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Ross Barkley vs Burnley: Sometimes football is a lot simpler than we think

Image Credit: We Ain't Got No History Undoubtedly Ross Barkley had a stellar pre-season and for many, he was penciled down to have...

Image Credit: We Ain't Got No History

Undoubtedly Ross Barkley had a stellar pre-season and for many, he was penciled down to have a great season. Unfortunately, after a disastrous opening day team performance against Manchester United, things only got worse for Ross. Soon after he started against Norwich where his performance was again below par in terms of the end product. Ultimately he hit rock bottom when the crucial penalty against Valencia was missed at Stamford Bridge in the early parts of the Champions League group stage. Injuries and the greater form of Kovacic, Kante, Jorginho, and Mount have also limited his opportunities since then. At this stage of the season, he has only featured 11 times in all club competitions.

Having said that, over the last couple of matches and more specifically against Burnley, he's finally stringing together some decent performances. Against Burnley, he kept his game uncomplicated and tidy. He lived up to the notion that "sometimes football is a lot simpler than we think".

Let's recap some of his moments against Burnley...

Exhibit 1:


In the 8th minute, as Burnley sets up a low block, Chelsea finds it difficult to break from midfield. The ball eventually comes to Ross who without hesitation shifts the ball long to Reece James with acres of space. It was great to see Ross not waiting on the ball and taking too many unnecessary touches. It was as if he was instructed to move the ball quickly and believe in his instincts.

Exhibit 2:


In the 35th minute, Ross made a goal-line save to keep Chelsea's advantage at 1-0. Chelsea sticking to basics by defending both near and far side of the goal during Burnley's corner. We have seen several times in modern-day how often teams fail to defend near and the far side of the goal during set-pieces which eventually leads to a goal. Barkley taking the onus and making sure he does his part in defense as well. 

Exhibit 3:


In the 41st minute, the score at 2-0 and the game seemingly opening up a bit, Ross once again finds Reece out wide in acres of space. A neat outside of the foot pass was well executed between the Burnley defenders which led Reece to be 1 v 1 against Burnley's defender. Reece consequently drove towards the box and had a shot on target. Unlucky this play did not result in a goal. 

Exhibit 4:


In the 57th minute, the game had truly opened up as the score was 3-0 in favour of Chelsea. Nonetheless, it was a sublime 2nd half performance by Chelsea and this was yet another great play by Ross. Jorginho found Ross in midfield between two Burnley midfielders. Ross makes a sharp turn and drives straight between the two midfielders. Eventually bursting through and opening up a lot of space for himself. 


He then spotted a great run from Willian out wide and delivers a brilliant pass to him. Once again his range of passing and vision creating a lot of havoc in Burnley defense. 

Overall, it was great to see Barkley being quick on the ball, making/executing excellent decisions quickly and chipping in defensively as well when required. Without a doubt against low block teams, he has a lot to offer. Having said that, it was also a game where he was extremely disciplined in terms of the instructions given to him. 

Ross Barkley's stats vs Burnley:

  • 92% pass accuracy 
  • 60% defensive duels won 
  • 3 interceptions 
  • 75% passes to box accuracy 
  • 2 progressive runs  

For many Chelsea fans, the midfield trio combination of Kante, Kovacic, and Jorginho is still the number 1 preference. However, if Barkley continues to grow like this then he'll be yet another headache for Frank. 


Written By: Miz Rahman
Twitter: @Miz9Rahman 



























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