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Torres pushes West Ham to brink

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Phil McNulty | 22:32 UK time, Saturday, 23 April 2011

Stamford Bridge

The gathering storm clouds were black and ominous, although the lights just about stayed on. It was as if West Ham United's current state was being reflected in the prevailing conditions at Stamford Bridge.

The lightning that flashed in west London's leaden skies did not strike, but Fernando Torres finally did to end West Ham's push for a point and conclude 732 tortuous minutes without a goal for Chelsea on his 14th appearance since a £50m move from Liverpool in January.

Avram Grant stood soaked and frustrated in the technical area as stifling summer heat was replaced by the cracking of thunder and a downpour of epic proportions that fused a few floodlights, leaving West Ham's manager bemoaning the weather, the fates and a man called Fernando.

Some of Grant's gripes were justified after a West Ham display that contained much to satisfy, but others were rendered hollow by a glance at the Premier League table. The team that is bottom with four games to go cannot blame ill-fortune alone.

For Chelsea, slim hopes of catching leaders Manchester United and retaining their title live on after a 3-0 victory that was flattering, but notable for a 14-minute cameo from Torres that was an electrifying flashback to his pomp.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti admits Chelsea are a long shot as they stand six points behind with only four games left, but three emphatic wins in a week at least sustains the ambition a little longer.

Fernando Torres

Torres handled the wet conditions superbly as he turned to score his first for Chelsea. Photo: Reuters

And finally they saw their British record signing make a decisive contribution to ease nerves as they battled to protect the slender lead Frank Lampard's first-half goal had given them with West Ham pushing hard.

Torres, on as substitute for Didier Drogba, had already hinted at his intent by unselfishly setting up Nicolas Anelka for a shot that was cleared off the line by Danny Gabbidon, when the moment he and Stamford Bridge had been waiting for arrived after 84 minutes.

Chasing Anelka's pass diagonally into the box, it looked like Torres would be thwarted by the weather as the ball held up in water gathered in the penalty area. Showing the instincts of old, he checked his run before turning and, despite Wayne Bridge's close attendance, sweeping a left-foot finish past Robert Green.

Almost as significant was the unity shown by his Chelsea team-mates as they chased him down to a corner of the Matthew Harding stand to shower him with celebrations and share his very obvious elation.

It also allowed the brave band of Chelsea fans sporting "I was there when Torres scored" t-shirts through pelting rain to have that extra spring in their step as they strolled around Stamford Bridge after the final whistle.

Torres certainly had a better day than another Chelsea striker of great standing, namely the legendary Bobby Tambling, who was ushered on for a half-time lap of honour as something akin to the apocalypse descended on Stamford Bridge.

Poor Tambling's 202 goals for the club, including two in a 5-5 draw with the Hammers in 1966, counted for nothing as the old boy's umbrella was swept unceremoniously away in the howling storms and he was uncharitably forced to lap the ground to a thorough drenching when surely a simple wave to his adoring public and an immediate dash for cover would have sufficed.

Torres, in contrast, knew it was his lucky day when an injury-time pass intended for Anelka was misread by the striker and fell perfectly for Florent Malouda to apply a spectacular thump into the top corner.

While Torres' early performances were not bad enough to have him written off as comprehensively as he was in some quarters, this brief return to former glories is insufficient to announce normal service has resumed. It was, though, a sign that a sublime talent remains despite recent struggles.

Ancelotti was impressed enough to state publicly that he will spend the next week working on the training ground to forge a serious partnership between Drogba and Torres, something which he has singularly failed to do thus far. If successful, he will pair them against Tottenham at Stamford Bridge next Saturday.

He said: "It was an important moment for Fernando, the team and all the fans who have waited for him to score. It was great. It will help him but was also a relief obviously. Now his future will be fantastic here at this club.

"He was unlucky when the ball got stuck in the water but it was fantastic movement by him to stop, turn and then score."

It was also an important moment for Grant and West Ham because it ensured they paid the price for profligacy in front of goal and much good work elsewhere counted for nothing.

Robbie Keane was the chief culprit with 17 minutes left after a miss that was West Ham's biggest, and ultimately last, chance to claim a point. He is a player past his peak, but the Keane of not so long ago would have been more accomplished than to sweep Jonathan Spector's perfect pass wide of Petr Cech and the post with only the keeper to beat.

As Chelsea chase what looks like a distant dream, West Ham's priorities point in a different direction and Grant cut the image of a manager clutching at straws after the game.

The missed chances and absences of Footballer of the Year Scott Parker and defender Matthew Upson allowed him to clutch with some conviction but hard luck stories alone do not end up with a team propping up the Premier League.

Grant's worry is that poor performances have been punished with defeat and now a decent one has as well. And his assertion that "we deserve to play in this league" is no grounds for safety, falling only one step short of the ill-judged "too good to go down" argument that has proved riddled with holes in the past. West Ham are in a four-game fight for their lives.

West Ham's supporters, steadfastly loyal and unfailingly vociferous, deserve to be in the Premier League but Grant and his team are another matter entirely. They must prove they deserve to retain such status in the remaining games.

It can be achieved if they put a finish on the approach work that troubled Chelsea here - but it is going to be a mighty close run thing.

Fernando Torres walked off in the rain feeling his Premier League career with Chelsea was finally under way. West Ham United have just four games to ensure they make his acquaintance again next season.

You can follow me at twitter.com/philmcnulty and join me on Facebook.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    The performance of West Ham, Wigan, Wolves, to some extent Blackpool and Blackburn make me even more vorciferous in my call for an 18 team Premier League and an 18 team Championship.

    Well done Chelsea for keeping the PL exciting for another week and for not folding under the pressure - I'm sure many a team in top-4 would have played WHUFC and got a 1-1 draw in the circumstances.

