x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Chelsea cannot find a goal despite Fernando Torres arrival

So this is what happens when you spend £50 million on a new striker? For the first time in 12 years Chelsea have gone three 90-minute games without scoring a goal.

So this is what happens when you spend £50 million (Dh295m) on a new striker? For the first time in 12 years Chelsea have gone three 90-minute games without scoring a goal.

Fernando Torres was cup-tied yesterday. In his absence, the pressure is mounting on the striker.

A day after Torres arrived at the club, Chelsea won 4-2 at Sunderland (without the forward). The added competition up front appeared to have given a shot in the arm to a team losing its way.

The evidence since, however, has been to the contrary. In the four games since Torres's arrival, manager Carlo Ancelotti has shuffled his strike force on each occasion and only at Sunderland, when he fielded a front three, did it click.

Since then the different permutations just haven't worked. On his debut against Liverpool, Torres had a traditional partner in Didier Drogba with Nicolas Anelka asked to play in the hole. Chelsea lost 1-0.

At Fulham, Drogba was dropped in an attempt to give Torres more breathing space. Chelsea drew 0-0.

Yesterday, Chelsea started with a traditional 4-4-2 with Drogba up front alongside Salomon Kalou. It took extra time for Chelsea to find the net. Again Chelsea's front line lacked menace. Is Torres the man to change that any time soon?

Ancelotti has his doubts given that he admitted yesterday that his immediate task is to "repair" the player: "Torres is not 100 per cent, but he will score. And he will regain that speed, that acceleration, that people think he has lost."

But Ancelotti also needs to work out what tactics he wants to play - and stick with them.

 

sports@thenational.ae