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Swansea 13:30 M'boro

Fernando had to go

Merse says referee had to send off Spaniard

Last Updated: 24/09/11 7:04pm

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Chelsea 4-1 Swansea
Soccer Saturday analysis

"If you do catch him then you snap his leg in half and the poor lad probably never plays football again, so he's got to go."
Paul Merson Quotes of the week

Paul Merson said Fernando Torres had to be sent off against Swansea, even though he didn't really touch Mark Gower.

The Chelsea forward saw red in the first half of Saturday's game at Stamford Bridge following an inexplicable two-footed lunge on the Swansea midfielder.

Replays showed that the Spaniard didn't make much contact with Gower, but referee Mike Dean felt he had no choice but to dismiss Torres for serious foul play.

Soccer Saturday expert Merson insisted Torres is not a malicious player, but said he deserved an early bath for such a dangerous challenge.

"It sounds a bit weird, but he hasn't really caught Gower," he explained.

"It's the intent. You could look at it and say is he that kind of player? No he isn't that kind of player, so do you give him the benefit of the doubt?

"To be fair to Gower he was great and got straight up, but Torres went in two-footed. For someone with his record - he hasn't been sent off for a long time - you look at those players and think: 'He's not like that, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.'

"But the rules say you've got to send them off.

"He might argue he slipped, but I see it straight away as a sending off if you fly in two-footed, if you hit someone or if you miss them.

"If you do catch him then you snap his leg in half and the poor lad probably never plays football again, so he's got to go."


Chelsea manager Andre Villa-Boas will be particularly frustrated because Torres had shown flashes of his old brilliance in the opening stages of the match.

He scored the Blues' opener and played a hand in Ramires' second as Chelsea took early control - and Merson said it was foolish to get sent off when your team is 2-0 up.

He said: "He was a livewire, he was confident and everything he did was sharp.

"He got a very good goal, typical Torres making a run into the box, swivelling and putting it into the far corner. Then he set up Ashley Cole for Ramires to score.

"He was top drawer, then he goes and does that. Sometimes you have to think: 'Why do you do it? You're 2-0 up, dominating Swansea and you're looking to get a hatful of goals.'

"There's no need. It's not like they were getting the runaround."


Even with 10-men Chelsea ran out comfortable 4-1 winners with second-half goals from Ramires and substitute Didier Drogba securing the victory.

However, Merson was impressed with the contribution of Swansea, who pulled a goal back through Ashley Williams, and says they have a strong chance of Premier League survival.

"I know the score was 4-1, but let's not take anything away from Swansea," he added.

"I'd be shocked if they went down. I made them a certainty to go down at the start of the season, I thought they'd beat every record in sight, before I watched them.

"But they gave Chelsea a proper game today. They made chance after chance after chance.

"If they play like that every week they will easily stay up."

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