Fernando

An incredible, incredible game at Old Trafford today.  It was like a pantomime at times.

I’m sure there will be plenty of Chelsea fanatics in the bars around the Fulham Palace Road who want to throw Fernando Torres to the lions.  Hopefully there’ll be enough sane voices around to realize that today was the first time he looked like his old self!

For the goal he scored his run was sublime and it was a neat composed finish.  Between that goal and his quite unbelievable miss, he came alive again.  He looked dangerous running in behind and also energetic and lively on the ball.  Hopefully that miss doesn’t reset his confidence.  Arm chair fans all over the country will be screaming that their grandma could have slotted that one away with the goal gaping.  The reality is, however, there aren’t many Premier League strikers (let alone octogenarian ladies) capable of the intelligent run that Torres conjured and the ease with which he rounded De Gea running at full pelt.

I’m not sure he choked either… I don’t think he really had enough time to think about it to choke.  Just one of those one in a thousand anomalies. 

Chelsea fans might well be looking to blame Torres for this defeat because of the headline grabbing miss, but you have to look at Lampard’s decision not to run with Smalling for the first (so difficult to rely on offside from wide free kicks like that, especially as the rule has become more complicated over the years).

On the whole for Chelsea though, it was just too difficult to defend against a United side that is streets ahead of them.  More than any other United side in the past, this team is awash with pace as well as quality.  When they won the treble in 1999 I thought they had the best midfield in the world at the time in Beckham, Scholes, Keane and Giggs. Aside from Giggs though, there wasn’t explosive pace there.  Now they have Ashley Young and Nani playing wide (or Valencia). Anderson is not necessarily electric, but I think he’d outpace Scholes and Keane in their prime with a fair amount of ease, and before his injury Cleverley looked rapid in the center of the midfield as well.  Where that 1999 side had Neville and an ageing Irwin at full back  to push on and support, this one has Evra to support on the left and, when fit, Raphael on the right (although Smallling seems to have plenty of pace in the locker as he fills in).   

Fletcher didn’t trouble the Blues too much in terms of pure speed, so God knows what Sir Alex’s first choice team could do to Chelsea! 

Begs the question, front to back, who is the quickest team in the Premier League right now?

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