Torres and the substitute effect
Pubcast listener Andy Element has sent his take on the factors behind Fernando Torres’ first goal for Chelsea.
OK, so Fernando Torres has scored his first goal. Big deal. It was against the Premier League’s bottom team who are ultimately going to get relegated soon. It wasn’t the winning goal, that was scored in the 44th minute by Frank Lampard. And he was only on the pitch for 14 minutes – by then West Ham had been run down, they were tired, they had put all their effort in to trying to get back into the game and Torres just backs up what I like to call the “substitute effect”.
To investigate the so called “substitute effect” I take you back to a cold February’s evening in Leyton, the mighty Arsenal had put out a “weakened team” which still contained Sagna, Rosicky, Denilson and Arshavin. That should have been more than enough to deal with team lingering mid-table in League One. You may be wondering why I am telling you this, well bear with me and it will all make sense. The match was all Arsenal’s. They had gone one-nil up via Rosicky’s placed effort. Enter an unknown Frenchman: Jonathan Tehoue, a muscular striker.
Watching the match you can see that the boy has some strength and he has been used mainly as a substitute this season, just because he has the ability to take on tired defenders and beat them with not too much effort. He is pretty ineffective as a starter and there are some players who are just made to be substitutes.
So after that long-winded explanation we return to subject A: Fernando Torres, I urge Chelsea fans not to get over excited because of this goal, because you could not find a more stonewall example of the ‘substitute effect’. The Hammers’ players were ground down by the Chelsea groundsmen more than anyone else. For the hottest day in April since the 1930′s, the pitch was an absolute state, it was because of this that Torres was able to turn past the West Ham defence like they weren’t even there (that has been the case a lot this season anyway). You can see where Torres was trying to kick the ball, it was away from the goal and he would have been ushered into the corner by the West Ham centre back.
The only reason Torres is even at Chelsea is because money manages the club. Carlo Ancelotti is at Chelsea because Abramovich needs a figurehead to do the the jobs that he doesn’t want to do – i.e. the press conferences and the training. He is treating the club like a fantasy football team, Ancelotti is Roman’s press puppet, he is the figurehead but Abramovich makes all the decisions, that’s why Mourinho left, because he had no control, he didn’t fell as if he was managing the club. Abramovich can do what he likes at Chelsea because, well, he owns the club and it’s owners like these that make managers obsolete in the modern game.
Think of it in terms of KFC. Just because Colonel Sanders is on the bucket, doesn’t mean he is making the chicken.