Fernando Torres scored, but it wasn't nearly enough for Chelsea as they were beaten down by Manchester United, 3-1, at Old Trafford on Sunday. The struggling striker got one, but was still horribly poor with his finishing as his nightmare start with the Blues got worse. United was all too happy to see Torres struggle though as they rode three first half goals to victory and the top spot in the Premier League
The match was only eight minutes old when United went in front through Chris Smalling, or more appropriately, the referee. Ashley Young whipped a great free kick in fron 35 yards, but Smalling was at least a half yard offside on it, only the assistant referee never put his flag up. The play went on and Smalling was in all alone behind the Chelsea defense to head home the first goal of the match.
Chelsea couldn't blame the referee for the Red Devils' second goal. With Juan Mata and John Terry watching instead of defending, Nani swooped in and lined up a shot from 20 yards. It was an absolute rocket, finding its way into the top corner for a highlight reel goal that lit up the usually silent Old Trafford.
Phil Jones added to Chelsea's misery just before halftime, dribbling his way into the box as if he were a forward and while he didn't get the goal, he did all the work for it. Eventually the ball bounced around a little and found its way to Wayne Rooney right in front, who had no problem smashing home the goal that made it 3-0 after 45 minutes.
It took only seconds of second half play for Chelsea fans to be given hope and it was Torres of all people who gave them that hope. He came racing in on goal and deftly chipped the ball with the outside of his foot over David de Gea and the Blues were within two.
That goal was supposed to ignite Torres and get him back on track, but it did nothing of the sort. Later on, he did a brilliant job to dribble his way to within 15 yards and force de Gea into a good save. The ball came back to him though and he had another crack at goal from straight away, but he put the ball over the bar.
That was only the beginning though. Later on, Nicolas Anelka played Torres in all alone on goal. Torres rounded de Gea and had nothing between him and a wide open goal, but he actually managed to miss. He shot wide of the frame and was left to lie on the turf in disbelief. If it weren't so heart-achingly sad to see Torres suffer so much it would have been hilarious, but all it did was make everyone want to give the Spaniard a hug.
As bad as it was for Torres, it was bad the whole way around. Rooney slipped while taking a penalty and kicked the ball off his own foot then well wide of the goal. That was in addition to another chance when he was wide open in front, but poked the ball off of the post, while Dimitar Berbatov also had an open goal, but he hit it slowly and Ashley Cole was able to scramble back to clear it off the line. Ramires had a golden chance from three yards on the other side, but he hit the ball back in de Gea's direction and the United keeper made a brilliant diving save.
On the whole, it was arguably the most positive performance Chelsea have had this year. They showed what they are capable of with their ability to create chances and dominate possession for stretches, but United did what United usually do at Old Trafford and managed to finish in front. The match will be remembered for Torres though, whose day was nothing short of a nightmare even when taking the goal into account.