Monday, 19 November 2012

Chelsea Slump Puts Pressure on Di Matteo, Torres

Fernando Torres could become Chelsea’s fall guy after a poor run of form has suddenly turned the heat on manager Roberto Di Matteo just weeks after the Italian could seemingly do no wrong.

Di Matteo’s stock could hardly have been higher in the early weeks of the season as the European champions won seven and drew one of their opening eight Premier League games.

The midfield trio of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Juan Mata were combining in eye-catching fashion and even the much-maligned Torres looked something like his old self, having struggled to justify his £50m ($79.23m) price tag since joining the Blues.

However, a 3-2 home defeat by Manchester United at the end of October, in which Torres was given a red card for diving, and captain John Terry’s four-game ban for racial abuse and a subsequent knee injury has coincided with a dip.

Chelsea have gone four Premier League games without victory, slipping to third in the table after Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at West Bromwich Albion and now face a crucial away trip to Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Defeat at the Serie A side would leave their hopes of reaching the last 16 in the balance and Di Matteo could opt for a more defensive line-up, with Torres’s position under threat.

The former Liverpool striker has managed just one goal in his last seven matches for Chelsea and Di Matteo hinted that the Spaniard may have to be sacrificed against Juventus.

“I think we have to access the whole team and see how everybody is and how they have recovered.

“We will see assess them and see what the right selection is for Tuesday. (But) if I believe it the right thing to do for the team, then yeah,” Di Matteo told reporters when asked to discuss whether he would leave Torres out in Turin.

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