Demba Ba snatched a first half goal against Liverpool yesterday to all but-secure a victory against the current Premier League leaders.
The Senegalese striker latched onto a horrendous Steven Gerrard error to give Chelsea the advantage in their top of the table clash, before Willian rounded off a 2-0 score-line in the dying moments.
Having being gifted the opportunity to score, Ba took the chance with aplomb, planting the ball firmly between Reds goalkeeper Simon Mignolet’s legs and into the back of the net.
Despite experiencing limited first team opportunities at Stamford Bridge, Ba has always remained confident in front of goal and for this reason Chelsea could retain his services next season, in spite of recent rumours suggesting otherwise.
In fact, Ba has proven himself as the unlikely hero for the Blues this calendar year, scoring crucial goals in both Europe and the Premier League. He scored an 87th minute strike against Paris Saint Germain to send his side into the Champions League semi-finals, before netting the only goal of the match to secure three points against Swansea.
It must be respected that the majority of his involvement as a Chelsea player has come in the dying moments of matches, brought on by Jose Mourinho as a second half substitute as a means of refreshing the side.
Having played just 571 minutes of league football all season – appearing as a substitute in 14 of his 18 appearances - Ba has scored five on five occasions – a record of one goal every 114.20 minutes.
This season Ba has scored more goals per minute than Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie, Emmanuel Adebayor, Loic Remy, Jay Rodriguez and Christian Benteke – this is by no means a bad feat.
|Team||Pos||Goals||mins / Goals||Apps||Mins|
|Christian Benteke||Aston Villa||FW||10||212.80||26||2,128|
|Wayne Rooney||Man Utd||FW||17||144.00||29||2,448|
|Robin van Persie||Man Utd||FW||11||133.27||18||1,466|
Considering he has hit the target with 50% of his attempts – converting 19.2% of these chances – his lack of goals is by no means his own doing.
If we compare this to his Champions League record, we start to see the complete picture. Having played just one full match – appearing as a substitute on four occasions – Ba has scored three times on the continent.
We witnessed his true ability during his Newcastle days. In 34 league appearances during the 2011/12 season, he netted an impressive 16 goals. The following year he added a further 15 to his career total.
Ba is a prolific striker and for this reason his services should be retained ahead of next season. It makes little sense for Mourinho to sell the Senegalese striker – the likelihood is, he will only replace him with someone less clinical.