  • Comment number 2.

    United fan here .. Watched the first half and west ham squandered a couple of gilt-edged chances .. was hoping they would get somethin even after lampard's goal .. nevertheless happy to see torres score.. i hope that wipes the smiles of atleast a few loathing liverpool fans and he answers the rest next season ..

  • Comment number 3.

    WOW...go Fernando. The sense of relief coupled with the euphoria was amazing. I don't hate the guy nor do I worship him, but that's what the Premier League needs, great strikers scoring goals.

  • Comment number 4.

    West Ham fan. We simply weren't clinical enough in front of goal. Phil, you mentioned Keanes chance, but I think that Coles chance was just as good a chance, and why he didn't hit it first time is something I think only he will know.

    I'd seen enough though yesterday to suggest we'll be fine, providing we improve our finishing. I'm was hoping we'd be safe by our last game (at home to Sunderland), but that's looking unlikely.

  • Comment number 5.

    I wouldn't be too excited for Torres yet, the manager now and in future has to do many things to the team for Torres to be accomodated and start firing. He is lazy in a team that thrives on hard work. Drogba, Lampard , Essien, Terry, Malouda, Kalou all exemplify this. When Drogba's energy levels are down chelsea is down and so it is with any of the guys in the team. He will remain the weak link and the bid to please the money man by playing him will only play on the minds of the rest of the team, himself and the fans. Yesterday other than the goal he didn't do many things differently since the move. Its not about his skill as no one can question that, its about him not fitting in the team set up and play.

  • Comment number 6.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    The table doesn't lie. As a WH fan it is a very disappointing position to be in especially after the dramas of the season before when Zola was there.

    There was a short run up to the Bolton game when the team had started to play better AND get results. Losing Parker as a result of his England exertions could prove fatal.

    Still it shouldn't be about one player. The rest of the team have to shoulder the responsibility. Wolves and Wigan have often showed more guts than us. It isn't over, but it has to be very unlikely now.

    I don't agree with the comment about 18 teams. Whats the differnce? you would just end up with a top six and a bottom 12.

    What some fans should remember is that as a London club we play 8 derbies a year, sometimes more. It makes a championship tilt for clubs like Arsenal and Chelsea (and maybe Spurs in the future) and staying up for teams like us, Fulham and QPR next year massively difficult.

    But as I said at the top. The table doesn't lie. We weren't good enough and I'm not sure Grant was good enough either, sadly.

  • Comment number 9.

    Good to see Torres score hopefully he bangs in a few more before the season ends. 2nd place would be decent considering the season we have had. Oh and as far as 'paying-back' the £50m goes, he has already recouped that in shirt sales!

  • Comment number 10.

    I suppose now it's when critics will change the menu on serving the same soup about Torres for his supposedly lost killer instinct. The fact though is he scored a really beautiful goal, in a terrible pitch and managed to have an assist, in only 10 minutes.

    Had his header against United gone in and in the offside by inches (last week?) was a few inches back, he would have scored 3 up to now, counting assists too.

    Next season has 38 full games for Chelsea, plus Champions League and domestic Cup competitions, plus a decent pre-season that he missed last summer.

    I wouldn't be surprised if he starts scoring every week now. Put those bitter fans to rest, Fernando. Great goal!

  • Comment number 11.

    10 @Football_UK
    I thought u were a united fan...

  • Comment number 12.

    @ 11, fergie_time,

    Yes I am a United fan, quite fanatical actually, up to a point. I also am a football fan and want to see top class players playing their trade in the Premier League and be able to watch them. I suppose club support has to be blind, to be to your taste? :)

  • Comment number 13.

    I can't see how West Ham are going to escape the drop.

    It's all very well saying they showed yesterday they are good enough, but they are running out of games, and they are a team that can't defend.

  • Comment number 14.

    12 @Football_UK
    Even I want to see d best players playing their best football but this barren run for Torres was nice to see...the jokes that were made on Torres like in Fifa 12 there is a new difficulty level called Torres mode in which u cant score...

  • Comment number 15.

    It's a strange call that one asking for a reduction of the participants in the Premier League to 18 clubs. It's even more strange to see it coming this season, where Premiership's fascination is more related to the relegation battle, with many good teams out there fighting the drop.

    Perhaps we easily forget about those Goliath v David battles of the premiership, but I could easily remind you of some:
    - the stuffing United got at the hands of West Ham for the Carling Cup and the epic come-back they had to mastermind on their recent visit to Upton Park;
    - United's first defeat this season, fair and square, in the hands of Wolves;
    - Wigan stopping Arsenal and beating Spurs, in White Hart Lane(?);
    - Blackburn being a past champion and a team difficult to break down at their home;
    - Blackpool and their performances this season.

    18 clubs for the premiership? you're having a laugh, surely.
    It could be the case, had the bottom clubs been unable to compete, season after season. Still, though, the Premiership would be like an escalator with a short stay for teams arriving from the Championship.

    If the reduction of numbers of games is the thought behind, the solution is the other one: every country has one cup competition, while this country has two.

  • Comment number 16.

    Two very sublime footballing moments came into view in yesterdays PL engagements.

    1.Hernandez scoring an undeniably skilled header for ManU. It came so late in the game to be an all important moment for high celebrations that ensued. I have to say this 'Chicarito' is an enviable asset for ManU.

    2. Torres scoring a skillfully executed goal in a goal line melee. All hell broke lose, what with very emotive celebrations by Team Chelsea. If ever there was a mixture of relief and elation to bond a great team, this was it.

    One could be forgiven if one were led to believe Chelsea had won something great, say the PL or the CL. That it was merely a goal to seal a win against the struggling-to-stay-afloat WHUFC never seemed to be enough of a reality.

