Super Chelsea

A Chelsea Blog For All Chels

Super Chelsea - A Chelsea Blog For All Chels

Why Fernando Torres will shine under Mourinho

Fernando Torres has been coached by many world class managers at Chelsea. Ancelotti, Villas-Boas, and Di Matteo all failed to get the best out of him. While he did show some flashes of brilliance under Ancelotti, Villas-Boas, and Di Matteo it was the arrival of Rafa Benitez –hate him or dislike him -that brought more consistency from him.

Torres failed under Ancelotti because our style of play was completely different to that of Liverpool, he joined mid-season and the media pressure and scrutiny surrounding his record-breaking transfer was overwhelming. Our attacking players also made his task frustrating and difficult. Coming from a Liverpool system which relied on counter attacking and most chances falling perfectly for him (through balls and cut-back crosses), adjustment ended up being a herculean feat.

Torres came to meet a slow build-up style of football at Chelsea, which was the preferred method of attack in Ancelotti’s second year. This suited Drogba, who could be marked closely by a defender and still get a goal and not Torres cause it makes it easy for defenders to mark him out of the game.

Man-marking Drogba is an exercise in futility


Torres’ team mates created few chances and many of those few chances were not suited to his abilities as a striker. For example, there is little sense in lobbing the ball towards his chest and expecting him to score.

When he wasn’t getting clear chances, he tried to create his own. I would watch games and see Torres pass the ball to Kalou or Malouda and enter into good goal-scoring space expecting the return pass. Torres would never get the return pass, Kalou or Malouda would shoot for goal instead. It did not matter to them that Torres had moved to a better goal scoring position than they were in; personal glory came first for them as they were both fighting/competing heavily for a place in the team.

The situation didn’t change much under Villas-Boas, who made Chelsea play a highline defense. By doing so, Chelsea would maintain constant pressure on opposing teams and this forced them to defend deeper and counter attack. This leaves little space that can be exploited on the break and Torres performs better when such space exists.
The first half of Di Matteo’s reign was similar to Avram Grant’s reign as Chelsea manager in that he made little changes to the system but had highly motivated players who were keen to prove a point. We all know the first half of his reign ended fantastic.

The second half however brought Hazard and Oscar. These new players were able to link up well with Mata and score a lot of goals between them. They also created more chances for Torres than previous midfields had. If Di Matteo was able to create a balanced Chelsea team, maybe he would have been manager today. The team was fantastic in attack but terrible in defense which is surprising because Di Matteo brought us the FA Cup and Champions League on a foundation of solid defense. “Attack wins you games but strong defense wins you trophies”.

Torres had his best goal tally for Chelsea last season. I believe he could have easily gotten more than 23, maybe 35-40 goals if he played his old game. By old game, I mean passing to attacking midfield, running into space, receiving the return pass and scoring. However, this did not happen because Torres would often move wide of the goal when he could score more by being at center and that benefited Mata the most. I believe he moves wide to avoid being manhandled by center backs.

The reason why Torres will shine under Mourinho is because Mourinho loves counter attacking football. In 2005/06 season, Mourinho’s Chelsea scored 42% of its goals from counter attacks. 44% of goals came from slow build ups. The remainder of the goals came from set piece situations. 38% of the goals came from counter attack play of less than 10 seconds. 53% of the counter attack goals involved 3 passes or less. [Stats taken from Dick Bate, Future Game Presentation (2012)]

In the Super Cup game against Bayern Munich, Torres scored the first goal and it came from a defense-to-attack transition. When Hazard got the ball from Bayern, at that moment, a transition occurred. In order to prevent Bayern from organizing themselves making it difficult for us to score, Hazard quickly unleashed the ball to Schurrle on the right wing, who also doesn’t waste time and crosses the ball in which Torres finishes without taking a touch or thinking.

Most counter attacks that turn into goals are made with less than 6 passes and Chelsea scored against Bayern with 3. Bayern could do little about it because it took all of 5 seconds to occur. That is the type of football Mourinho likes to play.

