As for Fernando Torres, he has not had many good weeks in his 15 months at Chelsea, but this was certainly one of them. El Nino is coming good at just the right time. He was far too hot for QPR’s statuesque defenders to handle and scored twice in the first half and once after the break to seal his first treble since September 2009, when he scored three for Liverpool against Hull. Meanwhile, early strikes from Daniel Sturridge and John Terry had set the tone as the Blues destroyed QPR with four goals in the first 25 minutes at Stamford Bridge and Florent Malouda completed their biggest Premier League win of the season.
“He was always working very hard for the team and putting assists in. It doesn’t really matter who scores but I am pleased for him that he scored a hat-trick. It is great for a striker’s confidence but we work as a team.” -De Matteo
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MATCH HIGHLIGHTS (IN HD):
The match had started without the traditional pre-match handshake, which was scrapped to avoid affecting Terry’s upcoming trial over charges of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.
But Sturridge, one of six changes made by interim boss Roberto Di Matteo, quickly got the focus back on football. Just 45 seconds after kick off, Sturridge opened the scoring with a ferocious strike from the left edge of the penalty area that flashed past Paddy Kenny at his near post. Confidence was clearly surging through Chelsea after the epic win at the Camp Nou and Frank Lampard went close to increasing the lead when his delicate chip forced Kenny to tip over. The resulting corner from Lampard reached out Terry, who rose above Clint Hill to bury a header and became 2-0 inside the first twelve minutes of the match. Six minutes later it was three, Salomon Kalou picking out Torres with a wonderful pass, allowing the Spaniard to round Kenny and slot home just like he did in stoppage time against Barcelona. QPR went further behind, when Nedum
Onuoha tried to head a Mata lob to Kenny. Onuoha only succeeded in nodding it off the keeper to Torres, who made no mistake with the finish to bury the ball inside the net. Long-rangers did not trouble Petr Cech until the 54th minute, when the Chelsea keeper saved magnificently from Jamie Mackie. His long-range effort was heading in until Cech got a fingertip to it. But normal service was quickly resumed, when Torres bagged his hat-trick. Mata once again providing a killer through ball past QPR defense, reaching Torres who took two touches before guiding a sweet finish into the far corner. The outstanding Mata and the hard-working Kalou were replaced by Malouda and Ramires. And the two substitutes combined to make it 6-0, with Ramires teeing-up for the Frenchman to slam home from a close range. By the time Cisse finally found a late consolation goal, the game was up and everyone in the ground knew it! There was still time for Chelsea supporters to sing the name of caretaker manager Roberto di Matteo and, after finally getting the best out of his owner’s £50m investment, what price the Italian being given the job on a permanent basis?
With a five-goal lead, Di Matteo had the luxury of being able to rest players, with Newcastle to come at the Bridge on Wednesday, before Saturday’s FA Cup Final with Liverpool at Wembley. With the FA Cup final against Liverpool on Saturday and the Champions League final against Bayern Munich next month, Chelsea are eyeing a glorious end to a difficult season. In contrast, QPR are above the relegation zone only on goal difference and face a nervous finale as they try to avoid an immediate return to the Championship.
“It’s a different feeling to what I had,” Torres told Sky Sports after his hat-trick, which followed his goal in the Champions League semi-final against Barcelona on Tuesday. “In the past I was feeling very good, my fitness was very sharp and I was playing very well but I couldn’t score. “But now, to be honest, I feel I’m not playing as good as before but I’m scoring goals which is the most important thing for strikers.” Torres, 28, has struggled for goals since leaving Liverpool. It took him until late April last season to get off the mark
and before today he only had eight to his name in this campaign, with just three of those in the Premier League. “I was always pleased with Torres’ contribution,” said the Italian. “He was always working very hard for the team and putting assists in. It doesn’t really matter who scores but I am pleased for him that he scored a hat-trick. It is great for a striker’s confidence but we work as a team.” Torres, who was dropped from the Spain squad for February’s friendly against Venezuela but is unlikely to be left out for the Euro 2012 finals, said Chelsea had hit top form at just the right time. “We knew we needed to finish in the top four and win all the games for rest of the season,” he said. “I am very happy with three (goals), hopefully the first of many, but the more important thing for me is the team looks like they are playing their best football of the season with important games to come.”
5 THINGS WE LEARNED:
(Taken from bleacherreport,com)
1. Fernando Torres Can Still Look Like a Striker
2. Frank Lampard and Juan Mata Are Very Good Together
3. Jose Bosingwa Could Be the Answer at Center-Back
4. Chelsea Have to Be Favored in Every Remaining Domestic Game
5. Everyone on Chelsea Is at Their Absolute Best
- Chelsea 6-1 QPR: Torres treble gives Rangers the blues (talksport.co.uk)
- Torres hits hat-trick in Chelsea rout (espn.co.uk)
- Chelsea Vs. Queens Park Rangers, 2012 Premier League: Dominant Home Side Lead 4-0 At Halftime (sbnation.com)
- Torres scores hat trick as Chelsea routs Rangers (tsn.ca)