There was something in the air that year

Olivier Giroud's Europa League goal tally for the season currently stands at nine, which is the same amount Fernando Torres netted in continental action in 2012/13. Here's the story of the Spaniard's richest vein of form in a Chelsea shirt.

As far as opposition supporters were concerned, there was no grey area when it came to Fernando Torres,who traded Anfield for Stamford Bridge in January 2011 – his four years as a Blue were a failure.

While it is clear a tally of 45 goals from 172 appearances is less than what was expected of a club record signing who had previously boasted a fine scoring record for Liverpool, his time here was certainly not the disaster it was portrayed as.

The Spaniard had moved to west London in search of major silverware, which had eluded him throughout his club career. Within 18 months he had won both the FA Cup and the biggest one of the lot, the Champions League, and while not a consistent protagonist in either triumph, he contributed to both, most notably with that last-minute goal in Barcelona which confirmed we would go on to face Bayern Munich on the most famous night in the club's history.

A year later, another trophy would be added to the collection – the third honour of four he would win at the top level in Europe, to go along with three he won at international level during a 110-cap career as part of arguably the most dominant national team of all time. And this time he was the main man.

We dropped into the Europa League in the spring after suffering the devastating blow of becoming the first Champions League holders to exit the competition at the group stage – this despite scoring 16 times and accruing 10 points, which was level with Shakhtar Donetsk, who progressed due to scoring more goals at Stamford Bridge than we did in Ukraine.

The consolation prize of finishing third in Group E meant we would enter the secondary continental competition at the last-32 stage under Rafa Benitez, who had got the best out of Torres during his time as Liverpool boss, and it is no coincidence the striker's upturn in form in west London coincided with his spell as interim manager.

Having scored three times in the Champions League group stage, the Blues No9 set about adding another European trophy to his collection with a prolific few months in the Europa League.

After going scoreless through our tie with Sparta Prague, neighbours of Slavia, Torres scored the winner in the last 16 against Steau Bucharest, taking a flick from Eden Hazard in his stride to finish clinically and securing a meeting with Rubin Kazan.

Wearing a protective face guard after suffering a broken nose, he was dubbed Zorres by Blues fans – with a nod to the Mask of Zorro – following a two-goal performance which included a towering header that showed his old confidence was coming back. An early goal in the return leg to his tally in the Europa League to four.

Facing Basel in the semi-finals, a place in the final was still in the balance midway through the second leg at Stamford Bridge when Torres popped up with a vital tap-in to put us ahead once again and on course for the final in Amsterdam.

'After being knocked out of the Champions League we wanted to play in another European final,' declared the Spaniard. 'We have shown everyone who thought we wouldn't take it seriously that we are prepared to fight for the competition.’

History was at stake against Benfica; not only did we have a chance to become the first English team to win the Champions League, UEFA Cup/Europa League, Super Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup, we were also on course to follow in the footsteps of the great Nottingham Forest side under Brian Clough, who were the last side from these shores to win back-to-back European trophies.

While Branislav Ivanovic would eventually take the glory after heading home a stoppage-time winner, we'd taken the lead in the Netherlands courtesy of a goal which can only be described as classic Torres.

The striker showed great pace, not to mention strength, to beat two defenders before rounding the keeper and slotting home from a tight angle. It was his ninth European goal of the season and 21st overall of the campaign, a tally which would reach 22 after our final Premier League fixture. Personal glory was of little interest to him, though.

'Chelsea gave me what I wanted as a player: trophies,' he said earlier this season when looking back at his time at the Bridge. 'I have great memories of my time at Chelsea.'

With nine goals already to his name in the Europa League this season, Giroud is on course to surpass Torres' tally – but there's little doubt he, like his popular predecessor, won't be satisfied unless he gets his hands on the trophy come May.

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