Two years ago, Fernando Torres would have expected to start a Champions League semi-final. He was a frequent international goal-scorer, a fan-favorite, and Liverpool’s run-away star. Now he’s just a chronically lethargic, over- priced flop.
Torres signed for Chelsea because he thought he might win something. Little did he know that his arrival would coincide with the decline that has been obvious all season. Di Matteo’s team is, essentially, a poor-man’s version of the Chelsea of old. The club have abandoned Villas-Boas’ lofty attacking principles and reverted to the defensive style preached by Jose Mourinho, largely because the marquee players whose signings was intended to elevate Chelsea to Barcelona’s stratosphere have disappointed. David Luiz is a liability at the back, and Torres is a hollow, lifeless version of his former self.
Andre Villas-Boas was hired to facilitate a transition at Stamford Bridge. He was a youthful innovative coach; change was his MO. But his revolution has been half-baked. Villas-Boas signed young stars like Mata and Lukaku, but he couldn’t dislodge the core of Mourinho’s team: Cech, Terry, Lampard and Drogba. Josh McEachran, instead of easing into the Chelsea first team, was loaned to Swansea where he has struggled for playing time. Chelsea’s midfield is dominated by functional, dogged defensive types, players like Essien, Ramires, Romeu and Mikel.