    Now I suspect I know the reason why the 50m. Torres had remained a goal-virgin at Chelsea for so long (732 minutes as logged by Phil).

    I do not think he takes a bath before he comes for a game. It took the heavens to open up and pour in abundance to wash away all his sins and tension. His brief stay on the pitch was further illuminated by two excellent ball passes to Anelka and Malouda.

    Let us say he now can log some relaxed sleep.

  • Comment number 17.

    £50m sub scores goal after 14 matches trying.

  • Comment number 18.

    @ 14, fergie_time,

    If you're bitter, I recomment Guinness, Murphy's, John Smith, London Pride and many more brands.

    If you want to moan about Torress on the day he scored coming as a sub and also having an assist, please use some other nickname as the platform to that. You're silly - vividly silly.

  • Comment number 19.

    5: malouda and kalou high work rates? Torres lazy? you obviously havn't been watching Chelsea play. When Drogba's energy levels are down Chelsea play badly? I'm sorry, but you must have missed the Copenhagen game because he wasn't even playing. Chelsea are going to change their whole way of playing and are going to buy wingers in the summer because otherwise we wouldn't have just splashed out 50 million without knowing what we were doing.

  • Comment number 20.

    @ 16, Sevenseaman,

    You're absolutely spot on!

    Chicarito's header was a piece of work for a short man (let's don't forget that).

    Torres's goal was stunning, considering the condition of the pitch. Passing the ball from right foot to left, turning around and scoring in a pool of a pitch, losing the defender in the process was art. Let's don't forget Carlton Cole losing his feet when he was presented with a clinical opportunity in the same match.

    In the highlights of the day, I would also add Cox's goal for West Brom and Rodrigez's hat-trick for Liverpool - he reminded me of his Atletico Madrid days.

  • Comment number 21.

    "otherwise we wouldn't have just splashed out 50 million without knowing what we were doing"

    Really?

  • Comment number 22.

    @ Football_UK - my idea is that the top 2 divisions though would be much, much closer in terms of starting quality insofar as it doesnt deny promotion/relegation/build success a'la BWFC or BCFC but means there are teams just happy to be in CCC e.g. Peterbrough last season and would see teams like Wigan & Derby competing at their resourced level.
    I do agree about cup comps tho - would WHUFC be doing better in the PL if they'd not had to enter two cup comps? Maybe the FLC should be scrapped and replaced with an internal "Champs Leage" comp to replace Charity Shield - the Champs of each League play a pre-season comp over two days at Wembley?

  • Comment number 23.

    The relegation battle will go to the last day of d season but d title race would be over pretty soon...West Ham will probably go down n thats why I dont understand y r they getting the olympic stadium for a team which will not be in d premier league as we know its very difficult to come back immediately once u have been relegated...

  • Comment number 24.

    @ 22, GrandFalconRailroad,

    There's also the other river bank. To give you an example, Crew Alexandra are a football side in the lowly League 2, without the finances to climb up the leagues but with an excellent record in playing attractive football and bringing a lot of talent.

    In addition, there is the case for the every young footballer's dream of playing in the premiership, facing the establish stars. Why kill this dream?

    Furthermore, this model has been tried in other countries and failed. Also, in La Liga and Series A, they don't even think of reducing the teams to 18, besides having a wider core of teams without ambition.

    What's wrong with towns like Hull, Blackpool, Wigan, etc., being in the football map of England and see their towns known worldwide, just for that small football team that performed a miracle performance?

  • Comment number 25.

    @15. Football_UK,

    Whilst I agree with you on most of the stuff you say there, you are wrong on your last paragraph. Its not just us who have 2 cup competitions. Spain have 2 as well. The Copa Del Rey (king's cup) and the Spanish Super Cup. At least get your facts right.

  • Comment number 26.

    exciting times ahead for chelsea fans and for torres,he looks sharp ,the understanding is there with his new team mates,get a good pre-season under his belt for the first time in 3 seasons will help,a few more players in and a few fringe players out,west ham played very well i thought in tough conditions yesterday,but im afraid endeavour alone doesnt win games,i fear for west ham ,not looking good is it for them....as for chelsea.....finished strongly which says a lot about professionalism and team spirit....!!

  • Comment number 27.

    25 @tgtaxi
    The Spanish super cup is like d community shield played between d winners of d league n d copa del ray winners whereas there r 2 domestic cup competitions in england...

  • Comment number 28.

    No matter how positively I look at the bottom 5 fixtures list, it's difficult to see any of them getting more than two wins in their remaining fixtures.

    While the top of the table battles could end up soon, the relegation battle looks set for a run until the added time of the last match. It's as much fascinating as heartbreaking it is for the ones involved.

  • Comment number 29.

    The furore over the Torres goal has been both an embarrassment for himself and Chelsea. In those first 13 games, he was utterly abysmal. A complete shambles. Disgraceful performance after disgraceful performance that was making his transfer fee look like the worst piece of business ever.

    In actual fact, the ball getting caught up in the turf helped him. If he can make this decent cameo appearance, and that's all it was, stick for the next 4 games, then we might be able to assess him. But there's a reason he's been a sub for the last few games: because he hasn't been performing from the start.

    Now, he'll start games. All is turned round Chelsea will cry.

    As an aside West Ham are awful and will be relegated.

  • Comment number 30.

    I was expecting two things on McNulty's article today:
    a) the count of postings moaning at him for the every reason to start from early postings;
    b) to read about new reasons for few to keep loathing Torres.

    I was only 50% justified. Encouraging. :)

  • Comment number 31.

    Well done Torres but it's one goal! A good one don't get me wrong.

  • Comment number 32.

