Chelsea’s Fernando Torres is decent – not world class reflects on Chelsea's struggles after their comprehensive defeat by Napoli on Tuesday

By Sportsbeat
andre villas-boas
André Villas-Boas's side were beaten 3-1 by Napoli on Tuesday The Sport Review

andre villas-boas

Torres is not world class

The time has come for us to recognise Fernando Torres for what he really is, a distinctly average striker who had a couple of great seasons.

Others may disagree but you need to produce on a regular basis to be a truly world-class striker, something he has never done.

For two seasons at Liverpool he was fantastic, comfortably the best finisher in the Premier League who looked like he could score goals for fun.

But rather than that being the norm, this was very much the exception. Take a look at his track record.

At Atlético Madrid he was the face of the franchise, club captain and star striker and yet he never scored 20 goals in a La Liga season, and by the end of his time there was averaging a goal every three games.

What he would give to average that now. Since his £50m move to Chelsea his free-scoring ways of his pomp at Liverpool are very much a thing of the past.

Three league goals in 34 appearances is embarrassingly bad and his strike rate for Spain isn’t all that impressive either – 27 goals in 91 games.

Of course you can say that El Niño offers more than just goals but we all know that’s not the case, in the grand scheme of things goals are what he is paid for.

It’s sad to watch Torres play at the moment, so woefully short of confidence and a shadow of the player he once was but for many it won’t come as a surprise.

Torres is a pretty good striker, not a world beater, and certainly not worth £50m so let’s stop waiting for the goal rush.

Chelsea’s biggest problem is their abject defence

While nearly the entire focus on Chelsea has been on the eternal struggle for Torres to score goals, the Spaniard’s woes in front of goal has distracted attention from the Blues’ true failings: in defence.

Despite handing out the odd spanking to some relegation candidates at Stamford Bridge, their game was never predicated on outright attack.

It was instead based on keeping clean sheets – a trip to Chelsea’s home ground used to mean 90 minutes of frustration for any striker – not anymore.

So far this season Chelsea have shipped 19 league goals at home – more than any team outside the bottom five.

And the bigger the microscope the worse it looks as Tuesday’s trip to Southern Italy testifies.

It is amazing to think that Chelsea actually had to beat off competition to sign Gary Cahill.

Despite just a handful of appearances, it is already fair to say that Cahill will be remembered as a lower-league defender way out of his depth at the highest level.

When defending long balls at the Reebok he was fine – he even looked slightly cultured alongside Zat Knight.

But put him in the Champions League against a front three with pace, power and skill, and he looked completely overawed by the occasion.

At least Chelsea only wasted £7m on that particular disaster, the £20m they blew on David Luiz is a much more harrowing waste of transfer funds.

It is one thing to look like Sideshow Bob – but it is entirely another to play like you are wearng clown size shoes.

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