Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Fernando Torres will be out of action for at least two to three weeks.
That rules him out of any possible appearance this weekend, with the London derby against West Ham United after the international break his most likely return date.
“We hope that he's back after the national teams, but of course no chance for this weekend,” said Mourinho.
The good news for Chelsea is that their other strikers Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba both found the back of the net in last night’s Champions League clash against FC Schalke.
However, if Torres is fit then there are several reasons he has to play against the Hammers.
The Spaniard showed in the London derby against Tottenham Hotspur that he is perfectly prepared to get stuck in, playing some less than conventional, aggressive football.
West Ham is never an easy place to visit. The crowd will be up, the players will raise their game and it could be a very difficult day at the office for Chelsea, which means they need players all over the pitch who are determined to get stuck in.
It’s not just that aspect of Torres’ game which has been noticeable this season, he seems to have made a few little tweaks to his game which have helped him look more like the forward Chelsea paid £50 million for.
He doesn’t have that pace he once possessed but he’s compensated for that, playing a deeper role in the Chelsea attack. That allows him to take on any defender and he still has that skill and knowledge in the final third to create a chance for himself.
Fortunately for the Blues, the international break means Torres won’t be playing any football between now and the London derby against the Hammers.
He can train and work hard with the physios while his teammates are away, putting himself in a position where his absence will be closer to two weeks than the three Mourinho has mentioned.
Eto’o and Ba now both have an opportunity to lay down a strong claim for that starting spot in the Chelsea attack because otherwise Torres will come straight back in and the Hammers could be on the receiving end.
image: © wshjackson