Why Torres’ misleading goal tally doesn’t quite tell the whole story

The Fernando Torres defenders were in full force on Thursday evening.

Like many of his Chelsea team-mates, the Spaniard has had to cope with Rafael Benitez’s rotation policy as the Blues chase a top-four finish, the FA Cup, and the UEFA Europa League. Attention was on the latter last night, and Torres remembered to wear his shooting boots as he hit a brace in a quarter-final first leg 3-1 win over Rubin Kazan at Stamford Bridge.

This took the 29-year-old’s tally to the season to 19 in all competitions. As pointed out by several people on Twitter, and even re-tweeted by Stan Collymore, the former Liverpool star has now outscored: Manchester United duo Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez, who have 16 each in all competitions; Manchester City trio Carlos Tevez (16), Sergio Aguero (13), and Edin Dzeko (13); Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud (16); and Tottenham Hotspur’s Jermain Defoe (14).

So that settles it, then: Torres is clearly better than those rivals listed above.

What a load of tosh.

Whilst his record is perhaps better than he has been given credit for, it doesn’t exactly tell the whole truth. Like one of these goals came in the pre-season Community Shield against City. Like one of them came in the Club World Cup against Monterrey. Or that his tally includes goals against teams from lower divisions: one each against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leeds United in the League Cup; in the FA Cup he has struck once against both Brentford and Middlesbrough; even two of his three goals in the UEFA Champions League came against Danish minnows Nordsjaelland.

The latter was a 6-1 win at Stamford Bridge, incidentally, which moves me on to the next point: when does he score crucial goals? Okay, we all remember his goal at Barcelona last season (although Chelsea would have progressed to the final on away goals anyway), and he notched the opener in the 2-1 win at Arsenal earlier this term; to be fair even his equaliser at League One Brentford was vital. But a look at when some of this other goals have been scored will reveal the fifth in a 6-0 win over Wolves; the fifth in the 5-1 win at Leeds; another in the 8-0 demolition of Aston Villa.

It’s hard to pick out a goal to compare with, for an admittedly wild example, that of Sergio Aguero’s stoppage time strike which won Manchester City a first league title since 1968, isn’t it?

Finally, Torres’ 19 goals have come in 53 matches in all competition. Of those strikers listed earlier, Rooney has played 31, Hernandez 29, Tevez 37, Aguero 32, Dzeko 38, Giroud 42, and Defoe 38. So is it not reasonable to expect Torres to have scored more? In fact, perhaps the real question should be: why only 19, Fernando?


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