on the citizens after 70 minutes with bringing Drogba and Anelka for Malouda and Torres. Both didn’t disappoint, however, they couldn’t make the difference in the Man City box. Chelsea had to wait until the 70th minute to go ahead. After a Drogba free kick, David Luiz headed the ball into the net. Ramirez delivered the second, one minute before time.

The win helped Chelsea to pass Manchester City and take 3rd place. Manchester City, like this week in the Europa League, had to experience that it is not enough to buy “names”, it also has to fit on the field. While all the buys are excellent players and good enough to keep everyone from place six downwards in check, it is not enough, and not fitting, to beat the big guns.  In order for the citizens to become a European powerhouse, a lot has to happen.

Liverpool won their game in Sunderland and underlined their ambitions for 5th place and possibly more. Kuyt and Suarez delivered the goals for a 2-0 win at the Stadium of Light.