    Legend! Loved that goal, love the bitter liverpool fans more tho! Torres has done it at the highest level - scoring at the European championships for example - Suarez? has scored a few in holland against teams like Ado Den Haag.....

  • Comment number 33.

    I don't really understand why Torres scoring a goal against a West Ham side desperately searching for an equaliser is worthy of headlines to be honest, never mind the main theme of a blog when so many more important and interesting features of the relegation battle where on display yesterday.

    I also don't understand quite why all the Chelsea fans are so excited about one goal, which wasn't even a winning goal is worth celebrating so much. He basically has ended chelsea's trophy hunts with his displays against United in the CL, and hasn't really contributed to their success since his signing.

    Throw in his disgraceful attitude and performances and essentially he's played a key role in keeping two of United's fiercest rivals at bay this season. Good on him!

  • Comment number 34.

    A much improved performance by Torres but I am not convinced it was anymore than a temporary blip. When he starts playing like that for 90 minutes in most games as he used to do then I will believe that he is as good as he was. In the mean time I am sticking with this argument:

    http://goodfeetforabigman.com/2011/03/31/fernando-torres-still-class-or-permanently-crocked/

  • Comment number 35.

    @messien

    I am not a Chelsea fan, nor am I am Liverpool fan, and I personally believe that Torres is a cut above when compared to Suarez. However, even the most biased of Chelsea fans must be able to admit that, since both players have arrived at their respective clubs, there has only been one player who has shone: Suarez.

    However, I think next season Torres will step it up and begin to score more goals. To do so, however, Chelsea must vastly change both the way they play and their midfield personnel. Torres shines in teams who have both creativity and and pace in abundance, and Chelsea do not have either of these. None of the midfielders playing against West Hame yesterday were in a creative mould. Yes Frank Lampard certainly used to be, but he is beginning to lose that part of his game with age. Essien, Mikel, Malouda - all about power, with the latter possessing a bit of pace too (Mikel, in my opinion, is a dead weight in the Chelsea squad, let alone their starting 11).

  • Comment number 36.

    @35, Mikel = deadweight!? Look at the last 3 games. Mikel has started, and we have won them comfortably. Mikel is underrated at Chelsea, yesterday he was immense. His passing and tackling have improved season by season. A key Chelsea player, and now more so since Essien did get injured (extent is unknown). To say Mikel is deadweight is just silly.

  • Comment number 37.

    It would be nice to see the majority of football fans following their own instincts when they talk about players, rather than obeying to club politics.

    For example, when I noticed SAF and Gills telling us their official crap about Tevez's decision to join City, all I was reading between the lines was that they were trying desperately to hide the fact that the 'money' had to be transferred to a certain bank account and they were filling us with ball(s). As far as I knew, Tevez was sweating his United shirt, with bags of goals on occasions, wanting to stay at United.

    When he got his deal at City, I would never join the chorus of the bandwagon calling him a money seeking whatever, because I knew he denied a cosmetic operation with costs to be paid by a previous club and on their own initiative, something that indicates existence of principles.

    If Berbatov goes back to Spurs in the summer, I see no reason why I should start loathing at him because he performs well for another club. I will remember that he preferred to sign for United and not for City despite offering him more and tried his best for the United cause.

    For similar reasons, it's nice to see Torres performing for Chelsea, as well as seeing Carroll performing for Liverpool - let's not forget that not Torres neither Carroll defined their price tag.

    Furthermore, I see no reason not to like seeing Liverpool playing well, adding British players from their youth system to their team, in the mean time.

    I wouldn't start supporting blindly this FFP silly thing if Sneijder prefers to sign for City instead of United. And I wouldn't start laughing at Arsenal if they suddenly cover their deficiencies and start becoming a real threat to United.

    It's nice when football fans don't fall in the club-trap, losing their independent judging identity and just mimic the every board's cheap excuses for whatever reasons, hiding the truth from their club's fans. If there's anything disgraceful here, it's the club's disrespect to their fans rather than the fans' denial to mimic excuses lines.

  • Comment number 38.

    Football UK

    Seems to me you simply chose to believe the Tevez PR camp over United's. Tevez wanted to be the main man every game, which he wasn't actually performing well enough to make him undroppable ala Rooney or Ronaldo, and despite him playing more minutes than Rooney and Berbatov that season was publicly voicing frustration over his place in the squad.

    Throw in the fact that United had initially agreed to pay 10m for a two year 'loan' with the option to buy at a price of 25m. Then his 'owner' joorabchian says actually, it's 25m on top of the 10m already played. This apparently is non negotiable meaning United, without including his wages, would have paid 35m for Tevez who simply wouldn't have been worth paying as he wasn't happy being part of a squad, his agent is the devil impersonated.

    He's played a lot better for City than he ever did for United, which is easy to forget. Even then, it looks like he'll be moving on in the summer he doesn't seem to want to settle at any one club IMO.

    United could have been honest and said, cracking player but we don't think it's going to work out, we don't like is representatives and we don't want to pay the money.

    But would most of United fans have accepted that truth and move on? doubt it.

  • Comment number 39.

    lol

    i was kidding, of course suarez is a good player, but l'pool fans can give stick e.g about torres, but cant take it.

  • Comment number 40.

    @36 - SimplyZola

    Ok maybe deadweight was too exaggerated, but the problem that I see with Mikel is that he slows everything down so much in the midfield area. When I am watching Chelsea and they are trying to counter attack and the ball falls to his feet, I just know that he is going o slow it down and men can get back from the other team. Personally in the summer I would be out to try and sign a quality right back for Chelsea, then I would shift the highly-underrated Ivanovic in to the centre and move David Luiz - who has far too much technical quality to be playing centre back - in to the holding midfield position. Mikel did have a good game yesterday, but he was helped enormously by a poor, lazy Hammers midfield who could have done with the energy brought to them by the talismanic Scott Parker. Without this energy, Chelsea's midfield were given far too much time and space, and the more quality midfielders in the Blues' team exploited that. Look at Lampard's goal. Hitzelsperger just let him run into the area and, let's face it, Chelsea fan or not, there is no better midfielder (possibly in world football) at bombing into the box and scoring goals than Frank Lampard. I'm admitting this and I don't even support Chelsea.

