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Rafa Stands By Goal-Shy Torres

Fernando Torres is in the grip of yet another scoreless run for Chelsea.

This time, the hapless Spanish striker has gone seven matches without finding the back of the net.

He had been jeered by the crowd during Chelsea’s recent 2-2 draw with Southampton, but was retained by manager Rafa Benitez for the Blues match against Arsenal at the weekend.

While there was widespread relief at Stamford Bridge when Chelsea saw off the Gunners 2-1, Torres was not so lucky.

The team-sheet was met with derision before the match started, with Demba Ba on the bench and El Nino in the starting line-up, and there was no mistaking which striker the fans already prefer.

And as the game went on, and Torres looked unable to find the goal even if a GPS machine was giving him directions in his head, the Bridge again grew restless.

After the match, the focus was on Torres’ goal drought, and the fact that he has mustered just 14 goals in 69 league appearances for Chelsea since his move from Liverpool.

But Benitez refused to come down hard on his compatriot, and insisted that Torres has been far more valuable to Chelsea than his stats suggest.

"These people who like to quote stats and stats, they don't have any clue about what is going on," Benitez said.

"When you have one striker for a month and a half and cannot change, it's more difficult for the striker. When you have now two strikers, you can manage.

"Fernando was doing a great job. Afterwards, Demba gave us something we didn't have before."

Overall, and despite Torres’ goalmouth travails, Benitez was impressed by what he saw from Chelsea.

Winning the London derby against Arsenal is always satisfying for the Blues faithful.

And Benitez himself is satisfied that his and Chelsea’s hard work is finally beginning to bear fruit.

"We have been doing well and creating chances in all our games," Rafa said.

"In the games we didn't win we deserved to win. It was just a matter of time until we had a performance like this."

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