Ross Barkley continued his imperious form on Sunday with a goal and two assists in Chelsea’s 4-0 paddling of Burnley. Starting for the second time in three Premier League games — prior to that, his last start in the league was in mid-August against Arsenal — Barkley now has three goals and three assists in that span, while also starring for the England national team in the meantime.
It’s the sort of form that deserves special praise, with which Maurizio Sarri duly obliged in his post-match comments.
“He’s doing very well in this period. He’s improved in the defensive phase and he has improved his physical condition because the last season for him was very difficult with a very serious injury. He stopped the activity for six months. Now he’s improving the physical condition. He’s a very good player from a technical point of view. He’s improved the defensive phase. Now I think Ross is complete.”
-Maurizio Sarri; source: Football.London
It wasn’t just Barkley who put in a rather complete performance; Chelsea themselves showed perhaps the most complete understanding of Sarri-ball thus far, and not just on the attacking end. Sarri has repeatedly talked about how the team must learn to defend as a team, rather than as just individual defenders, and Barkley’s growth in that regard is surely a welcome development for the new head coach who remains unbeaten in competitive Chelsea matches (14 and counting, including the 10 Premier League games so far).
This sort of improvement is lending credence to the idea that if Chelsea stick around and keep pace with the two title favorites, we could yet achieve something tremendous. Obviously, it’s far too early to talk about such things.
“We put in a top drawer performance today. We are growing, we have momentum game by game and we can continue to improve. I am made up with how things are going, we are chipping in with the goals.
“I believe we can stay in the title race.”
-Ross Barkley; source: Mail
If Barkley continues this sort of form, we just might.
But he (and Rüdiger) might want to hydrate a bit better next time, so as to not open us up any sort of suspicions, yaknowhatimsaying? (According to the Mail, they both missed Chelsea’s flight home after taking two hours to produce a sample and complete the random post-match drugs test...)