In the last couple of years one player that has come under massive scrutiny is Fernando Torres.
Ever since his £50 million move from Liverpool to Chelsea in January 2011 it was apparent that Torres was struggling. The Spaniard managed to notch only a single goal in his first season with the London outfit and since then has been inconsistent with his performances.
There have been times when he’s looked like his deadly old self - most notably the single week when he knocked Barcelona out of the Champions League and scored a hat-trick against West London rivals QPR.
Robin van Persie is a player who’s been in brilliant form for the last couple of years. While Torres has struggled, RVP has gained many plaudits with his goal tallies.
Last season he was the stand out star for Arsenal and voted the PFA Player of the Year. With such an accolade it was of little surprise that, after a controversial move to Manchester United, he continued his fine run of goal scoring this season.
However, in the last few weeks Torres has scored more goals than Van Persie. The number of goals Torres has scored since RVP’s last, against Everton in early February, is three.
It’s not a huge number, a fairly minuscule one for an expensive striker, but his goals for Chelsea always seem to come along with bursts of confidence.
The three goals have all come in the Europa League and after scoring there has been a noticeable difference in Torres’ play.
On Thursday night Torres scored early on against Russian side Rubin Kazan and that initial goal saw his confidence grow throughout the game. A series of skills and charging runs impressed the Chelsea supporters and in the second half he got a deserved second goal - a towering header from a Juan Mata cross.
It’s far too early to suggest the Torres of old has returned but El Nino recently spoke about his desperation to recover his deadly form and is working ferociously on becoming a deadly striker.
Torres is surprisingly Chelsea’s top goal scorer; he has 19 goals in all competitions and seven in the league. Levelled against the amount of matches he’s played the figure should be higher but in an under performing Chelsea side it’s still impressive.
Robin van Persie is also Manchester United’s top goal scorer. He has notched up 23 goals, four more than Torres in all competitions and 12 more in the league.
Undoubtedly one of the best strikers in the world, you would expect him to be able to put away simple chances and end his drought but that hasn’t been the case. In United’s Champions League tie with Madrid Van Persie spurned some great chances - ones that may well have seen the Red Devils through in place of the Spanish champions.
Sir Alex recently said that he tells his strikers to “batter” the ball and it may appear Van Persie took his boss’ words too literally with one effort in United’s FA Cup replay against Chelsea.
The United striker had more time than he expected after good work down the left channel by Ashley Young and Patrice Evra and blazed his shot high above the bar.
Both of these players are high calibre strikers and on their day can turn a game instantly. Fernando Torres’ substitute appearance for Chelsea against Sunderland saw the Blues turn round the score line and win the game; although not scoring his contribution was significant.
When both players have been through dry spells they have still been an asset to the team, assisting goals rather than scoring them, but any length of time without a goal will play on their mind.
Ferguson has started to publicly back his key striker claiming he will end his goal-scoring drought; but with a public admission by his manager that he needs to score could Van Persie’s confidence dip?
United have all but sealed the title but with Luis Suarez in catching distance for the Golden Boot, RVP will be looking to end his goal scoring drought soon.
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