There can be little doubt that Fernando Torres has rediscovered some inspiring form this season. His wonder strike in the Super Cup and Man of the Match display against Swindon was followed by another superb performance against Spurs. The Spaniard played with a fire in his belly and caused all kinds of problems across the Tottenham backline, it’s not unreasonable to conclude the new coaching team have been working hard to get more from Chelsea’s number nine.
Torres was simply unplayable at times, denied a goal his performance deserved by a fine Lloris save. Although this was his only shot in the game his all-round forward play was impressive. His two recovery tackles underlined his work rate from the front. Torres created three chances, more than any other player, won three out of his five aerial duels and completed two of his three take-ons. He had a healthy pass completion rate of 77% that saw 8 from 11 passes completed in the final third. On this reading it looks as though Mourinho is coaxing the very best out of Chelsea’s number nine but will suspension and injury now open the door for Eto’o? Can the Cameroonian stake his claim for the striking spot?
The early indications didn’t look particularly favourable when compared with Torrres’ form. Against Everton his pass completion was 67% with only six passes attempted, far lower than the Spanish forward and pointing to a lack of link-up play and understanding with his teammates. He created no chances against the Toffees, made no tackles and had no aerial duels. Where Eto’o did perform well was in being a threat with three attempted shots, one on target, and two successful take-ons from three attempts.
Against Steaua Eto’o’s performance, especially given that he was an early sub, was much improved. He had five attempts at goal, three on target – the pick of which surely his Van Basten-esque volley. His passed more (19/21), with more in the final third (10/10) and with an impressive completion rate of 90%. He also helped create four chances in open play but again made no tackles and won no aerial duels.
Perhaps the key statistic is the one that matters the most and that’s goals. Torres has found the net twice so far and is our only forward to have his name on the score sheet this season. If Eto’o is make a claim on the lone forward role he needs to up his game starting against the Canaries.