There have been many discussions regarding the above subject, since the arrival of the Newcastle striker Demba Ba. Everyone will have their own thoughts on this but I will look at it technically and tactically to see if there is a good way to incorporate both players in the system.
It’s highly unlikely that Rafa Benitez will change the system, but I feel he might well look at tinkering it slightly. It would be extreme to move to a 4-4-2 and play both Torres and Ba as front men. The players we have would have grown used to the current system and drastically moving positions around like that will cause distraction and holes will open up all around the pitch, thus potentially creating a tactical disaster.
At the moment, we use a 4-2-3-1 system which we have been playing for sometime now. But if you remember back in the days of Carlo Ancelotti, he had a similar problem with Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba. Ancelotti was already using a 4-3-3 formation and he wanted to play both Drogba and Anelka. On many occasions we would see Anelka playing as one of the wide strikers and in all honesty, for the majority of the time it was effective. Anelka would cause problems out there, he even learnt his defensive roles as well.
I believe that Benitez will want to nurture Fernando Torres in to a similar role and could well be about to tweak the formation in to more of a 4-3-3. Although I would be rather skeptical about any such move, I do feel that Torres as a wide striker, might well be a good move.
When you watch Torres of late, he often drifts wide and prefers to take on the full back in a one on one situation, often getting the better of them. He seems to prefer to mix it up, drop back, go wide and attempt to create rather than be a target man. This could be used effectively if he is deployed as a wide striker.
The Spaniard even has a good ability to cross the ball, which would be met by a goal hungry Demba Ba in the centre. How often have we seen crosses come in of late, with nobody in the middle to meet them? Torres will often be out of position for a centre forward, using his own hunger to get the ball at his feet, where he likes it.
I truly believe that a confident Torres could be a very dangerous prospect out on the left, beating his full back, cutting in on his right foot and firing in a curling effort in to the top right-hand corner.
I feel this would be the only real effective way to play both Ba and Torres. We must also remember that the 4-3-3 formation would allow for a more solid midfield and will see the likes of Mikel, Oscar, Luiz, Ramires and Lampard rotating. I also like using a holding midfield player, it gives more freedom for creativity from the likes of Oscar and Luiz in front of them. Juan Mata scores a lot of goals for us, if he plays as a wide striker, we would see more goals. With him, Torres, Hazard and Marin rotating in those positions and Torres and Ba rotating up top, it could prove to be quite an effective formula.
I am not claiming that this would be a guaranteed success and players would need time to learn different roles etc. But with Roman Abramovich and Rafa Benitez wanting to get the best out of Torres, I can see him be effective as a wide striker. Whether Benitez will change things is unknown, there are many other ways that he might use Torres. He might stick to rotating him with Ba, it would take a bold manager to attempt to ‘do an Anelka’ with Torres, but having already hinted at it, we might just be about to witness this very soon.