By Toyin Akiode
Who could ever have believed that Victor Moses will become a mainstay and ever constant player in a major club such as Chelsea looking at his less than impressive career in England? From the fringes and mostly unused substitute roles from various clubs he had either been loaned from or transferred to; he had been more cold than hot.
The exception was when he played 74 games over two seasons (2010 -2012) with Wigan Athletics and 58 games in three seasons at Crystal Palace (2007 -2010). During these periods, he managed to score 19 goals at both clubs. It was obvious that he wasn’t an out and out striker rather he was more like a skillful and fast winger.
What could have been his major step into the big leagues somehow snowballed into almost a free fall as his move to Chelsea in 2012 didn’t ‘click’ as envisaged. While he started well, things soon burned out for him as he was shunted out the following season on loan to Liverpool. At Anfield; things got from bad to worse as he almost lost the identity of his game. He managed 19 games and score only a goal.
Still, there was no joy as he moved on loan to Stoke City where he repeated his 19 games record of previous season but managed to increase his goals tally to three! Like an unwanted child, he was kept away from home for the third straight year when he had to endure a lackluster season with West Ham United during the 2015/2016 season. At Upton Park, he played 21 times and scored once.
Like the proverbial saying that ‘after the rain comes the sunshine’, Conte came in as Chelsea’s new Manager and against all tides of expectations named Moses in his squad. The significance of this was that in the estimations of most Nigerians – fans and pundits alike; no one would rate Moses ahead of players like Oscar and Mikel Obi in terms of influence, potential and relevance. But Conte did!
It is no longer news that Mikel and Oscar now ply their trade in China while Moses is a key bolt in the wheels driving Chelsea to their fifth Premier League title in 13 years. Unlike the past, he has appeared 23 times for Chelsea this term, scored three goals and made two assists. To put that in even greater perspective; his performance and consistency ratings are put at almost 90% of his game ratio this season alone.
Check out his overall stats in the Premier League.
To say that Antonio Conte has turned around Moses game, influence and career is to say the least. The Super Eagles of Nigeria is also benefiting from this new lease of life and we can only hope that this match-up continue for a while yet.
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