Why Nigeria could still give Chelsea's Moses a chance to shine

Victor Moses in Chelsea lineup

Victor Moses' World Cup may be about to take a turn for the better.

Before the tournament, the Chelsea man stated that Nigeria could reach the semi-finals. They may well do - but he won't be able to take much credit as things stand.

After a disappointing appearance against Iran, the 23-year-old was dropped for Michel Babatunde, who made a fine job of replacing him.

In two games without Moses, Nigeria have scored three goals, also becoming the first ever African side to score more than once against Argentina.

But in that 3-2 defeat to Lionel Messi and co. Babatunde came off with a fractured arm. While all Nigeria fans will wish the midfielder a speedy recovery, the door has opened up once again for Moses to shine.

  Mins / Won DribbleMins / AssistMins / Accurate PassMins / TouchMins / Successful Final-Third PassTotal Mins
Michel Babatunde 141.00 141.00 4.15 2.04 10.85 141
Victor Moses 26.00 0 13.00 3.25 17.33 52

Opta stats show that Moses, who spent last season on loan with Liverpool, failed to register an assist against Iran and only made three success final-third passes. He has been a more prolific dribller but made no accurate crosses and struggled to really get involved.

By contrast, Babatunde has made far more accurate passes since, taken plenty more touches and completed more passes where it counts - in the final third.

Indeed, Ahmed Musa's quick-fire equaliser against Argentina came about from a Babatunde assist.

But even worse for Moses was the fact that, when the 21-year-old came off injured, he was replaced by Michael Uchebo.

Surely, though, coach Stephen Keshi will keep faith in the Chelsea man when Nigeria face likely opponents France in the last-16. After all, Moses' pace and power when he's on form can terrorise the best of defenders - just ask Luke Shaw.

Even if he doesn't start, meanwhile, the Blues forward will surely get a chance from the bench - a chance he couldn't have plausibly hoped for had Babatunde stayed fit.

Moses just needs to make sure he grabs it with both hands.

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