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Tactics Tuesday: The Failure of Fernando Torres at AC Milan

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Not sure if you can call it a failure or simply failure to launch?

Mario Carlini / Iguana Press/Getty Images

I will admit there was a sense of hope in me for Fernando Torres.  There was a time where Fernando and Didier Drogba were for me the pinnacle of strikers. Strong with a sense of finesse, busy but with conviction.  They made the EPL something special and in turn made Chelsea and Liverpool forces in their domestic league and in the Champions League.  No coincidence that El Nino moved from Liverpool to Chelsea where the weight of the transfer surely crushed his confidence and morale rendering one of the most dynamic strikers in the game utterly useless.

Oddly enough it was a strange decline, it was almost as though the striker had forgotten how to score.  He still worked his ass off and put himself into good spots but this ability to miss was more prominent then his ability to score.  Was it mental? Most likely...maybe it was crushing pressure?  Surely a change of scenery to the San Siro to play with a man who can score goals in his sleep was the answer.  Sadly it was not.

I don't blame Torres, I blame Filippo Inzaghi.

Yes, let that sink in for a minute.  Inzaghi's Milan is not a team, it is not a collective working for the common good. Inzaghi's Milan is a one dimensional pass it Menez machine that lives and dies by a tempermental Frenchman.  It is no surprise that with Torres on the pitch other people were scoring.  One could argue that it was because Torres could not! The point is while he wasn't creating he was working and in turn it helped the likes of Honda, Bonaventura and SES. When Torres plays there is a presence through the middle of the pitch, when Menez plays the team is so left side leaning it makes the defensive posture of the opponent simple.  When Torres plays there is someone to pester CBs instead of allowing them to dictate play.

Many point to Milan's recent run of form, a loss to Genoa,  win against Napoli and draw against Roma.  If this is form, then what does Milan's old school invincible record amount to?  This isn't form, it is blind luck, Napoli was blah and Roma were toothless, the old Milan would have embarrassed these teams, but this isn't AC Milan, it is AC Menez. How Pippo couldn't nurture and instill confidence and motivation into Torres is a mystery to me, maybe Pippo doesn't play a striker because being a striker he still has disdain for all others? I don't know the answer here but to call Torres a failure is not entirely accurate.

I suspect he gets ditched in January, maybe for Cerci in a swap with Atletico Madrid.  This would give us another non-central striker and another player like Menez and SES.  It's a silly move, but when you don't have a plan for success this is what is par for the course.