I’m not a huge fan of talking about pundit’s opinions — their job increasingly involves coming up with the biggest, loudest, hottest takes and seeing who can shout them the loudest (this is especially true in US sports media, but the UK is trending this way as well — but this topic generated a lively discussion during the big podcast crossover event between Chelsea Fancast and London is Blue on Saturday night as well, so I figured it could be worthwhile to bring up here as well.
“He makes a huge difference. With the system they play with wing-backs, he's taught himself - and the manager's obviously helped him - to be one of the best wing-backs in world football. It suits him that position, and there's no surprise that he was involved with the penalty, he's involved with the goal. I thought he was brilliant [against Newcastle] and he is top class."
-Jaime Redknapp; source: Sky via Evening Standard
So, just how good is Victor Moses? From my vantage point in the MHL, he looked quick and strong and very direct and miles better than his error-strewn first appearance following the hamstring injury that had taken him out of contention for almost two months. Great cross for Morata’s goal and great quickness to win the penalty for Hazard’s second. And no foul throws!
He was one of the great stories of last season, turning from anonymous Loan Army minion into key player as Chelsea won the Premier League in Antonio Conte’s first season. With a proper backup and competition in Davide Zappacosta, Moses could grow into an even better player this season.
Is he one of the best wing-backs in the world? That’s certainly a strong endorsement, but one that’s also vague enough to be easily defendable. To be a starter for Chelsea automatically puts you in a small top percentage of all players in the world, after all. There are no statistics to easily settle such a debate either. He certainly seems to stack favorably against other right wing-backs at the top teams in the Premier League, be that the veteran Antonio Valencia or speed-merchants Kyle Walker and Hector Bellerín. Would we take him over Kieran Trippier? Yep. Kyle Naughton? Danny Simpson? Any of the other right backs in the league? Yep, yep, and yep. Maybe the quality isn’t so high in the Premier League at this position?
Chelsea apparently tried to sign Thomas Meunier in the summer, but he decided to stay at PSG. Is Meunier better than Moses? How about Carvajal at Real Madrid or Kimmich at Bayern? I’d probably take Kimmich, but as fans, we do tend to under-rate our own players and overrate others’.
Upon this cursory examination, Redknapp just might have a point, especially if we restrict it to just right-sided players, since the quality seems much higher on the left side, in general.