Transitions have become crucial. When the opponent is organized defensively, it is very difficult to score. The moment the opponent loses the ball can be the time to exploit the opportunity of someone being out of position. Similarly when we lose the ball we must react immediately. In training I sometimes practice keeping a minimum of five players behind the ball, so that when we lose it we can still keep a good defensive shape. The players must learn to read the game – when to press and when to return to their defensive positions. Everybody says that set plays win most games, but I think it is more about transitions. – José Mourinho

If you still doubt Mourinho’s love for counter attacking that suits Torres, listen to him lament Chelsea’s failure to take advantage of opportunities to counter attack at Old Trafford.

That’s all I have for you Blues. Keep the blue flag flying high!
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So the summer transfer window was shut last night and for the first time in quite a while we weren’t involved in the deadline rush. Something I usually enjoy but don’t necessarily believe in. I like the seat I sat on, watching from afar as our rivals struggled to hustle in their targets at hiked prices. A seat that’s not squeaky when you feel your team has improved where needed (if you’re not bothered by the loans out). Being the glamorous club that we are I enjoy the spotlight but stealing Willian from the spu*s was more than enough fun for me. And yet myself I ask, “was it worth it?” to which I unconsciously reply “time will tell”. Before I evaluate our rivals’ dealings a look at our team is key.Chelsea Squad 2013/2014


  • Eto’o
  • Willian
  • Kevin De Bruyne
  • Essien
  • Van Ginkel
  • Schurrle


  • Lukaku
  • Moses
  • Marin
  • And everyone else that left early.




Where did we need improvement?

  •  Midfield – Numbers

Signed a young energetic box-to-box  man in Van Ginkel. He’s very balanced and I like such players at the base of the 4-2-3-1.  Essien returned and I see that as merely cover and won’t complain at all. Looks much fitter than last season when he departed from Madrid. Its nice to still have Mikel (look no further than his presence vs Bayern last Friday) as he, Ramires and Lampard would easily be the mainstays in those positions. I also like that the 2 cover players are a mix of young and old (mvg and ess). 5 players. 2 positions.

Rating: ***’

  • Attacking Midfield – Numbers

Why numbers? Last season:

Player 2012/2013 Starts (Subs) – Club + International
Mata 60 (15)
Oscar 71 (21)
Hazard 61 (15)

A few cameos for Marin/Bertrand and Ramires/Moses’ several  appearances on the right wing didn’t stop our brilliant three creators from being overworked. We did play in 8 competitions but the ones that weren’t our usual didn’t amount to a total of 10 games and so shouldn’t be a factor. These positions were our strength and we relied on these players over and over but they are only humans(duh) and we really needed to acquire cover over the summer to bring out the best in them

10 goals + 10 assists makes kevin de bruyne an easy recall and he is definitely not in want of quality as a creative midfielder. It also helps that he’s at home on the right side of the pitch, an area we’e struggled with.

Willian is a brilliant footballer  and it’s great to have him after missing out on him a few years ago. He’s comfortable across all 3 positions (not unlike de bruyne, both excel even in deeper roles) and always wanted to play for us. There isn’t much more could you ask for.

Schurrle. I can be cliché with the pace, width and hardwork he offers because that’s about it. And yes, that football intelligence expected of a German.

Marin and Moses? Two signings proposed/supposed to offer more natural width than the brilliant 3 being replaced by players more similar to those 3. Bad decision? No. Neither seemed like cutting it (yes I know Moses had a few decent games/important Europa league goals but doesn’t compare to the quality of WILLIAN?).

Quality wingers are a rarity in our current football world. And while everyone is raising/chasing attacking midfielders across Europe, we have six of such who are QUALITY competing for 3 positions and you have to love it.

Rating: *****

  • Center Forward – Quality.

