Barcelona started the quicker, sharper, better of the two sides and quickly established their usual dominance over the ball. But Chelsea kept the defensive shape quite well, shifted side to side and closed down when needed, and put in some key blocks as well.
On the counter, Chelsea were initially quite poor, but improved as the half wore on. Also had several nice sequences of playing out from the back, through the pressure. Abraham should’ve scored after Pulisic’s shot was blocked and he was left with an open goal, but made up for that miss with a cool finish later after Jorginho pressed up and won the ball from Busquets.
Second-half followed a similar pattern, with Barcelona’s fresh XI dominating the first 20 or so minutes but Chelsea eventually coming to grips and creating a few chances of our own. One of those found its way past Neto, with Barkley producing a rather precise finish just inside the post from 20 yards.
Rakitic then got a consolation goal in added-on time with an unstoppable long range blast.
2-1, job done. Fitness and confidence gained!
Chelsea’s tour of Japan finishes on a high note. Next up: Reading on Sunday.
- Lampard keeping the midfield and attack together for 60 minutes in the 4-2-3-1. Kovacic-Jorginho double pivot not terrible. Pulisic, Mount, Abraham all showing good effort and quality. Abraham probably should’ve had two, but got at least the one.
- Defensive pairings of David Luiz & Christensen; Tomori & Zouma. Mostly good. Zouma and David Luiz both stepping up well at times when needed.
- Barkley a standout in the second half. Kenedy showing good effort, but not nearly good enough quality. Giroud with some solid hold-up. Alonso flashing up well in attack.
- Kepa the only player to play the full 90. Certainly got plenty of practice in the second half, and did very well.
- The away kit is definitely top notch.
- Time to head on back home.