Friday, 4 February 2011

How will Chelsea Shape up now Fernando Torres has arrived

Chelsea’s record signing Fernando Torres has meant Chelsea will have to tweak their formation and system in order to slot Torres into the starting 11. But the signing of Torres could signal the end for some Chelsea players. But the signing of Fernando Torres also shows the dawn of a new era at Chelsea. As it seems Chelsea are looking to refurbish their squad by buying players who are peaking or are on the brink of reaching thier peak.

Dider Drogba and Fernando Torres will lead the Chelsea front line. Drogba, 32, may be coming to the last of his peak days, but he is still a brilliant striker. The Ivorian is a brilliant athlete who will add strength and power to the Chelsea front line. While Torres will add trickery, pace and clinical finishing. Arguably, these two working together sounds like a lethal partnership. As both players bring something different to the table, but the most crucial similarity is that both can finish. My worry is that both strikers are relatively selfish. And the fact Torres at Liverpool played in a system which allowed him to be main striker (seeing as he was the only quality striker.) This meant that Torres was given the responsibility to try and take on players and look to finish rather than pass. While at Chelsea, Torres will be expected to pass more. He will be restricted as he wont be able to take on lots of defenders because both Lampard and Drogba will be in close proximity. Furthermore in certain scenarios Torres may shoot when it was better to pass to his team mates. While Drogba is Chelsea’s main man. And Drogba likes to shoot, in fact he has taken the most shots in the Premier League this season with 72 in total. This could create a little unbalance between the pair as both players want to be the main striker. But if both players find an understanding they could form a formidable partnership.

Chelsea in the past few seasons and especially under Carlo Ancelotti like to play predominantly through the midfield. It shouldn’t surprise many to be honest. As Chelsea have a brilliant midfield with a range of dynamic central midfielders. But with Torres in the side, I expect the midfield to not change dramatically. Ancelotti loves to play a holding defensive midfielder so John Obi Mikel will continue his role. While Essien with his athleticism and generall all round play will maintain his role in the side. Essien will play in a supportive role in midfield, venturing forward when Chelsea are dominant and defending when the ball is in the Chelsea half. As will Ramieres.

The role of Frank Lampard is still going to be vital even with the arrival of Torres. Frank Lampard traditionally plays as the most progressive member of the Chelsea midfield (as an attacking midfielder.) This will most likely continue for Lampard. As Lampard will be the playmaker for both Drogba and Torres, threading through balls for the centre forwards. Furthermore, Lampard will also make forward runs into the opposition’s box. This will allow Lampard the opportunity to finish off chances too. Its clear Chelsea will continue to play with an attacking trio. Ancelotti likes to play his system with an attacking trio. With Torres in the team, the trio will most likely be Torres, Drogba and Lampard.

Here is how I expect Chelsea to shape up;


Firstly one thing stands out. A lack of width. If Chelsea are dominating possession and enforcing themselves onto the oppositions midfield and defence. Expect width to come from Ashley Cole and Branislav Ivanovic. Ashley Cole is arguably the world’s best left back and has brilliant awareness and stamina to continuously venture forward for Chelsea. Both players will play short balls into the midfield and hold wide positions to stretch the play. Expect both full backs to at times cross the ball in from the by-line, as Drogba and Torres are both effective in the air, while Lampard can also be trusted to finish off through flick ons.

In a counter attack or when Chelsea aren’t imposing their midfield effectively in the game, expect Drogba to come out wide. Drogba over the years has proven if needs be he can run with ball and hold the ball on the wings. This will allow Chelsea’s midfielders and full backs to move forward. It will further enable Drogba to thread through balls or cross to Torres who has proved he can finish half chances too. Its clear Torres will also come wide due to his pace and great ball control but I doubt it will be as much as Drogba. As Torres will be expected to stay central where he is far more dangerous.

Two players who have really stood out for Chelsea in the past two years aren’t in my starting 11. Both Nicholas Anelka and Florent Malouda will find it difficult to get starts in this Chelsea side. Even though both have shown great creative assets as well as consistent goal scoring abilities. Torres and Drogba are far more of a threat to their oppositions . But if Lampard gets injured or loses form, it won’t be surprising to see Malouda take his place. Malouda will be far more mobile than Lampard. Malouda will play across the attacking midfield line, popping up on the left, in the middle or even the right depending on Chelsea’s strengths and the opposition’s weaknesses.

While Nicholas Anelka will most likely come off the bench, for one of the strikers. But if Chelsea aren’t winning or lacking a creative or cutting edge upfront, a midfielder may come off in place for Anelka. Ancelotti will defiantly have to think seriously about Anelka. As the Frenchman has been in great form and brings balance to Chelsea’s attack. Furthermore, if Chelsea are playing too narrow, expect Anelka or Kalou to come on and play on the wings to give Chelsea more width.

Chelsea with Torres have even more depth upfront. They now have three world class strikers in Drogba, Torres and Anelka. But the likelihood of all three playing and being successful is small. If they do, it may unbalance the team. As it will cause Drogba and Anelka to be on the wings, with Torres upfront. But this could potentially work too. But I expect Chelsea to play two upfront, with Drogba and Torres leading the line. One should also expect Drogba to play behind Torres. As the Ivorian is stronger and better in the air. This will allow Drogba to flick the ball onto Torres. Also Torres' pace gives him a great advantage too.

Chelsea arguably have a potentially lethal strike force. As both strikers have different qualities and have both shown they can finish off chances. Furthermore the trio of Drogba, Torres and Lampard allows a direct relationship with the midfield. As Lampard will play a crucial role in assisting the strikers. The one issue regarding the two centre forwards is that both are strikers who are supposed to lead the line. This may create a problem. As they may show signs of selfishness. But if they can come together and find an understanding, the Premier League and Europe should most defiantly fear Chelsea.



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