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The Fernando Torres Report - No. 11 - 21 January 2012 - Norwich

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The latest edition of The Fernando Torres Report is here! In this column, I offer my perspective on the £50m man and his team! Today, I look at yesterday's Premier League match against Norwich City.

Oh, man. If there has ever been an edition of The Fernando Torres Report I didn't want to write, it's been this one. In truth, I've never been more certain that my opinion will be viewed with derision than right now. Yesterday's match, both for Chelsea and for Fernando Torres, was perfect fodder for overreaction. Not that either was particularly great or free from sin, but they also weren't worth the anger directed towards them in the heat of yesterday's draw. Ultimately, we've gained over our London rivals. Of course, we've not gained as much as we could have, but if the two points are life and death already, we don't deserve fourth place. To get back on the topic of this article, Fernando Torres, yesterday's match was in no way the disaster it's become in the minds of some. Sure, he could have been better, like most of our players yesterday, but that performance didn't undo all of the progress he's been making recently.

You'd honestly think most Chelsea fans had walked in on Fernando Torres and their mother in bed after yesterday's match, and I, frankly, can't see why. The entire team were having a bit of an off day, not helped by the Norwich defence with easily one of their best performances of the season. Sadly for us, their defence was having one of those games marked not by particularly obvious good defending, but the sort of defending that renders the opposition attack anonymous. Fernando Torres, like most attackers, is rendered all but useless by that sort of defence, and it showed. As much as he lacked a cutting edge today, he was pretty well neutralized.

Chelsea only managed a few decent chances today, and most ended up in the hands of Drogba-slayer John Ruddy. The one which didn't came to Torres in the box, who, after struggling to get the ball out from his feet poked the ball wide of the post at close range. This miss was the one which caused the reaction against Fernando yesterday, with many taking the view that it was as bad as the one which was the genesis of this column. I very much disagreed, and still do. As far as I'm concerned, while Torres should have done better, it was the sort of miss every striker has ten times a season. It was certainly a significant moment in the match, as it was easily our best chance, but it was the sort of miss that happens all the time. Sometimes, the ball just gets caught in a players feet and spoils the chance.

The sad part for me isn't the fact that people were and still are venting their frustrations on Fernando Torres, it's that they're doing it for the wrong reason. The biggest problem I saw with Nando's game yesterday was not that he couldn't finish a chance that looked easier than it was. It was that he looked lost at times. He wasn't quite as sharp as he has been of late, even accounting for the lack of sharpness of the entire team and the good performance from Norwich's defence. Fernando was failing to make the runs into good positions and with the ball that have marked his recent run of decent form. Nando's other good chance was a good example of this. He received the ball from Ramires, but couldn't get into a good position, and was forced into a curling shot from the edge of the area which couldn't beat Ruddy, who saved it pretty easily.

All in all, yesterday's match was disappointing for Fernando, as evidenced by his being brought off for Lukaku in the seventy-seventh minute, but it was hardly piss-poor. I think there is a danger of making more of yesterday's match than is there to be made, both for Torres and Chelsea. I think it was one of those off days every team has from time to time combined with a stubborn defence to get a 0-0 draw. It happens. I don't think we can make any long-term judgements from this match. Both the team and player have been on poor streaks this season, but have recently improved again[, and I'm not sure they're unrelated]. Both Chelsea and Fernando Torres should be judged on a match-by-match basis at this point, after their poor runs of form, as their form differs match to match. If nothing else, keeping a cool head rather than jumping between complete optimism every time either has a decent game and complete pessimism when they don't is much better for your mental health.