Arsene Wenger believes Fernando Torres struggled in his first season at Chelsea not only because of the presence of Didier Drogba – but also because of the Blues other established stars.
Torres endured a torrid first season at Stamford Bridge after singing for the Blues in January 2011, and went over 24 hours on the pitch without scoring between October and March.
The Spaniard also failed to hold down a regular spot in the starting XI thanks to the presence of Drogba, and was a substitute for the Champions League final against Bayern Munich in May.
Drogba left the club over the summer to sign for Chinese outfit Shanghai Shenhua, leaving Torres as Chelsea’s main attacking option for the 2012/13 season.
Although Torres has four goals to his name already this season he recently embarked upon a five game goal drought, which he ended by finding the net against Wolves in the League Cup last night.
Wenger, whose Arsenal team host Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, believes Torres initially struggled because of Drogba’s presence alongside the Chelsea old guard of Frank Lampard and John Terry – but expects him to shine this term.
“I have only one explanation for the problems Torres had at the beginning at Chelsea: it was Didier Drogba,” Wenger wrote in his Eurosport column.
“Drogba is somebody who is solid internally and has a great mental strength.
“Because he is a great player he is also able to impose himself in the dressing room.
“I think that was very hard because when you do not score for two matches, you know that you have Drogba on the bench, and he will return.
“Drogba had such a weight in the club.
“But not just Drogba, it is also Lampard, Cole, Terry. It’s all the old armada of Chelsea and it is not easy to move them.”
“But afterwards, when you have the class and the talent, time always makes the difference.
“It is for that reason I would not be astonished if Torres has a great season.”
Torres should lead the line for Chelsea against Arsenal, who they have not won a game against without Drogba in 22 attempts.