Connect in the back of the net

Chelsea’s disastrous start to the Premier League campaign has raised a few eyebrows. The champions are floating just above the relegation zone, Jose Mourinho’s side having already lost an incredible six games from 11 this term.

While there is a clear crisis at the West London club, I take a look at how two of their players sent on loan to Serie A are performing.


Mohamed Salah (AS Roma)

The Egyptian is on loan at Roma but the Serie A side have opted to purchase him on a permanent basis for approximately £16 million after this campaign.

It’s clear that Chelsea have allowed a top talent to leave the club without giving him a good opportunity to impress.

How is ‘reject’ Salah getting on at Roma?

Well, it’s his second season in Serie A, after spending a successful four months on loan with Fiorentina towards the end of last term, so he’s had time to get to know the league.

At Fiorentina, he scored six goals in his first six games, including one to help knock out Tottenham Hotspur from the Europa League. He finished the season with nine goals in 20 starts and six substitute appearances.

Now, at Roma, he is a pivotal component in Rudi Garcia’s side that are challenging for the title.

Salah predominantly plays in his natural wide right position, offering staggering pace and technique.

The 23-year-old has already scored five league goals for Roma in nine games but is yet to register an assist. What’s just as impressive is his closing down and pressing of opponents. He suits Roma’s style of play very well and is a big threat on the counter-attack.

His standout goal for me was the opener in the 2-1 win over Fiorentina. It was a beautiful curled finish. Check it out here …

It was to be an eventful game for Salah against his former club, after he received a second yellow card five minutes before the end.

Watching him take on opponents one-on-one is a joy to watch. His touch and control is phenomenal.

Of course, there are elements in his game that need improving, most notably passing and decision making.

It looks like Chelsea have missed out but who’s to say that Salah won’t again feature in the Premier League in the future should he continue his development?


Juan Cuadrado (Juventus)

After Chelsea purchased Cuadrado from Fiorentina for £23.3 million just last February, the Colombian was deemed surplus to requirements and sent on loan to Serie A champions Juventus this summer.

He had made 15 appearances for Chelsea, the majority from the substitutes’ bench, and failed to make any sort of impact.

So a move to Juve was a great one for him and for the Italian club, considering that they paid just £1.5 million for his services for one season.

Juventus have had a poor start to the campaign. They have won four and lost four of their opening 11 league games, but a bright spark has been Cuadrado on the right-hand side. Like Salah, his dribbling and pace is a key strength.

Cuadrado is a threat to opponents and only one of a small number of Juventus players who can take on opponents in a one-on-one.

He has completed 26 successful take-ons [source: Squawka], is dangerous in and around the box and brilliant at dragging the ball from side to side.

Cuadrado has scored just one league goal but what an important one it was – a 93rd-minute winner in the 2-1 victory over Torino in the Turin derby last weekend. It is widely reported that Juventus are taking steps to make Cuadrado’s move permanent in the winter transfer window.

Many English viewers will have seen him in Juve’s 2-1 victory at Manchester City in the Champions League in September and wonder why Chelsea let him go.


Are Chelsea missing Salah and Cuadrado?

Chelsea’s poor start to the season is due to a combination of elements that many pundits have struggled to put their finger on.

For one reason or another, the star players are no longer putting in the performances that they did in last season’s title-winning campaign. 

But I don’t think the same can be said of Willian. The Brazil winger has probably been the best player at Chelsea this term and he occupies the same position as Salah and Cuadrado.

So, technically, I don’t think it’s an area where Chelsea desperately need to strengthen.


Written by Serie A Writer

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