IT WAS questionably disallowed, but Demba Ba scored a superb goal in Chelsea’s defeat to Swansea on Wednesday night.
That strike underlined the flying start Ba has made to life at Stamford Bridge. He hasn’t looked the least bit overawed since moving from Newcastle and seems brimming with confidence.
Ba was clearly bought to be back-up to Fernando Torres; now he’s a serious threat to the £50m star’s starting place. It leaves Rafael Benitez some tricky decisions, but the key thing is how Torres reacts.
People will expect him to sulk, but we shouldn’t underestimate him. Ba will wilt at some point, as he did at Newcastle, and Torres needs to be ready to take his chances.
Lately he has fallen back into bad habits – drifting out of the penalty area, being indecisive in front of goal and not being aggressive enough – but when Benitez first took charge Torres enjoyed a purple patch.
Right now he is on a tightrope and in danger of becoming the new Michael Owen – a player who peaked early and could never reach those heights again.
He may seem like an odd role model, but Torres should take a leaf out of Carlos Tevez’s book. Since a well-publicised dispute with his manager Roberto Mancini he has knuckled down, despite never knowing when he’ll play.
Torres needs to work harder for the team and get his mental approach right. If he does that, I think he will improve. If he doesn’t, I’m sure he’ll find himself shipped out in the summer.
Trevor Steven is a former England footballer who played at two World Cups and two European Championships. He now works as a media commentator.