Demba Ba has come in from the cold to take everyone by storm.
Last week the big Senegalese striker scored the goal that secured Chelsea’s place in the semi-finals of the Champions League and on Sunday he found the target to keep the Blues in the Premier League title race.
Signed from Newcastle United in January 2013 by Rafael Benitez, Ba has never really looked ‘Chelsea material’. A player who could do well for a club with modest ambitions but does not really appear to have it in himself to make it at a European powerhouse, the 28-year-old has struggled to force himself into the Chelsea lineup under Jose Mourinho.
It is no secret that Mourinho does not fancy Ba at all and would not have signed him if he were in charge of the London club last season. However, it is this former Hoffenheim and West Ham United forward who has helped Chelsea retain their chances of tasting silverware success this season.
Last week Ba tucked the ball home from close range in the 87th minute against the mighty Paris Saint-Germain to win the Champions League quarter-final tie on away goals rule.
Then with Chelsea struggling to break down 10-man Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday, it was he who made the difference yet again.
Ba himself has lamented that he has not been given enough chances by Mourinho and has also had the audacity to take a sly dig at the Portuguese manager. It is evident that he will move on in the summer, but he could prove to be a key player for Chelsea in the final weeks of this season.
Former Arsenal and England striker Alan Smith is of that opinion and believes that Ba “deserves” to retain his place in the starting lineup.
‘Ba surely deserves his chance now as someone who can offer something different from the moderate threat offered over the last nine months’, Smith wrote in The Telegraph.
'Working in his favour is a level of enthusiasm and energy lacking in Torres and Eto’o. Not only that, but an ability to physically impose himself on centre-halves in a way that has never been the style of his two fellow strikers.
'Confidence must also play a huge part at this late stage. Ba must be buzzing after his successful week, desperate to lead the charge over the final few furlongs. That has got to count for something when Mourinho sits down to pick his next team'.
While Samuel Eto’o has been struggling with injury and is not the player he was at Barcelona or Inter Milan, Fernando Torres has once been a disappointment.
On the other hand, Ba is brimming with confidence and also has a point to prove to Mourinho, something that the former Real Madrid coach should be looking to tap into and make the most of.