Victor Moses signed for Chelsea from Wigan last season as a bright young winger who had a promising career ahead of him. Moses enjoyed a good season last year, helping Nigeria lift the 2013 Afcon trophy, as well as playing a bit part role as his new club lifted the Europa League in May. That being said, Moses managed just a handful of league appearances, and with the new signing of Andre Schürrle (a winger) as well as the return of the promising young Belgian Kevin de Bruyne, competition for places is even more intense at Chelsea.
What role does Moses play for Chelsea?
Last season Chelsea signed an array of attacking midfielders, Moses being one of them. Moses though played a role that none of the others really played (perhaps barring Eden Hazard), Moses was utilized by Chelsea, particularly under Rafa Benitez as a right winger, to provide natural width, with the other attacking midfielders more inclined to tuck in centrally and get into advanced central areas behind the striker. This meant that Moses provided crucial balance to the midfield at times by holding his role on either the left or right when he was selected.
If we look below at his heat-map from Chelsea's 3-0 win at Fulham last season (the last game in which Moses played 90 minutes in the league) we can see this first hand:
As we can see Moses played from the left in this fixture and almost all of his movement was on the left hand side, with the odd foray into the middle of the pitch and the occasional movement on the right hand side. Unlike a player like Mata or Hazard whose heat-map would show them playing across the park, Moses' movement is far more concentrated on the flanks which demonstrates the tactical role he was able to play for Chelsea last season. In this regard he was able to stretch the play for Chelsea and open up space for his team-mates to exploit.
Is he good enough to remain at Chelsea?
It is clear that Moses did play an important role last season from a tactical stand point, as one of the few players in the squad was natural at playing wide. Chelsea lacked players who could do this to the extent that Ramires featured wide right a few times and Ryan Bertrand was played as a left midfielder to also provide width on occasion. Moses's contribution though was somewhat limited with the player managing to start just 12 games making a further 11 appearances from the bench.
This season things will be even more difficult for him as Chelsea have brought back Kevin de Bruyne from loan, who presumably will feature as one of the three attacking midfielders, as well as bringing in Andre Schurrle from Germany, who can play as a left or right winger. Adding two more players to the fold will only decrease the already limited opportunities available for Moses and as such it's difficult to see a viable future for him at Chelsea. These two players are likely going to be in direct competition and if we look below Schurrle is by far the better player:
Not only is Schurrle far more productive in front of goal but he is far better at running at and taking on defenders completing 3.21 dribbles per game. Moses on the other hand only managed to complete 38% of his dribbles, equating to just 0.74 per game, quite a low figure for a wide player who is aiming to stretch the play.
The only area that Moses is superior is in pass accuracy, which is somewhat misleading as Moses recorded 100% pass accuracy on a few occasions when making brief sub appearances which skewed his stats. If we look at his passing from the 3-0 win at Fulham we can see he is not the best technical performer:
Obviously it is harsh to view this in isolation, but if we note that most of his high pass accuracy performances are from the bench, then it does show that he is perhaps not as technical as his 82% pass accuracy shows. This does also further confirm the fact that he pays as a winger as we can see a number of attempted crosses in the final third down the left.
It is very difficult to see Victor Moses succeeding at Chelsea in the long run. Having only managed 12 starts last season it will be hard for him to get close to that this term, let alone better it in the context of the club brnging back Kevin de Bruyne and also signing Andre Schurrle. The latter player is in direct competition with Moses as Chelsea’s 'plan B' wide option, as well as being able to provide balance. In Chelsea's 4-2-3-1 formation competition for places is fierce and any progress for Moses is likely to be limited under Mourinho.
Last season Moses was required to provide the width as Chelsea lacked the options to do this, but with Schurrle, his importance to the side as a squad player is arguably reduced significantly. Moses can thus not expect much more than a bit part role at best.