After joining Aston Villa on a season-long loan from Chelsea, there may have been some skepticism around the Premier League at seeing Dean Smith’s side bring in Ross Barkley in the summer transfer window.
The England international’s career hasn’t quite kicked on since he burst onto the scene with Everton, and it was telling that Frank Lampard was willing to ship him out to another side in the league.
But since making his first appearance for Villa, Barkley has been an absolute revelation. Prior to Sunday’s Premier League game against Arsenal, he had managed two goals in seven top-flight matches, including strikes against Liverpool and Aston Villa.
And whilst he may not have found the back of the net at the Emirates, he was once again outstanding for Smith. As well as setting up Ollie Watkins for his first goal of the game, Barkley was just a complete menace to the Arsenal defence, outfoxing them with his skill and trickery – one part even saw him and Jack Grealish have a mini training exercise just outside the Gunners’ penalty box.
As per Sofascore, he provided a whopping six key passes over the course of the game, which was only two less than what Arsenal managed as a whole. As well as that, he also completed all three of his attempted dribbles, had a team-high 72 touches of the ball (13 more than the man in second Matt Targett), and sent in seven crosses too.
It was a display brimming with everything good about the midfielder, and it was no surprise to see The Telegraph journalist wax lyrical about him and just describe his performance as “superb”.
That was arguably a better Villa performance than the Liverpool win. Away from home, Arsenal at full strength, a clean sheet and no deflected goals. Watkins, Grealish, Barkley, Luiz all superb.
— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) November 8, 2020
So whilst it may have been Watkins who ended up bagging a brace, it was Barkley who stole the show with his masterclass.