FERNANDO TORRES cuts a desolate figure in the appropriately blue colours of Chelsea.
Once one of the most feared strikers in world football, the Spaniard couldn’t hit a barn door at the moment, and the longer he goes without getting off the mark at Stamford Bridge the more miserable he will become.
By contrast centre-back David Luiz has become a cult hero in West London after a handful of appearances, the irony being he’s already scored two vital goals – and he’s a defender!
His deadlock-breaking header against Manchester City was trademark Torres, and prompted Sky expert Jamie Redknapp to comment: “That’s what you get for £24m.”
In that case what are Chelsea supposed to be getting from £50m Torres?
He was lethal in La Liga for Atletico Madrid, and enjoyed a superb start to life at Liverpool, but amid the euphoria of Spain’s World Cup triumph last summer he was the one notable failure, dropped after failing to make any kind of impact whatsoever and usurped as his country’s pin-up boy by David Villa.
Most critics reckon he will come good but it’s taking an awful long time.
I confess on the other hand to being wrong about my scepticism of Luis Suarez.
From what I’d seen of the Uruguayan in South Africa (remember his handball against Ghana?) I doubted his ability to succeed in England, but his dazzling footwork has been a catalyst in Liverpool turning their season around.
Suarez, Luiz, Van der Vaart, Hernandez and Odemwingie have been the best of the season’s imports.
WHAT a hoot! Harry Redknapp got shirty with Jermain Defoe at the weekend because his star striker was celebrating his 100th Premier League goal prematurely.
The England marksman’s vest, specially decorated to mark the completion of his century, was clearly visible, yet despite umpteen opportunities he never got the chance to show it off in full view of the cameras, scoring a duck against West Ham instead.
“I hope he never wears it again” moaned unhappy Harry. “It tempts fate.”
Footballers are a suspicious lot but I suspect Defoe will defy his manager and keep donning the sweaty top until his moment arrives.
Defoe started scoring goals in the colours of Bournemouth, an incredible 18 in 29 league games on loan from West Ham, and he’s carried on finding the net ever since.
So have a trio of strikers who have never enjoyed the headlines Defoe has generated but deserve a mention.
And they did all score last Saturday.
Jamie Cureton even went off to Malaysia to ply his trade a couple of years ago, but he’s back with Exeter City and his strike against Yeovil was his 200th in the league in a career stretching back 17 years.
Scott McGleish seems to have been around for ever and he’s just four goals shy of a double century as well after his goal for Leyton Orient at Brentford.
And Wycombe’s Gareth Ainsworth is closing in on a century after hitting No 99 against Shrewsbury.
None of the trio has ever been given the chance at the highest level and you’re bound to wonder why in view of their prolific deeds.
Another classic example of a player deserving a bigger platform is Jack Lester of Chesterfield.
Every time I’ve seen him for Grimsby, Nottingham Forest and so on, he’s scored.
And his televised hat trick against Rotherham was no more than I expected of a striker who is too cute for League II defences to handle.
There are still gems just waiting to be unearthed in the lower leagues, for instance George Boyd, of Peterborough.
He gave one of the most outstanding performances of midfield play I’ve seen all season the other day, and it mystifies me why some of our top clubs don’t invest in homegrown talent rather than go for unheard of foreigners all the time.
A very small point, but why do players try to steal an inch, never mind a yard?
I’ve watched closely at recent matches and whenever a player goes to take a corner, nine times out of 10 he places the ball outside the semi-circle, yet the assistant referee can’t be bothered to do anything.
It’s the same at throw-ins, if a player can pinch a few feet he will do. Why? What does anyone gain from such a small margin?
It’s like a bowler constantly over-stepping the mark, except they get no-balled, and concede a run.
Tiny point, as I say, yet somehow yet another example of a sport that not only condones but encourages gamesmanship.