From Torres-Ba to Torres-Ba-Lukaku (who everyone was hoping would be our main striker after a solid stint at WEST BROM – an opinion I quite loudly never shared) to Torres-Ba-Eto’o. Do I like this forward line? Yes. Do I love it? No. With strikers, you aim to have diversity in style (skillful, target man, poacher) and age/experience. At the mention of target man Lukaku’s frame lights up immediately but is it worth keeping him just to have a strong player to bring on when you can’t break down tough defences? Is he better off at Everton where he would most certainly start 30+ games? Lots of questions I can ask, but if Mourinho felt that a strong target man was integral to his season plans he would’ve kept him.

Why don’t I love it?

Simple. The striker problem is still there. We merely added a 32 yr old on a 1-year contract.

If Samuel can hit full fitness, I trust his killer instinct to put him in the 20’s by the seasons end. Why? Diverse finishing (something Niño lacks).

Of all our forwards Torres understand our players best and we generally play better when he’s on the pitch. The conundrum for me is why this hasn’t been reciprocal for the most part (topic for a different day).

Ba? I think he’s lucky to still be here. Not a bad 3rd option to have and I hope he improves and seizes his opportunities.

Rating: ***’

PS: I think Schwarzer for Hilario and Turnbull was perfect.
The Rivals

Ozil to Arsenal takes the cupcake. Why will a player who is one of the best in the world by any standard in his position move to a team with far less ambition/ quality? Not playing time cause barely any footballers should start ahead of him. Potential? Certainly not THIS Arsenal squad. I have to believe he didn’t realize how unsure his position at the club was until late and at the end he made a decision. I don’t see why Madrid will reject a 42m with the amount of talent they’ve brought in (looking from their perspective because footballing-wise the transition makes little football sense). Let’s talk about 42m. Why will a team with Giroud and Podolski as strikers, Flamini, Diaby as defensive midfielders, a maximum of 3 decent centre backs and Wilshere,Ramsey, Arteta* and Cazorla as creative options choose to spend practically all of their transfer kitty on a position they seem to be doing best at? If we see more of such in the near future it’ll make sense. Yet, I still don’t see them as realistic title challengers. Yet.

Why Ozil left?

Arsenal midfield problems, will he solve them?

Rating: ***** (My mind screams 4 (fee + position) but just because its Mesut I gave a 5. He’s THAT good)

Fellaini to United. I really don’t know what Manchester United is looking for in midfield. Creativity? Grit? Balance? The bilbao lad whose clause they almost released was set to be one of the worst knee-jerk buys in recent history and luckily or unluckily they dodged that peel. It bothers me (not really) that with all the midfielders across Europe they’ve gone for Marouane. Tottenham Hotspur can sign Christian Eriksen for 10m* but UNITED have to settle with Fellaini. Is it because Moyes wants be reunited with his boy or they actually need him in the team? Questions.

Rating: ***

Worthy Mentions
Moses and Sahko to Liverpool. Moses will offer little by way of improvment. Sahko, is a good defender and will certainly do no harm to an already great defence. IF Livepool can keep either Sturridge or Suarez firing they won’t find it hard to gain points.

(I know nothing about the other guy.)

Rating: *****
Eriksen and Lamela to Spurs. Eriksen, all things being normal, is set to be a huge star in this league. He has and is surrounded by all it’ll take him and I can’t overemphasize how big a deal this is barring the dutch injury plague. I may be very wrong but, Madrid in 2-3 years? Lamela, on the other hand, is another decent technical wide player and would be more of a difference maker than Chadli on the other flank. Quailty dealings potentially, but I’m not worried at the moment.

Rating: *****

In conclusion I ask 2 questions. Does any other team in the league possess an outright better team/squad on paper? Does any other team posses a better manager than Mourinho? If the answers are no, what then could stop us from winning the league? I hope I never find out.


PS: The ratings evaluate the transfer dealings based on my opinion of the players’ worth vs fee, potential and tactical fit into the team.