The former Liverpool striker Fernando Torres has been criticised a lot for his poor performances this season. It was thought that the departure of Didier Drogba from the club will aid in the striker returning to form, but he has managed to score just 14 goals all season for the club. He once again failed to find the back of the net in the recent 2-1 win over Arsenal. Despite this, Benitez has said that Torres was extremely important in the win over Arsenal, which helped Chelsea cement their place in the top four. Arsenal, Chelsea, and Tottenham are the three major contenders for the top four positions.
This victory coupled with the loss for Arsenal and draw for Tottenham in the match against Manchester United means that Chelsea now have a four point cushion to the third position. They also maintain the distance between them and the two Manchester clubs. Torres was replaced towards the end of the match by the January signing Demba Ba. Juan Mata opened the scoring for Chelsea in the fifth minute, while the midfielder Frank Lampard doubled their advantage before the half-time break. Theo Walcott’s goal gave Arsenal the hope of a comeback, but it never materialised and Chelsea held on for three points.
“Fernando Torres was great. He was fantastic for the team. He was working so hard. We needed his effort, his runs, his movement to create the space for the second line. Obviously he didn’t score but he did a great job. The addition of Demba Ba is something we didn’t have before. For a month and a half we’ve had one striker, now we have two and that is great. It means we can manage the games and cope with a little bit more,” said Benitez after just the second victory in eight home matches.