In honor of the start of Hanukkah, I thought it would be nice to take a look back at what I think may be one of the season’s biggest gifts so far — Fernando Torres and his 11 goals — one for each night of Jewish holiday.
What? Hanukkah only has eight nights? Well… tough.
It’s no secret that while Rafa is adament that he’d like to have a handful of players scoring double-digits each year, the masses have been jonsing for a 20-goal league scorer like the Marboro Man on nicotine gum. But, in this holiday season, it looks as if both parties may get what’s on their wishlist as El Nino looks increasingly dangerous with each match and other players, like Stevie G, are chipping in with more than their fair share.
So during this Festival of Lights, I present to you the Festival of Fernando, where we celebrate and give thanks for the goals of El Nino. Out of his 11 goals, six are in the league, three in the League Cup, and now two in CL play. That includes two braces and one hat-trick, with another half of the season to come.
Without further verbal fellatio (but with video), the goals of Fernando Torres:
vs. Chelsea – His first official goal for the club. A Gerrard through-ball puts El Nino through on the left. He brings it into the box, takes his foot off the gas at the top of the 18, suggesting he might change direction, then accelerates past Ben-Haim and sidefoots it with his right foot, right past Cech, tucking it just inside the far post.
vs. Derby (1st) – Mascherano jump-starts the move by making a great tackle, which knocks the ball to Torres roughly 25 yards out. The Spainard surges forward as Claude Davis tries to close him down, then cuts it left, making Andy Todd overrun him. Before Tyrone Mears can reach him in right inside the box, Fernando sidefoots with his left to the far post, leaving Bywater with no chance to save.
vs. Derby (2nd) – Voronin sends a speculative ball downfield, which Andy Todd tries to one-time back to his ‘keeper before it hits the ground, but fails. Everready, Torres is right there to pounce on it. Bywater comes out to the penalty spot, but Fernando knocks past him to the right with his left foot, leaving himself a simple tap-in with his right.
vs. Reading (1st) – Sebastian Leto plays El Nino through on the left, where he collects it right outside the box. Fernando has Michael Duberry on his back but even his last-ditch tackle (or goalkeeper, Adam Federici, who is almost frozen) can’t save the right-footed effort towards the back post.
vs. Reading (2nd) – Riise brings the ball down the left, cuts in and once he enters the box, passes to a crashing Torres, who first-times it into the far top corner with his right foot.
vs. Reading (3rd) – Gerrard slots a fine through ball to Torres as he splits two (albeit, widely spaced) defenders with his run, leaving him with a one-on-one with the goalkeeper. Federici comes out and makes his stand at the penalty spot, but El Nino studder-steps, faking both ways, taking the ball left and knocking it in the empty net with his left foot.
vs. Tottenham – Steve Finnan chips in a left-footed cross from outside the 18, which goes back post where El Nino rises above two Spurs defenders to nod it down and into the net for a 90th minute equalizer.
vs. Fulham – Reina boots a clearance 3/4ths of the way down the pitch, which El Nino takes with his chest, which takes him away from defenders and into the box. At this point, Aaron Hughes has recovered and takes his ground between El Nino and the goal, but the Spainard cuts in the left, takes a half studder-step and slots an incredible ball through Hughes’ legs, right inside the near post. Niemi can’t believe it.
vs. Porto (1st) – A high Gerrard corner falls towards the far post and Torres meets it as the six-yard box to nod it down and home as Gonzalez doesn’t mark the hitman tight enough and Helton can’t get a touch on it.
vs. Porto (2nd) – Harry Kewell brings the ball up the left flank, splitting to defenders with his pass to Torres at the 18. With his back to goal, El Nino spins as the ball slinks through and now has Stepanov and Bosingwa on either shoulder. He accelerates, they give up and it’s now Fernando vs. the on-rushing Helton. El Nino hits a powerful right-footed shot past the ‘keeper, which even a goal-line defender can’t stop.
vs. Bolton – A sublime through-ball from Gerrard puts Torres in a great position on the right. Never breaking stride, he takes one touch to bring it well into the box. Michalik has been trailing behind El Nino on his goalside shoulder and he attempts to make a tackle, but from nine yards out, Torres chips both he and Jaaskelainen with his right foot.
Happy Hanukkah, Ronnie Rosenthal!