There have been far too few glimpses of Fernando Torres at his best since his £50m move to Chelsea, but if Jose Mourinho continues to keep the faith, there are promising signs that the Spaniard could finally get back to his punishing best.
On his 100th Chelsea appearance, Torres gave a timely reminder to his manager and just as importantly, the fans, of what he is capable of doing in a blue shirt.
His well-taken brace against Schalke not only capped a fine all-round display in which he could have claimed a hat-trick if it were not for the crossbar, but also left Chelsea in pole position to win Group E, where they are priced as the clear 1/6 favourites.
Of course, Torres has not had an easy time of it since his mega-bucks switch from Liverpool, where his inability to find the net with anything like the regularity he used to for the Reds, has led to the Spaniard becoming a figure of ridicule on occasions.
However, after featuring strongly in Chelsea’s glorious Champions League campaign of 2011/12, Chelsea fans began to warm to him slightly.
And this was followed up by a much better season in front of goal last term, where he scored 22 times and again was integral in Chelsea’s European success, this time in the Europa League.
What clearly has to improve though, is Torres’ poor Premier League strike-rate, but if he continues to get the backing from both manager and the home fans, the goals should come.
Mourinho had already publicly praised the player’s attitude and sharpness prior to Torres grabbing his third and fourth goals of the season against Schalke, and the body language suggests El Nino might just be back.
If Mourinho can get a confident Torres back scoring in the Premier League, then 23/10 title shots Chelsea will become a difficult force to stop.
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