The Fernando Torres Conundrum

COBHAM ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 04: Fernando Torres speaks to the media at the Chelsea Press Conference on February 4 2011 in Cobham England. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Fernando Torres. 50M man from Liverpool. One goal in Chelsea colours since his move in Janaury, but once a devastating force in both La Liga and England.

All in all... He's a bit of an odd one at the moment, isn't he? Although Torres is considered something of a running joke amongst those who want to antogonise Blues fans right now, those who've paid attention to Chelsea's opening matches have seen something far closer to Liverpool issue than the player who spent half a season at Stamford Bridge forcing journalists to find new and exciting synonyms for 'woeful'.

Against Stoke, Torres was superb - manager Tony Pulis singled him out for praise as the Blues dominated their hosts in the second half. Against West Bromwich Albion, he didn't reach the same heights as in the opener, but he was still a far more effective player than he ever was last season (with the exception of that cameo against West Ham United, of course). It wouldn't be totally wrong to say that Torres has re-found his groove.

But it would be slightly wrong, because despite the 27-year-old playing well this season, nothing is happening for him. It's not that he's not putting chances away or that he hasn't scored, it's that he's not getting any chances at all! The closest Torres has come to a goal was off a set piece, and the vast majority of his shots have come off chances that he's forged for himself. It's only been two games, but it's clear that something is still amiss.

Last year, pundits amused themselves by talking about confidence and form, but this season's Torres has so far demonstrated something very different - he can play as well as he likes, but unless the team is able to accommodate him (and so far, it hasn't), that won't make a single shred of difference. In order to succeed, Torres needs help from the rest of his team.

That, of course, will come as no surprise to most, but the Fernando Torrres question remains the most important unanswered question about this Chelsea side. Juan Mata has been brought in at least partially to address the lack of opportunities falling his compatriot's way, and the reason most fans have been screaming for a midfield creator is to give Torres the opportunity to be played into space, where he's at his most dangerous.

Torres' lack of goals, shots and chances despite being Chelsea's centre forward is the one thing Villas-Boas must be looking to address about this side, and he needs to do it quickly, or the striker's confidence is liable to fall off a cliff again. Mata might be the solution, but it's unclear at this point whether we can rely on the little winger to solve all of our problems, and that's the main reason Chelsea are remaining active in the transfer window.

How effectively Andre Villas-Boas resolves this problem may well prove the difference between a successful season and a failure. I think we're in the right hands, but it'd be nice to see progress being made, and quickly.

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