It's Man of the Match Fernando Torres's world; we're just living in it

Clive Rose

1. FERNANDO TORRES - FC 9.2
Minutes played90
Touches39
Passes10*/15
Shots3*/5
Take-ons3/8
Fouls drawn4
Nice things5
Facepalms1
TORRES! TORRES! TORRES! Stamford Bridge echoed his name. Imagine if that beautiful shot doesn't clang off the crossbar (a second crossbar is as many matches) and instead shimmies in just underneath it! Three years we've waited. I think we, as fans, deserved this one, even the ones like me who had written ol' Nando off over 18 months ago.  Thank you.

One goal, one assist.  Apparently no successful crosses though, according to Opta.  That's a bit strange.  And all that after a rather shocking miss that would've surely destroyed him (again) a la the Manchester United miss.  But it didn't and in fact it had the exact opposite effect.  Didn't even need a mask this time!

And if you're keeping track, this now makes fives goals in seven starts (one of which was cut short after 10 minutes), fourth Man of the Match award this season (11 appearances), and his eight in his last 23 rated appearances stretching back to last season.

On the radio this morning Neil Barnett credited Mourinho's preseason training as the biggest influence on the rebirth of Torres.  Whatever the reason, whatever he as the manager or Torres as the player himself are doing, please don't stop.

2. RAMIRES - MC 7.8
Minutes played90
Touches65
Passes38/46
Shots0/1
Take-ons4/5
Tackles3/5
Fouls drawn3
Nice things4
Facepalms2
A good game from all-action Ramires, although in my humble yet infallible opinion nowhere near 1.4 points better than Frank Lampard (who once again falls to third worst according to all y'all).

Chelsea's two midfielders combined to put the Yaya Touré on Yaya Touré, hassling him early and often, fouling if necessary (5 of Chelsea's 11 total and both yellow cards), and generally succeeding in making the big man less of an influence than we know him to be.  As they used to say with Shaq, 'you can't stop him, you can only hope to contain him.'  And while Ramires was chasing, Lampard was backing up and making interceptions (3) and clearances (4/4).

3. ANDRE SCHURRLE - AML/AMR 7.5
Minutes played65
Touches31
Passes14/16
Shots1*/2
Take-ons0/4
Tackles3/4
Clearances3/3
Nice things1
Facepalms0
It was a bit of a weird game for the German, for me.  In attack, he played almost like a center forward partnering Torres, in defense he pressed a lot and pretty much everywhere on the pitch.  His Opta stats dashboard looks like one of those abstract artworks where someone just splashes paint randomly on the canvas.

But he made the perfect run for Torres to pick out (although failed to make a similar run when it was Oscar's turn to cross from the same place) and his defensive work-rate was easily higher than Hazard's & Oscar's combined.

Also, a special shout-out to his celebration on the bench for Torres's winner.  Here it is in all its glorious, slo-mo GIF glory.  Oh, how I adore thee.

OTHERS:
Cech (6.7), Ivanovic (7.4), Cahill (6.1), Terry (7.4), A.Cole (7.2), Lampard (6.4), Oscar (6.9), Hazard (6.7)

SUBS:
Willian (6.7), Mikel (6.8), Eto'o (6.1)

---

This match, perhaps unsurprisingly, was distinctly lacking in derpy moments from our boys on Blue, while almost every player had at least one moment in the sun.  Whether it was them raising their game for this titanic early season clash of title contenders, or whether it was Mourinho's magic finally getting through their thick skulls, it was a clean, smart, efficient game, for the most part, from Chelsea.

Also, a thumbs up should go to Howard Webb for keeping control of the game, while letting both teams play.  Webb gets a lot of stick for whatever reason - he is a referee after all - but this match reasserted his position as easily England's best.

NICE THINGS:

  • Torres (5):
    1. 33' - beats Clichy around the corner with a hesitation move; perfect low cross for Schürrle to tap in.
    2. 36' - header lays the ball into Schürrle's path, who's unfortunately a yard offside
    3. 37' - fantastic effort after beating Demichelis and losing Zabaleta; no luck as it clangs off the bar (Mourinho's reaction sums it all up)
    4. 59' - lovely skill to pass/flick the ball to Oscar to get out of trouble and relieve the City pressure
    5. 90' - Hustle is his middle name, scoring "belief goals" is his game
  • Lampard (4):
    1. 9' - sticks it to Yaya Touré with a slide tackle; concedes the free kick in a non-threatening position
    2. 20' - his second crucial interception/clearance in the penalty area already
    3. 22' - sticks it to Yaya Touré Fernandinho with a slide tackle; concedes the free kick in a non-threatening position but get a yellow for his troubles
    4. 45' - wins the ball with a slide tackle just ahead of Yaya Touré; gets up and clears for a corner with another slide tackle
  • Ramires (4)
    1. 26' - sticks it to Yaya Touré with a slide tackle; concedes a throw-in in a non-threatening position
    2. 28' - wins the ball at the near touchline; curls in a mighty pretty, perfectly shaped cross from deep
    3. 75' - wins a free kick in a dangerous position with a typical surge through the middle
    4. 90+4' - wins the free kick to seal the deal
  • Ivanovic (3):
    1. 26' - nutmegs David Silva
    2. 33' - wins the header near the halfway line from Cech's goal kick, not for the first time
    3. 64' - he's a bag of tricks, that boy
  • Hazard (2):
    1. 55' - makes a fool out of Zabaleta who ends up on his backside
    2. 56' - plays a medium-range 1-2 with Lampard to get free on the left wing
  • A.Cole (2):
    1. 78' - nice look to pick out Hazard's run, who fluffs the control/first-touch (wasn't so easy, in his defense)
    2. 90' - beasting 1-v-1 all game long
  • Onesies
    • Cahill, 3' - first-time volley from Oscar's cross; we've seen him hit those before, this one flew just over the top
    • Oscar, 45+2' - lovely first touch to get loose in the box; cross a bit lacking although no one was making the necessary run towards goal
    • Schürrle, 58' - applies heavy pressure not for the first time, wins the ball
    • Cech, 65' - with the left-foot save as David Silva wriggles free
    • Mikel, 78' - sliding interception to stop City counter and set up a Ramires chance in one fell swoop.
    • Willian, 83' - just how did he manage to keep and cross that ball in?
    • Eto'o, 88' - tracks back to defensive mid to help out Mikel

FACEPALMS:

  • Ramires (2)
    1. 52' - foul on Nasri; terrible angle taken, terrible timing, lucky that it wasn't in the box
    2. 74' - ill-advised rough challenge on David Silva; lucky to not get a second yellow
  • Onesies
    • Torres, 29' - dearie me, that was a shocking miss
    • Cahill, 49' - beep, beep, beep, beep; back it up; hold the line, GC!
    • Terry, 73' - gambles on Agüero run, gets beaten badly; fortunate to not have something more come from that
    • Hazard, 77' - a terrible waste of a good crossing position near the corner of the box
    • Willian, 84' - lazy, careless offside by Willian to end to Chelsea's spell of possession
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