  • Comment number 41.

    lol

    i was kidding, of course suarez is a good player, but l'pool fans can give stick e.g about torres, but cant take it.

    ____________________


    That's because the way Torres has treated Liverpool fans has been a disgrace, and his form since he left Liverpool has been atrocious. They're right to give him stick. I'm sure when they here crap about Torres "joining a massive club" really sticks in their throats. He has shown them no respect in this whole thing.

    Since Suarez joined Liverpool he's been one of the best players in the league. So it's not a case of giving it but can't take it, is it?

  • Comment number 42.

    Hi GrandFalconRailroad at #1.

    I'm confused by your comment.
    Why drop off teams at the bottom of the table?
    That's what relegation is for, surely, no?

    The key marker of this season's league campaign has been the drama brought about by inconsistency: by teams at the top and the bottom.

    Wolves -one of those you suggested should go (and they still may) have recorded victories over Chelsea, United, City, Liverpool so far this season.

    West Ham saw off United in the Carling Cup.

    Wigan held off Arsenal and Spurs.

    Birmingham beat Arsenal in the Carling Cup.

    Sure, they've all collapsed against lesser clubs -that's why they're at the foot of the table.

    But why jettison them before relegation sees to it naturally?

  • Comment number 43.

    38 @Cotona
    Absolutely true u are about d tevez situation +add to d fact that he was moaning a lot in d media quite regularly that he wasnt getting much playing time whereas u look at berba who is d top scorer in d league but still doesnt moan about d fact he has been overtaken by chicha in d starting lineup...

  • Comment number 44.

    Torres has scored his first goal and from then on in that match he looked like he was playing with confidence and pace , this took him longer to find than Luiz and Suarez, however you cannot compare Andy Carroll , he was injured when he joined Liverpool so could start training and didn't have all the spot light on him. Although Torres did, so was not playing as well , but I still think Carroll has played amazingly for Liverpool and much better than Torres. + I am a Chelsea fan and think Abramovich should have bought Carrol and Suarez not Torres. Imagine Drogba, Carroll, and Suarez as Chelsea's front three

  • Comment number 45.

    @rwsmytharoons, yes I would play Luiz as a holding mid as well. And put in Alex at centreback with John Terry (our best partnership). Also Essien isn't fitted for the DM role and that has proven our downfall this season (harsh but very, possibly, true.)

    Good to have a decent discussion though instead of the usual namecalling!

  • Comment number 46.

    @ 38, Cotona,

    What you're telling me is that United paid £10m for Tevez's services, without even agreeing to sign him on a permanent deal, which is true. If this reflects to something is inability on the part of the club to identify a player worthy of a permanent deal.

    In truth, what we've heard about the Tevez saga is a lot of lies and even more IFs.

    You can have whatever view you want on the issue.
    Still, when it comes to an approach to players signing of the form "let's give you £10m to try him in two of his best years in football and, if we like him, we can give you another £15m", if it indicates something is poor judgment on the behalf of the United board.

    Tevez was adored by the United fans when he played for United.
    He scored goals. A big part of his game was supporting the team going forward which is something we were all quick to mention for Rooney before he started scoring again but we conveniently omit when it comes to Tevez's days at Old Trafford.

    You also forget that, perhaps, the biggest element on a striker's game is confidence. At United, Tevez's confidence was undermined as much Berbatov's confidence is undermined, for whatever reasons.

    For all I know you're falling in the 'obedience to the club politics' umbrella of opinions. Good for you, not good enough for me.

  • Comment number 47.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 48.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 49.

    The other things that caught my eye in Chelsea v West Ham are:

    a)Malouda, Lampard, Kalou seem to find some great form, while Luiz showed yesterday again that his dangerous for the opposition presence in attack is part of his game.

    b) the opportunities West Ham created and the number of dangerous players up front and yet the almost certainty that they're going down besides also having the player of the year (awarded to Parker for all the right reasons).

  • Comment number 50.

    No24 - 'towns like Hull, Blackpool Wigan etc'.

    Just for the record mate Hull is not a town but a City that was awarded City Status in 1897 and is some three times the size of both Wigan and Blackpool.

    Average attendance this season 21,204 7th best in the NPC.



  • Comment number 51.

    @ 50, suttontiger,

    Apologies if I offended you but I was concentrating in referring to smaller communities rather than cities of millions of people. I'm well aware of Hull's as well as Stoke's status as cities.

    Happier? :)

  • Comment number 52.

    In the next game who will start, Drogba or Torres? Or will Ancelotti have developed a magical partnership in this weeks training? (surely something he should have been doing already?) This is a dilemma that I don't think Ancelotti has the answer to yet, and the solution could mean the difference between a title chasing Chelsea or not.

    Regarding building a team around Torres, it seems a little premature. As although he has been good in the past he often forgets to turn up and can be prone to injury. Also, with Sturridge in great form and Neymar seemingly desperate to join Chelsea, is Torres the right man to rebuild under? And finally how much more spending can Chelsea afford with the Financial Fair Play rules around the corner, are Chelsea taking any steps to comply with them?

    P.s I may have overused the question mark.

  • Comment number 53.

    Anybody else here not happy because of d fact PS network is down for d past 5 days...

  • Comment number 54.

