Ross Barkley has started Project Restart in relatively fine form. He put in a solid performance after coming on in the second half against Aston Villa a week ago. That performance earned him the start against Manchester City a few days ago. Today, Barkley came on in the second half to net the winner against Leicester City.
It was the type of goal that his manager, Frank Lampard, used to score for Chelsea. Barkley’s finish was a beauty, making a well-timed run into the box to meet Willian’s cross. Willian was afforded time and space in a 2-v-1 situation against an overwhelmed Ben Chilwell, who made little effort to block.
Lampard will be pleased Barkley’s impact today. For Lampard, he sees a player who is training hard and reaping the benefits. All of this comes amidst rumors of transfer speculation for Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz and increased competition for midfielders in the No. 8 role within the squad.
“I played with Ross and I know he’s a great lad. He wants to be the best player he can be and has a great attitude in that sense. I won’t touch on that one, all I’ll say is before we went into lockdown he put in some really good performances for us.”
“His attitude has been spot on in training since the minute we’ve been back, how he trains and it shows how he looked after himself in lockdown. He was unfortunate not to start against Villa and since then has made an impact in every game he has played.”
“A great example of when you train at a level, have that attitude and when you have the quality that Ross has. He can score goals. He can shoot with both feet.”
“He makes the box. He defended well and showed great discipline in his game against Manchester City. He is reaping the benefits and showing it. I’ve got lots of time for Ross, he’s a big player for us and you could see that in the last three games.”
"I've got lots of time for Ross, he's a big player for us." pic.twitter.com/KGj9DINcr8— Chelsea FC News (@Chelsea_FL) June 28, 2020
Tonight’s match against Leicester City featured the best of Ross Barkley’s game and also the frustratingly worst aspects. Instinctually, Barkley has proven to be an attacking threat. It was Barkley’s attacking impetus that was lacking in Chelsea’s lackluster first half. However, even with the good that Barkley’s goal brought to Chelsea’s fortunes, the scoreline in the second half could very well have doubled, if not more.
On multiple occasions, Chelsea found themselves with the opportunity to attack Leicester City’s backline on the counter. Barkley was on the ball running point, however none of these opportunities resulted in a goal, let alone a shot on goal. It would seem that the biggest impediment to Barkley’s game at times is being given too much time to make a decision on the ball. At 26, there is still some hope that entering his prime Barkley can improve and take the next step.
Christian Pulisic’s sizzling form [#HotPulisicSummer] continued again in today’s match. Perhaps the only standout in the first half, Pulisic continued to be a direct threat any time he was on the ball.
Unfortunately, Pulisic came off in the second half as a precaution for tightness in his calf. Throughout the match, Pulisic was either dribbling past Leicester City players or getting hacked down. Lampard provided an update on both Pulisic and Andreas Christensen, who did not make the squad tonight.
“Christian felt a bit of tightness in his calf in the second drinks break so I took him off straight away. We will find out over the next day or so how that is. Hopefully it is nothing that puts him out because we can see what he is doing in the last two games.”
“With Andreas, he is having a small problem up in around his hip. He tried to train yesterday and didn’t feel comfortable so he is out of the squad.”
- Frank Lampard, source: Football.London
Chelsea is back to Premier League action against West Ham in an empty London Stadium this upcoming Wednesday. Onward and upwards!