The Europa League has been a bit of a painful experience for Chelsea winger Pedro, and not just because he hasn’t been able build on his impressive early-season form.
Two weeks ago, against PAOK, he picked up a supposedly minor shoulder injury, but not only had it kept him out for the next three games, it continues to bother him even as he made his return to the starting lineup last night. Not constantly, but if he’s aware of it, it will be likely be at least an uncomfortable distraction. Pedro last just barely 10 minutes into the second-half, before making way for Eden Hazard.
“It was difficult because it was a bad injury for me, sometimes it is well during the game and sometimes it is uncomfortable during the game, because it is very painful this injury but every day it gets better.”
As commendable as it may be that Pedro is willing play through the pain, and as important as his goals may be for Chelsea at the moment — we only won one of the three games he missed and scored just three goals total — it possibly would’ve been more beneficial to let him rest some more (maybe even through the upcoming international break) and give someone like Victor Moses or Callum Hudson-Odoi more playing time.
But, what’s done is done and at least we got the three points, hard-fought as they may have been.
“These three points are very important for us, for the group and to stay on the top and it is really nice always to win.
“It was a very good team who were organised, compact and very strong until the end and they created two chances to score. Always in the Europa League it is very difficult to win. It is always difficult when they have two lines close together and it is very difficult to find the space and the ball in between the lines for our player.
“It is difficult but finally Alvaro Morata scored the goal and it is a very good win for us. It is a very important goal for him and for his confidence, and for the team as well.”
-Pedro; source: Chelsea FC
Chelsea thus remain unbeaten in competitive matches for the season, and perhaps Pedro’s shoulder will improve enough in the next few days to let him be a more effective player. Willian could certainly use a break after making his 5th start in 15 days last night.