    Mind you I'm not really annoyed about him leaving Mr Chelsea because we have Carroll and Suarez now. You have to say though that, right now, he isn't the player he was although I appreciate that if it wasn't for the likes of Van Der Sar, he probably would have opened his account by now.
    Anyway, I'd like to see Roman give it a go. Trying to make more signings behind Ancelotti's back rather than let him make decisions himself. No wonder Mou left by mutual consent. I hope you get the title off Man Utd though!

    And yeah fergie_time, I've had that problem with PSN too

  • Comment number 55.

    I was never really annoyed about Torres leaving in the first place when it came about in January. Can't keep unhappy players at a club because their unhappiness will spread through a club like a cancer. Look at Blackpool and Charlie Adam.

  • Comment number 56.

    YAAAAAAAAY! No for goodness sake Ancellotti start Torres up front with Drogba in a 4-4-2 or with Malouda and Anelka in a 4-3-3!! Ideally, this would be the line uo for me:

    Cech
    Bosingwa Luiz Terry Cole
    Anelka Ramires Lampard Malouda
    Torres Drogba

    With Nico playing a supporting role behind the big lads

  • Comment number 57.

    54 @SlipknotKopite_8
    Sorry to dissapoint u by saying this but d title is already wrapped up by us...n that too title no.19

  • Comment number 58.

    As a West Ham Fan, I thought it was typical that Torres would score with the luck we've had this season.. As someone said on Twitter earlier, only £49.9m to repay too..

  • Comment number 59.

    PHIL

    As a Utd. fan, I shouldn't say it, but wonderful strike by Torres, given the conditions. I know he's a fan of diving, but didn't know he had an innate ability to play football on water!

    Crucial moment was Lampard's goal, not just because it put them in front, but must've put Phil Dowd off of abandoning the game. Had it been 0-0 at the break, I reckon he'd have been justified in so doing, especially as it was the side attacking most(Chelsea) who were most handicapped by the surface water.

    Decent win for them, really can't see Hammers staying up, because that's 4 straight defeats & only 4 left to turn that form around to at least 2-1-1 to survive-a hell of an ask, especially with Parker out, too.

    Next week's the crucial one for Chelsea, because they are on before us this time & have the chance to put pressure on us & Arsenal before Emirates time. And Spurs will give it a shot against them, even if Chelsea will have the space for a few of their own.

  • Comment number 60.

    Liverpool fans need to pipe down before Roman pats down a few more jackets for some loose change and makes a bid for Suarez in the summer ;-)
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    Roman can have suarez for £51 million if he wants. good to see torres score... it was getting rather embarrassing for him and Chelsea really considering the money spent and his stature as a player. Its all about next season for him i reckon. Its obvious that Chelsea are gonna have to overhaul their system to accommodate his style of play. In my opinion i think he will not be as prolific as he was 3 seasons back. If you compare his movement touch and skill from then and now he seems a different player. I have a feeling the best of him might be behind him. Shame really, because he used to score for fun any type of goal you can think of. Like i said next season is massive for him.

  • Comment number 61.

    Thinking about it now, why wouldn't Suarez want to play Champions League and prefer to play just Premiership football next season?
    After all we live in the players' power days !

  • Comment number 62.

    Football_UK

    Good point, but surely Suarez knew Liverpool had NO chance of the Champion's League next year when he signed in January?

    Unless he thought Red shirts, I'm joining Utd-no, not even a charmer like King Kenny could've pulled that one off!!

    I think Suarez chose them because he can make a name for himself at a club that's rebuilding-can't fault his enthusiasm alone in a Liverpool shirt at all every time I've seen him, and that must make the Scousers feel dandy, especially compared to the later days of Torres.

  • Comment number 63.

    @SimplyZola

    Yes thankfully there is someone who recognises that it is stupid to counteract someone else's valid point with a cheap criticism of the team they support or, as you said, name calling. It is pathetic.

    Sorry I completely forgot about Alex. Yes he should partner Terry in defence and then you could keep Ivanovic at right back. I agree that Essien is now too forward thinking to be played as a holding midfielder, and so Luiz should play there as he is strong, fast and has an incredible pass on him - better than most midfielders in the Prem. His shot isn't bad either. I do think, however, that Terry is nearing the end as a top drawer centre back and has 1, maybe 2, seasons left in him at that level. Same with Lampard. I think Chelsea need to brighten up the midfield and sign somebody like Sneijder or even this young kid Mario Goetze at Borussia Dortmund. I said the same thing on the Arsenal blog earlier this week - all Chelsea and Arsenal need are a couple of small tweaks and I believe they will both become better teams than the current Manchester United, who are heavily reliant on Rooney/Hernandez/Nani/Giggs.

  • Comment number 64.

    @ 62, coleusman,

    Suarez is an excellent player and good luck to you.
    It was a mere test on Liverpool fans' sensitivity though :)

  • Comment number 65.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 66.

    one goal from Torres and Chelsea fans get the biggest boost. he has not got the support of his team mates (torres) for him to gel down and fire up the net.

  • Comment number 67.

    Should I take a punt Carlos will not start Fernando in the next game.

    Gavelaa predicts he will. I think not; he will come off the bench but it may not necessarily be for Drogba.

  • Comment number 68.

    @ football UK

    I believe that United's directors weren't truthful, In that they didn't simply state that it wasn't worth paying 35m for a striker who was becoming a disruptive influence and openly milking the crowd into direct confrontation with his employers.

    He wasn't a good match for United, he isn't happy being rotated, and he wasn't tactically astute enough. His build up play is a feature of his game, however, Both Berbs and Rooney provide more than enough creativity themselves, Berbatov was United's leading assists in his first season. And Rooney would play out of position for the team without sulking, and would take being rested.

