what’s wrong with torres?

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I can’t help but laugh when I score a goal with Fernando Torres in FIFA 12¬†and the commentators make reference to his consistency and reliability. It isn’t difficult to lead the league in scoring with Torres, a man who possesses immense innate ability and has been a world-class goal scorer in the past. The FIFA designers saw fit to rate Torres an 86/100, making him one of the best in the game. Unfortunately, he has not lived up to that level since joining Chelsea last January. What has caused such a declination in his productivity?

The theories proposed thus far include:

  • His style of play is incongruous with the system employed by Chelsea. Perhaps he would function better as a lone striker rather than someone who is trying to incorporate play as a winger and midfielder?
  • He lacks confidence. After his disappointing start, he hasn’t had many opportunities to regain his form. Drogba’s been starting games instead.
  • He’s overrated. Perhaps he was never as good as we thought he was when he was scoring for Atletico Madrid and Liverpool…or he just peaked at a very early age?

Sometimes it’s better to try to solve the problem without knowing what caused the problem in the first place. So how can Torres be fixed? Here are a few ideas:

  • Let him play more. His movement and technique are still entertaining to watch, and Drogba shouldn’t start every game at his age.
  • Ignore him completely. Sometimes problems go away when we just stop talking about them.
  • Operant conditioning, a la B.F. Skinner. Reward him when he scores and use minor electrotherapy when he strays too far from the opposing keeper’s box.

More than likely, he’ll return to form as Drogba and Kalou leave for the Africa Cup of Nations. Or he’ll continue his downward spiral into irrelevance. Whichever. It’s going to take more than a mentally and physically in-form Torres to topple the Manchester teams this season.

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