Former Basel FC and Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah signed for Chelsea FC in the January transfer window and was seen as the logical replacement for the departed Kevin De Bruyne and Juan Mata. However since he has signed for the Blues, he has yet to start a match and has seen limited minutes in any of the midfield positions. He made his Chelsea debut against Newcastle when the game was well in hand and made a cameo appearance against West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League. Salah also made another appearance in the FA Cup against Manchester City for an ineffective Samuel Eto’o and played the entire second half.
Many pundits believed that with the short rest time between the Champions League match in Istanbul and the Premier League match at Fulham, Salah would be in the starting lineup on the weekend. Salah is cup tied to Basel this year and can not play in the Champions League for Chelsea so he was one of the well rested players. Nemanja Matic is also cup tied and played 90 minutes but Salah was not even in the match day squad. Could this be an issue of match fitness or simply Jose Mourinho feeling that Salah is not fully ready for the Premier League?
Salah showed that he can play at the highest level by excelling in the Champions League and in the Europa League for Basel. To not even make the match day squad for a game with such a short turnaround is concerning but not something for Chelsea supporters to lose sleep over. Matic is a seasoned veteran who Mourinho was comfortable with bringing in and trusting right away but Salah is still a raw and unfinished player.
Mourinho has come out and said that Salah will begin to impact the squad next season when he is fully acclimated. At the same time however, it would have been nice for Salah to get some minutes in when the game at Fulham was decided. He still has a chance to make a positive impact on Chelsea’s domestic season and one can hope that he will get that opportunity.
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