    Tevez wasn't getting the star treatment he wanted, and Joorabchian wanted a higher profit margin.

    I think Tevez is more than talented enough to justify 35m transfer fee now, however after 2 years at United and wouldn't have said more than 25m. He still wouldn't of been a good match for United. Imagine what noises he would be making now if he was losing out to Hernandez?

    I don't think he was badly treated by United, and I didn't boo him for leaving United, however his conduct and his attitude towards United and their fans since is lamentable. He needs to remember that for two years, it was United fans who paid his wages.

    I think you're assuming fans are always wrong to be harsh on players, however I think that's an imbalanced view, the directors of football clubs will never get a fair crack of the whip if you only take the players point of view.

    In Tevez's case, I think Both parties had different positions and goals that couldn't be bargained and it was right he parted company with United because he would never have been satisfied even if they gave in to joorabchians asking price.

  • Comment number 69.

    Im a liverpool fan and delighted for torres. The reason we hated on him was because we loved him too much and the reason im delighted for him is because we love suarez now and not torres.

  • Comment number 70.

    What kind of rubbish headline is this?
    Torres made a cameo appearance whengame was already won - made no difference if he scored or not so he hardly "pushed West Ham to the brink", did he?

    6 goals in 6 against the Hammers, so maybe he should play them (and/or in marshland conditions) every week to be able to repay his fee.

    Over-hyped, over-rated and over-priced striker but was glad to see him score, if only so we can have less of his name in the media until he actually DOES something.

  • Comment number 71.

    @ 69, talha22,

    at last, an honest opinion on Torres by a Liverpool fan.
    It's a start.

  • Comment number 72.

    @ 68, Cotona,

    We'll agree to disagree on Tevez.
    Let's hope we'll agree on the all the following signings of SAF for United.

  • Comment number 73.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 74.

    #72,

    a serious note to the silly appearance of the extra article "the": press self dissolve instantly!!

  • Comment number 75.

    Deluded Chelsea fans.

    I was happy when Torres left Liverpool. It was a great deal. £50m for a washed-up has been, who's price tag represents his former greatness. He's going to same way as Owen. Lightning fast but has had plenty of injuries. Owen was washed-up at the age of 26/27, Torres has just turned 27.

    What disappointed Liverpool fans was the fact he wanted to leave in the first place. It shows a disrespect for the manager, Kenny Dalglish, and the fans, that he puts in a transfer request 3 days before the window closes, and then afterwards, after all the love he's received from Liverpool fans over the years, not saying one nice thing about the club.

    Are Liverpool fans bitter? Yes, and they have EVERY reason to be. To be insulted in such a way by someone you have shown nothing but unconditional love and support to in spite of some long injury lay offs smacks. It really does.

    And to the buffoon who needs showing where he has said "massive club" look no further than this article from today:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/13176279.stm

    3rd paragraph in.

    And no, it's not the first time he's said it either.

  • Comment number 76.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 77.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 78.

    @ 75. At 13:01pm 24th Apr 2011, Gavelaa,

    to be honest, the Torres profit for Liverpool was Carroll + £15m.
    If you consider what Bruce could have paid for Carroll earlier and add to that certain add-ons that allegedly Newcastle managed to put in place on top of £35m, the actual profit of Liverpool was much, much less than £50m.

  • Comment number 79.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 80.

    @Football UK

    Fair enough, I don't disagree entirely with what you were saying, but it seems we have some insurmountable differences on the outcome of that particular issue!

  • Comment number 81.

    Without Torres, Liverpool have undoubtedly become a better team.

    With Torres, Chelsea have seen no improvement from his services.

    Only one club is crying, and it isn't Liverpool.

    And rightly, Torres is now disliked to loathed amongst Liverpool fans.

    Disparaging, dishonest man.

    To say he's finally getting a chance at a massive club is a big disrespect to Liverpool. Liverpool are 10x bigger a club than Chelsea will ever be. So much more special, so much more precious. But the man couldn't recognise that. He could have been an all time legend at Liverpool, but he's now a villain. What a waste of three and a half years. Liverpool are only heading in one direction, while Chelsea's future is uncertain.

    I honestly believe that Torres will have been proved wrong about his choice in one year's time.

    His loss, like I say.

  • Comment number 82.

    79. At 13:11pm 24th Apr 2011, Mr Chelsea wrote:
    Can I just point out that you've spent the 50 mill already. 35 of that went onto someone who wasnt even top scorer in the championship last season even though his team won the league by a canter. #justsaying

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    We did all we could to get him though- just like you did for Torres ;)

  • Comment number 83.

    @ 75. At 13:01pm 24th Apr 2011, Gavelaa,

    to be honest, the Torres profit for Liverpool was Carroll + £15m.
    If you consider what Bruce could have paid for Carroll earlier and add to that certain add-ons that allegedly Newcastle managed to put in place on top of £35m, the actual profit of Liverpool was much, much less than £50m.

    ______________________________

    Who said anything, anwhere about £50m profit?

    Where have you seen these words?

    All I can see was someone (me) saying that £50m for Torres is a great deal. And it is, isn't it?

    Absolutely nothing to dispute there. No argument to be made, no bones to pick...I could go on.

  • Comment number 84.

    Torres wasn't for Liverpool any bigger than what Ronaldo was for United.
    Both wanted to leave.

    When they left, £80m went to American bank accounts, while Liverpool were able to kick off their rebuilding process extremely successfully.

    Yet, United fans still love watching Ronaldo playing and, in their vast majority, didn't start moaning and accusing him of this and that.

    Many will call United fans as glory hunters, but when it comes to class, the Torres example shows the difference in class between the clubs.

  • Comment number 85.

    @ 83, Gavelaa,

    If we were ever to be found in the same pub, I wouldn't mind buying you a pint of bitter :)

  • Comment number 86.

