Chelsea defeated Barcelona, 2-1 in an international friendly match, which took place in Saitama earlier today. The Blues reached the first significant win under the leadership of the new manager Frank Lampard, surprising the fans all across the world.
The majority of them believed in Barca’s easy victory, but things haven’t developed in that way. Lionel Messi didn’t appear for the reigning Spanish champions, but that isn’t the reason which could justify their poor performance at some points of today’s clash.
It was obvious that Blaugrana lacks’ Messi’s speed and creativity upfront, and that they struggled to cover his and Luis Suarez’s absence. The newcomer from Atletico Madrid, Antoine Griezmann made his debut but was forced to leave the pitch at halftime. Chelsea’s Jorginho made one tough tackle on the French international, and for one moment it seemed that Griezmann picked up a severe injury. Fortunately for Barca’s fans, everything is ok with him.
Chelsea scored twice today, with Tammy Abraham and Ross Barkley netting once each. Lampard’s guys reached the lead in the 34th minute when Jorginho took the ball from Sergio Busquets and sent it straight towards Abraham who routinely beat ter Stegen. Previously, Chelsea’s attacker had one dead chance, which he failed to use. He only needed to tap the ball inside the goal, but somehow missed that opportunity.
The English team was controlling the things on the court, and they looked very well in the defensive line. Frank Lampard stressed out that following the match, praising his guys for the defensive effort.
“You want to see signs and the work we were doing off the ball and on the press was impressive,”
After the break, Valverde changed the entire lineup giving a chance for new players who did improve Barca’s impression until the rest of the match. Kepa had to intervene on several occasions and save his team from conceding a goal.
Yet, Chelsea managed to net again, this time nine minutes before the end of the regular part of the event. Ross Barkley sent a laser-precise shot which went past Barca’s goalkeeper and the right post sealing the Blues’ victory.
The only thing Spaniards did until the end of the event was Ivan Rakitic’s superb goal in the first minute of injury time. A screamer from some 20 yards ended in the upper right corner of Kepa’s goal. Two goalkeepers couldn’t save this shot.
Lampard stated after the game that his team played solid and that they have to get ready for the Premiership premiere against Manchester United. According to his words, humidity and weather conditions did create some troubles, but his players have to get used to all sorts of challenges.
“We’ve had two difficult games in humidity. The tour has served its purpose. We need to be fit and ready for Manchester United, and the clock runs down pretty quickly at this stage. Now we just have to keep working.”
Barcelona is just heating up for future obligations. They play against Vissel Kobe this Saturday. Meanwhile, the Blues are entering the final stages of their preseason. Lampard’s guys have three more matches until the start of the domestic competition. The first one is this Sunday against Reading.