Chelsea FC: Victor Moses Finding His Niche in Europa League?

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Chelsea FC: Victor Moses Finding His Niche in Europa League?
Michael Regan/Getty Images

In the middle of the early-second-half goal glut Thursday night that clinched Chelsea's spot in the UEFA Europa League final, overlooking Victor Moses was almost too easy. Nothing new there, of course. Moses has been dealing with just that sort of thing all season in Chelsea's star-spangled lineup, and Thursday's goal was just the latest in a competition where he is finding his niche.

Three quick goals in the second half's first 15 minutes turned a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 Chelsea win, and sprinkled in the mix were both breathless excitement and gawking wonder. El Niño's toe poke tied the match and set the Stamford Bridge crowd on fire, and David Luiz sealed the tie with a long-range bomber that brought a touch of the sublime to the night.

And in the middle was Moses, whose goal had neither the importance of the first nor the wow factor of the third. But it showed class all the same, as the 22-year-old Nigerian both started and finished a move that gave Chelsea breathing room in their semifinal tie with Basel.

Moses dribbled through the midfield before laying off for Fernando Torres, whose scuffed touch filtered back to Moses in the Basel box. From there Moses turned and, after his first shot was blocked, slotted the rebound into the net for a 2-1 Chelsea lead.

It was a worthy match-winner, and specifically for Moses, it was the fourth goal in as many Europa League matches. Not bad for a player who otherwise has found holding down a place in Chelsea's crowded midfield difficult.

Signed from Wigan last summer for a reported £9 million (per BBC Sport), Moses has faced stiff competition for playing time from wide attackers like Eden Hazard and Oscar. The Nigerian has made 19 appearances in the Premier League this season, nine as a substitute, scoring just once.

No wonder, either. Moses' precise role in the team has been difficult to determine. In those 19 appearances, Moses has played five different positions, according to WhoScored?.

Lately, though, the Europa League has provided Moses with a backdrop for consistency.

The Nigerian has started each of Chelsea's last four matches in the competition, and he has scored each time. Such a return hints at the reasoning behind the five bids Chelsea made for Moses last summer.

And for Moses, in a personal sense, a strong run in the Europa League could serve as the base for bigger things in the future.

 

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