Chelsea trio starts for Nigeria... and then nothing happens

Julian Finney

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

A comment from WAGNH user 'Choche' may have summed it up the best:  "I expected nothing and I'm still disappointed."

Nigeria and Iran just played out the first goalless draw of the 2014 World Cup.  Worse yet, it was the first boring, bad, low quality match.  Both sides played very conservatively, but also quite sloppily and outside of the first few minutes of the first half and the last few minutes of the second half, basically nothing happened.  In those few precious minutes, Nigeria did attack, but Iran held firm, and thus the 13th match of the World Cup became unlucky number thirteen for footballing entertainment.

All three players under contract at Chelsea started for the Super Eagles.  Loanees Kenneth Omeruo and Victor Moses took up their customary positions in the center of defense and on the left wing, respectively, while Chelsea first-teamer John Obi Mikel started in midfield.  Except it was in the spot he normally occupies for Chelsea, rather than Nigeria -- perhaps the most obvious sign of Nigeria's intentions on this day.  Instead of operating as a 'number 10,' Mikel was more of a deep-lying playmaker (alongside Ogenyi Onazi), attempting to spark the Nigeria attack by way of long balls in behind and over the top of the defense.  I'm not sure any one of them actually connected properly however.  While Mikel did the Chelsea-Mikel things just fine, sorely missing was any sort of attacking intent, even after the ineffective Ramon Azeez was withdrawn at the half.

Both Omeruo and Moses had quiet games as well.  That's a good thing for the defender (easy to deal with Iran, having previously shackled the likes of Didier Drogba and Luis Suarez on the international stage) and a terrible thing for the attacker.  Unsurprisingly, Moses was withdrawn with barely 50 minutes on the clock, after yet another typically frustrating performance of getting into decent positions but failing to provide any sort of proper end-product.  After a season wasted on loan at Liverpool, the young winger's Chelsea future isn't exactly looking very promising.

I doubt either team is all that happy with just a point gained today.  And with matches against Argentina and Bosnia and Herzegovina, they will both be going home early should their performances not improve drastically.

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