Fernando Torres
Torres continues to pursue redemption at Chelsea.

On the day of the passing of Lou Reed, who penned one of the most iconic rock records of the 1970s, Transformer, Fernando Torres provided a convincing illustration that he is rapidly becoming Chelsea's own transformer after crowning the most impressive performance of his Stamford Bridge career with the winning goal against title rivals Manchester City.

Following 31 months of indifferent and uninspiring performances since his January transfer window move from Liverpool in 2011, Torres is staging a dramatic about-turn in his career which, while it might not yet be matching his outstanding form at Anfield, is coming close to justifying a fraction of his £50m price tag.

Even in scoring 23 goals in all competitions last term, primarily in the Blues' run to the Europa League final, Torres failed to convince he possessed the capacity to produce the form which made him one of the most potent strikers in Europe.

However, none of his previous 39 Chelsea goals match the importance which accompanied his 90<sup>th minute winner against City at Stamford Bridge, a vital psychological blow to Manuel Pellegrini's talented team.

Torres' performance against City was a microcosm of his Chelsea career. His missed a chance early in the first half, when he blazed over from Oscar's cross, hurried and undermined by the pressure of expectation. You could only sympathise.

What followed was, if not a return to Torres' finest form, at least some progress towards discovering redemption.

The 29-year-old defied criticism over his pace and movement, the most notable deficiency since moving to west London, by darting past Gael Clichy and then laying on the cross for Andre Schurrle to open the scoring.

The Spanish international, who could not fail to have impressed national team manager Vicente del Bosque, produced a moment of brilliance to almost double Chelsea's lead with a cracking strike which struck the crossbar.

The most over-used accusation thrown at Torres during his Chelsea career has been his often lacklustre guise, as he cut a disconsolate figure at times amid long goal-droughts.

But the winning goal, after Sergio Aguero had equalised for City three minutes into the second half, in the final minute of normal time typified a new-found impetus - chasing down Willian's hasty long ball, pressuring Nemanja Nastasic and Joe Hart into a fatal mix-up, and outpacing Martin Demichelis to touch home from close range. As Jose Mourinho said, Torres "believed".

It may not have reflected a second half which City had dominated for long periods, but it was the fitting end to Torres's finest showing in Chelsea blue, one which included the pre-requisites of determination and a never-say-die attitude - which previous performances have been lacking - coupled with exceptional quality. Long may it continue.