Fernando Torres scored Chelsea’s opening goal against Arsenal at the Emirates last weekend. Whilst it wasn’t the most beautiful goal, it demonstrated his strength to get around Laurent Koscielny in the 20th minute.
The departed Didier Drogba was one of the Premier League’s most powerful frontmen and it was his strength and physical prowess that earned the Blues their Champion’s League title last season.
Torres suffered a loss of form before he left Liverpool and it followed him to West London, as he sat on the bench in the towering shadow of Drogba, unable to fully justify his £50million price tag.
Now, with the Ivorian gone, Torres has found his shooting boots, but can he fill the boots of the Drog?
If last Saturday’s game is anything to go by, he’s definitely up for the challenge. The Spaniard only has Daniel Sturridge to compete with for the name up front on the team sheet and it seems to have done his confidence the wonder of good.
“Now I am looking for new personal targets,” he said,
“Which is to get as many goals as possible and, hopefully, I will score more than I did in my best season at Liverpool.”
Torres has a proven track record – he is, on his day, one of the best finishers in the world. He is capable of terrorizing opposing defences, using his strength, power, pace, agility, and intelligence to dominate play.
On the ball, he is every bit as technically capable as Drogba. He needs the bare minimum of time and space to punish any lapse in defensive concentration. He can twist and turn and run at defenders, dragging them this way and that with his intelligent runs and physical strength.
He is dangerous aerially like Drogba, as he proved with his goal from a free kick on Saturday; he is an excellent target-man who can hold up the play.
He can drop deep to help create an attack, before hanging off the shoulder of the last man, awaiting a return ball, using his strength to get through one-on-one with the unfortunate goalkeeper who, rendered irrelevant, can only watch a Fernando Torres strike sail past him into the back of the net.
Can Torres fill replace Drogba? He can and just might.
image: © Ben Sutherland