StatsTalk: Moses has pedigree to Usurp Willian

It is astonishing how situations change in football. For instance, when the transfer window started, Chelsea fans were expecting the arrival of a certain Frenchman, Antoine Griezmann. There is no smoke without fire, but this one ended cold. Then came the rumours of Spaniard Pedro, reeling with attrocities of the best attacking trio who play for the same team as he does. Even that seemed a sweet thing considering Mourinho’s laid-back attitude in this summer of transfers. However, the move has only cooled down in speculations now and seems unlikely. The unlikely saviour for Chelsea fans has been Victor Moses.

Victor Moses is himself the beneficiary of changing situations. If only the hyped up Cuadrado duck had proved it’s worth, we’d not be reading all this. But the Colombian has failed extravagantly since arriving at the Bridge. Even after his honeymoon period having well passed away in disaster, he failed to make an average impression against PSG. Something must be wrong with the long dreaded ex-Fiorentina man.

However, since Victor Moses seems to be making something positive out of all this negativity, let’s discuss him. Coming through the ranks at cross town neighbours Crystal Palace before moving to Wigan Athletic, Moses made the move to Stamford Bridge in 2012.

Chelsea paid 11 million Euros for the home-grown player. The hype justified the price at the time. Experience now tells us that hype should not be the factor for a player’s worth. Nonetheless, he came to Chelsea. He made appearances in 23 games in his first season, but mostly as a substitute. His performances didn’t warrant anything better.

The following season, Liverpool wanted him for their most cherish-able season in recent history. Moses, obliged but only from the bench; playing a meagre 663 minutes. It would be gracious to say that the move was a disaster as Moses was shorn of any meaningful chances or run-ins. His stocked had dropped considerably by then, and Stoke city came calling the following season.

For the umpteenth time Moses had a chance to prove himself. However, unlike the past instances, he grabbed it with both of his feet this time. Appearing in the same number of games for the potters as he had for the Anfield side, he more than doubled his on-pitch minutes. On Merit.

If it was not for his 2 months of injury in November, he would have made much more impact. Nonetheless, he made good on his return once he was fit again. By the time the season ended, he was on whoscored’s list of the top-20 footballers, missing on top-10 by a whisker.

moses best players
Moses missed on best 10 players of the league by a whisker last season

The Winger had managed to grab eye balls by then, presumably even that of the Premier League winning Jose Mourinho himself. In the midst of July, we got the first affirmation to the fact from his stoke manager Mark Hughes, who wanted to keep the player for the following season:

 “It could be he plays a part for Chelsea this year,”

“He showed enough in his time with us that it made Chelsea very aware of the talent they have.”

“I think they would possibly like to keep him although if they go into the market again, they could change that idea…”

As of now, the Blues haven’t ventured into the market for a winger yet. So it would be safe to presume him a part of the squad, especially after Jose appreciated the lad following his game against NYRB.

Now that he is a part of the team for the time being, let’s see what has gotten him into this fortunate situation. Hard work is the key-word here.

squawka comparison of Victor Moses and Willian for the season 2014-15
Squawka comparison of Victor Moses and Willian for the season 2014-15

At first glance, this infographic might look biased and in a way it is. Willian is better in terms of the shot accuracy, number of passes per game, pass completion percentage among some other stats. But the ones highlighted above are more important stats in my view. The total chances created for each game, the number of goals scored in every game as well as shots and total duels. Let us break down the significance of these numbers.

Chances Created:

For any winger who plays for any team what-so-ever, it is important that he presents goal-scoring opportunities to his team mates on a plate. Willian does that to a good extent, being a workhorse. Moses last season was better at it, despite the fact that he was playing with somewhat lesser quality of team-mates. (No disrespect to any Stoke player, especially Charlie Adam).

That should be enough to give the Nigeria international a head-start. He may be even better at it once he is being fed with balls from the likes of Oscar and Fabregas.

Goals Scored:

Of all the criticism that comes the way of Willian who was once compared to Hazard, only a little less than 100% is related to his goal-scoring prowess, or the lack of it. He either manages a spectacular goal once in a blue moon or flies his shot towards the moon.

In comparison to the Brazilian, Moses is no talisman like Griezmann himself. But he is just a more prolific player. He scored against Aston Villa, West Ham and Everton last season. One apiece. Three in total. No big feat, but still better than Willian’s per game tally.

Total Shots:

This is where Moses truly usurps Willian. The Brazilian Winger attempts 1.53 shots per game. So if he plays 25 games, his total shots count would be 38.25. One the contrary, Moses tries for the goal 2.16 times every goal. As we witnessed against PSG, he sometimes puts them into the net.

More attempts in his case equals more goals, as simple as that. So this is one area where he betters the Brazilian. Make no mistake though, the Brazilian will still be Mourinho’s preferred right winger unless god intervenes and sends a gift in the form of Cuadrado Griezmann.


Much of the reason why Willian remains first choice is his work rate. Besides, his defensive rigours are well-known. He is the defensive wall in front of the right back tank that is Ivanovic.

Moses proves with his efforts that he is good at it too, though not as consistently as Willian. Mourinho knows as much but is well aware of the commitment that Moses has for adapting to Mourinho’s needs. If he does is well, there is no reason why he can’t fight well and make it a tough choice for the manager to drop him to bench.

The End

All the stats aside, one must not forget how Mourinho works. However, it is also a proven fact that the special one likes people who dance to his favoured tunes. If Moses has to resurrect himself as a Chelsea player for the long run, he must work hard, score goals, help with the defense and much else.

If he does it well, there is no reason he won’t be a champion soon. Being a home grown player is already an advantage for him, hard work can provide him with more. All the indication of preseason points to the positive direction. To conclude, we should give a read to one of Chelsea’s recent critics:

“It is difficult to find players like him, not just in England, and I’m sure he could adapt to anything,”

“Even if you look at the great footballing cultures like Spain and Holland you see players of his type are very rare. Victor could have been a real weapon for any team in the world.

“Victor is a quite unique player. When you work with him you realise he is not a normal footballer, not a typical modern winger.

“He is an old-fashioned type of winger with incredible raw talent which allows him to go past people. He brings real penetration to the wide positions.

“Teams are so well set up tactically these days that you need players who can bring something different and they don’t appear that often.”

-Roberto Martinez (ex-Wigan manager and current John Stones beneficiary) in 2012.

Clearly, he showed a lot of promise once. There’s still time to fulfill most of it, if indeed he has evolved as Mourinho recently said.

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