Chelsea wouldn’t be Chelsea if minor things didn’t develop into huge drama. This time around, it’s about a penalty. It’s unlikely to go away until the next one.
But who will take the next one after all this attention has been lavished on it? Ross Barkley has no doubt he’d be ready to make up for his miss.
“If there was another penalty in the game I would have been confident of taking it. You can miss penalties. It’s not the end of the world. I’ve missed penalties before, when I was at Everton. I’m gutted I missed but these things happen.”
Sure, it may not be the end of the world, but it did cost Chelsea a point yesterday. Playing poorly also cost us of course, but a single incident like a penalty miss is a lot easier target for finger-pointing.
It also didn’t help that there appeared to be some confusion as to who was going to take it after VAR spotted an unfortunate and inadvertent handball by Daniel Wass inside his own penalty area. Ross Barkley had been on the pitch less than 10 minutes, and he was backing himself, but Jorginho, Tammy Abraham, and Willian all were hovering around as well — the latter even confirmed that he asked to take it.
Barkley’s opting to go with Azpilicueta’s sweep-it-under-the-carpet explanation. Whatever works for him.
“They were just encouraging me, encouraging me to score the goal. They are confident of taking penalties as well but I take penalties every day, I don’t miss them in training and in pre-season I was scoring penalties.
“We’ve got a lot of good penalty-takers in the squad. On a sheet in the changing room it says I’m on penalties when I’m on the pitch, otherwise it’s Jorginho.
“It’s more: ‘Good luck with the penalty’ type of thing, encouraging me. They would have been willing to take it as well but I felt confident.”
Confidence to be a hero, but also confidence to face the music afterwards. Fair play to Ross.
In actual footballing matters, the loss puts Chelsea on the back foot in the group, especially with two away games coming up, at Lille and at Ajax. But it also wouldn’t be Chelsea if we didn’t insist on doing things the hard way.
“We’ve got five more group games to go that we’re aiming to win. Today just didn’t go our way. It’s disappointing really.”
-Ross Barkley; source: Guardian
Onwards and upwards.