Fernando Torres took his tally to 18 goals for the season after netting a brace against Rubin Kazan in Chelsea’s 3-1 Europa League victory on Thursday night.

For a player criticised throughout the season, statistics show he hasn't been that bad. Has the criticism been undeserved?

Fair enough at times he looks a shadow of his former self, but strikers are there to score goals and if you look at the statistics then he has somehow managed to score more goals than Wayne Rooney, Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez, Papiss Cisse and Emmanuel Adebayor this season.

If you also consider the fact that Torres has often been overlooked for games this season, especially since the arrival of Demba Ba from Newcastle in January, then his record is quite good.

Some critics say he hasn't been the same player as before; yet, unbelievably, the statistics are once again in his favour.

His seven-year stint at Atletico Madrid was considered a success and earned him a move to Liverpool, but he is now just three goals short from equalling the most goals he ever scored in a single season with Atletico.

Also, barring his debut season at Liverpool in 2007/08, if Torres can score five more goals this season to take his tally to 23, then he will have scored more than in any of the other three full seasons he spent at Liverpool.

It’s worth noting that he has played 52 times this season – the most he has ever played in a campaign - but it still amounts to a goal ratio of 1 in every 2.8 games – not bad considering a lot of these were substitute appearances.

As Chelsea are still in the Europa League and FA Cup, they could have 12-13 games left of the season, giving Torres plenty of time to add to his tally.

And interim manager Rafa Benitez believes that the striker is back in form, telling the Guardian: "We always talk about strikers having to score goals so their confidence is there, and you could see that with Fernando.

"He has 18 goals now, so maybe he doesn't [get enough credit]. People were saying he hadn't scored goals but now I'm sure he will score more.

"Physically he is fine. He will play well and score goals until the end of the season."

Looking at other players and Rooney and Tevez have both scored 16 goals this season, Aguero 13, Cisse's on 11, while Adebayor only has four goals.

It may be argued that Torres has played more games than any of these strikers, but at the end of each season strikers are judged by goals - and so far Torres has more than any of these. 

For a player who hasn’t scored a Premier League goal since December to still to be ahead of the likes of Rooney and Aguero is surprising, and if last night’s two goals can now give him the confidence to break his Premier League drought, then it will take his goal tally into the 20+ mark.

It would then, unbelievably, have to be considered a successful season for the Spanish hit-man.


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