Sunday, 18 September 2011

United should fear Torres rebirth


Nemanja Vidic used to have nightmares about him. Manchester United keepers froze when he bore down on them.
The Stretford End used to hold their breath and watch through their fingers.
Because when United met Fernando Torres. It was murder.
During his Liverpool days the cavalier Spanish striker was the scourge of Old Trafford.
For three games running he found the United net. And the merry dance he led Alex Ferguson's defence during the embarrassing 4-1 thrashing in March 2009 is an indelible stain on Vidic's career.
His reputation alone should make the title leaders shudder when they take on Torres' new club Chelsea today.
There should be bags under Jonny Evans eyes following a sleepless night worrying about what Torres is about to do.
But astonishingly that's not the case. In fact, despite looking outclassed for Benfica's opener in midweek, Jonny is probably more worried about the searing pace of Daniel Sturridge than a misfiring Torres.
For whilst Torres has pouched a World Cup winners medal and a big Euro 2008 badge, more recently it's United defenders that have had him in their pocket.
Those three goals mentioned earlier are the only ones he's scored in 11 games and 844 minutes of action against Fergie's men. From prolific to profligate.
But now is not the time to be cocky, for Torres is eyeing today as the perfect time for a renaissance.
He has endured a torrid time at Stamford Bridge but in his mind he knows his barren patch will not last forever.
Having inherited a £50m white elephant, Andre Villas-Boas' biggest job is saving Roman Abramovich from looking daft and bringing the best out in Torres.
And his smartest move was snapping up Juan Mata to provide him some much needed support.
Although Torres may have been misquoted in claiming his struggles in front of goal are down to his team-mates being too old and slow, there is some credence to the notion.
Frank Lampard was never going to be the clever instigator of chances, as Steven Gerrard had been at Liverpool.
The Chelsea midfielder's raison d'ĂȘtre was claiming the glory for himself by getting into the box and snipping away.
So the introduction of Mata, and his touch of Spanish elegance is a perfect fillip for Torres.
Here is a man on his wave length, just as Gerrard was at Anfield.
Now all Torres needs is a break, a strike to fizz home rather than bobble wide. A classy finish to land him a spot on Match of the Day's Goal of the Month.
Then we'll see the return of the old Torres. The man who terrified Old Trafford. Fergie will secretly be crossing his fingers that goal does not come today.
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