Why Fernando Torres will be glad to see the sight of West Ham

Fernando Torres May 2012

West Ham on the other hand will be sick of the sight of the Chelsea forward.

Rafa Benitez was brought into get Fernando Torres scoring, but two games in it hasn't worked so far. Yet there's good news on the horizon.

This weekend Chelsea pitch up at Upton Park, perhaps a welcome relief from the barracking of the unhappy home fans for the new managers, and for their beleaguered 'star striker' the opposition bring has happy memories.

Fernando Torres has scored six goals in six Premier League appearances against West Ham; more than against any other opponent.

He may be unpredictable but over the years against the Hammers he has been nothing but consistent.

After arriving at Chelsea for a record £50 million fee, Torres didn't get off to a good start. 

The Spaniard went 14 games without scoring - a stat highlighted that the longest run of league games without a goal Robin van Persie has suffered since 2009 is three.

Who did he break his Chelsea duck against? West Ham of course.

It was March 2010 at Stamford Bridge on a rain-drenched pitch; Torres had started on the bench only to come on for Didier Drogba with 14 minutes remaining.

Six minutes from time he would get his goal, a real scruffy effort, but it didn't matter, he had finally scored.

Two and a half years on and Torres finds himself under even more pressure than ever.

At least back then he had Drogba to share the responsibility  That was later considered a hindrance to him personally, but Drogba is gone now and Torres is every bit as frustrating as ever.

Now the success of the team rests on his shoulders. If he fails, it's likely Chelsea will fail, especially in the way Benitez has set up his side purely to get the best out of Torres.

Tomorrow of course the Hammers' defence will be entirely recognisable to the one he scored against in 2010.

West Ham's back line that day was Robert Green in goal, with a back four of Danny Gabbidon, Manuel da Costa, Jonathan Spector and Wayne Bridge.

That's a relegation doomed defence looking at it right there, and so it proved as they finished 20th.

Tomorrow it will be Sam Allardyce in the dugout, an old foe of Benitez, who has set his side up in a far more resilient way than Avram Grant did two seasons ago. At Old Trafford in midweek observers would have expected West Ham to fold after conceding in the first minute but they held firm and didn't let in another all game.

Will Torres have it as easy as he has done in the past? We wouldn't bet on it, in fact Chelsea may have more chance tomorrow if Benitez leaves the striker on the bench. 

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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