    Torres wasn't for Liverpool any bigger than what Ronaldo was for United.
    Both wanted to leave.

    When they left, £80m went to American bank accounts, while Liverpool were able to kick off their rebuilding process extremely successfully.

    Yet, United fans still love watching Ronaldo playing and, in their vast majority, didn't start moaning and accusing him of this and that.

    Many will call United fans as glory hunters, but when it comes to class, the Torres example shows the difference in class between the clubs.

    _______________________________________

    Erm, how have you worked that out?

    Ronaldo dragged United to three titles and the Champions League. His business was finished. And he didn't disrespect United.

    The situations are incomparable.

    It's more like when Souness left Liverpool after 6 years and 3 European Cups. Liverpool fans were disappointed, but he left on good terms and with the support of everyone at the club.

    So don't talk rubbish, yeah?

  • Comment number 87.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 88.

    @84 If ronaldo went to chelsea, utd fans would have went AWOL. If torres went abroad if may have been a different story....but he went to liverpool's rivals and called them a "bigger club"

  • Comment number 89.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 90.

    84. At 13:17pm 24th Apr 2011, Football_UK wrote:
    Torres wasn't for Liverpool any bigger than what Ronaldo was for United.
    Both wanted to leave.

    When they left, £80m went to American bank accounts, while Liverpool were able to kick off their rebuilding process extremely successfully.

    Yet, United fans still love watching Ronaldo playing and, in their vast majority, didn't start moaning and accusing him of this and that.

    Many will call United fans as glory hunters, but when it comes to class, the Torres example shows the difference in class between the clubs.


    _____________________________________________________________________

    Difference is Ronaldo hasn't really had a dip has he?
    Torres wasn't the player he was.
    You offloaded a player who was still- no doubt- in his pomp. To your credit, you still look pretty unbeatable at times *pains me to say it lol*
    Liverpool and Torres were dragging each other down. I didn't hate on Torres to an extreme like you think us Liverpool fans did (although some of the Facebook groups are really funny). After all, burning shirts is just stupid- why not sell them off to charity?
    Torres did a cracking job for us in the early days, became unhappy, moved on to what is (at the moment) a bigger club, we get in Suarez and Carroll, we move on :)

  • Comment number 91.

    Gavelaa's upset because he'd just spent his dole money ordering his Liverpool long sleeved Torres No.9 top when Chelsea announced the signing of him.

    __________________

    Good insult. So untypical of Chelsea fans. Such wit.

    Run out of things to say?

  • Comment number 92.

    With Torres, Chelsea have seen no improvement from his services.
    --------------------------------------------------------------

    Well we are currently on our best league run all season taking 22 points from our last 8 league games.

  • Comment number 93.

    Liverpool and Torres were dragging each other down. I didn't hate on Torres to an extreme like you think us Liverpool fans did (although some of the Facebook groups are really funny). After all, burning shirts is just stupid- why not sell them off to charity?
    Torres did a cracking job for us in the early days, became unhappy, moved on to what is (at the moment) a bigger club, we get in Suarez and Carroll, we move on :)

    ____________________


    What planet are you on?

    Chelsea are not a bigger club than Liverpool. They are merely higher in the league. Do you think big-club status revolves season on season?

    Seriously, I don't like saying this, but call yourself a Liverpool fan?

  • Comment number 94.

    92. At 13:24pm 24th Apr 2011, Roman Philosopher wrote:
    With Torres, Chelsea have seen no improvement from his services.
    --------------------------------------------------------------

    Well we are currently on our best league run all season taking 22 points from our last 8 league games.

    _____________________________________________________________________

    That's thanks to Drogba, Lampard, David Luiz (an excellent signing) and so on- not Torres.
    His impact has not been as big as those, maybe apart from bringing in extra competition perhaps?

  • Comment number 95.

    #88,

    Liverpool may have a history glittering with success, but Chelsea are a bigger club these days. Still, the healthy approach is to try to become a big club again.

    Tevez moved to City but I still love watching him play.
    So much for football knowing, proud English fans: a set of whingers.

  • Comment number 96.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 97.

    93. At 13:26pm 24th Apr 2011, Gavelaa wrote:
    Liverpool and Torres were dragging each other down. I didn't hate on Torres to an extreme like you think us Liverpool fans did (although some of the Facebook groups are really funny). After all, burning shirts is just stupid- why not sell them off to charity?
    Torres did a cracking job for us in the early days, became unhappy, moved on to what is (at the moment) a bigger club, we get in Suarez and Carroll, we move on :)

    ____________________


    What planet are you on?

    Chelsea are not a bigger club than Liverpool. They are merely higher in the league. Do you think big-club status revolves season on season?

    Seriously, I don't like saying this, but call yourself a Liverpool fan?

    ______________________________________________________________________

    My attempt to be a diplomat :)
    And yes, I AM a Liverpool fan, but I don't hate Torres that much. It was funny not seeing him scoring, but still...

  • Comment number 98.

    Do you think big-club status revolves season on season?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    No but i would say it does over the last 20 seasons.

  • Comment number 99.

    #88,

    Liverpool may have a history glittering with success, but Chelsea are a bigger club these days. Still, the healthy approach is to try to become a big club again.

    Tevez moved to City but I still love watching him play.
    So much for football knowing, proud English fans: a set of whingers.

    ____________________________________

    Love it. Love this line of argument.

    Chelsea are apparently a bigger club than Liverpool.

    Despite being less successful, having fewer fans, having a smaller stadium, having never won the European Cup, despite having a lower economic value as a club in 2010 according to Forbes.

  • Comment number 100.

    @ 99, Gavelaa,

    but... small can still be beautiful. :)

    Happy Easter

 

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