It’s strange Victor Moses was just picked up and thrown out by then-new manager Maurizio Sarri. The Nigerian international was a key member of previous manager Antonio Conte’s Chelsea team, playing the right wing-back role, and he did so brilliantly. Moses provided a great attacking threat going forward and was quite nippy in tracking back and assuming his defensive responsibilities under Conte.
Given Chelsea’s ban from signing players in the current and the next transfer window, the club should retain the services of the 28-year-old this season. Moses would provide squad depth and good competition for Azpilicueta who seems to be in a bit of comfort zone at Chelsea, seeing the Spaniard play more games than any other Chelsea player last season. With no discernable competition on the bench for Azpilicueta, he knows he’s assured a starting place in Chelsea’s team no matter how well or how badly he performs, which was the case last season. Bringing back Moses would immediately displace any such thoughts from the Spaniard’s minds, and the two can push each other to better the team.
After not playing in the full-back position last season, it would be better to compare Moses’ 2017/2018 season, where he played right wing-back for Chelsea, to Azpilicueta last season. Both players are quite similar in their statistical comparisons. They rate similar in tackles, fouls won, and clearances per game. However, there are key areas where Moses would provide a marked improvement over Azpilicueta. The £9.9 million-rated Moses was only dribbled past 0.45 in all competitions when he last played at full-back, whereas Azpilicueta was dribbled past more than 0.8 times per game last season, almost double the amount the Nigerian international was.
As well as the statistical comparisons, Moses would provide much more pace and power in wide areas. He’s more likely to recover defensive mistakes due to his pace and provide lung-bursting runs forward to join the attack, than Azpilicueta. However, Azpilicueta is more defensive-minded, and despite suffering last season, he still has the quality and experience to come good for Chelsea next season.
Moses and Azpilicueta are both polar opposites and for the next manager to possess differing options at right-back would be a great thing. There is a high level of competition in both the Premier League and Champions League, where tactical switches would need to be made, and being able to change between two competing right-back’s would be great for Chelsea.