This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Frank Lampard will be feeling a lot better after his side’s 2-0 win against Brighton on Saturday.
The Blues had been without a home win in the Premier League up until this latest match, and had also failed to keep a clean sheet in all competitions. Both were obtained for the first time of the campaign against the Seagulls.
Overall, the Blues were dominant with their display, having 10 shots on target to their opponents’ one, and they fully deserved all three points. Along with that, there were some impressive displays that the boss can be proud of.
Unfortunately for Ross Barkley, his performance was not one of them. The former Everton man failed to get a grip of the match, despite playing in an important position alongside Jorginho in the middle of the park, and he lost possession of the ball on no less than six occasions, which was more than any other player in the match. Quite frankly, that just isn’t good enough.
His showings are starting to become a bit of an issue, and there is one running theme. The 25-year-old is beginning to look like a bit of a flat-track bully. In pre-season, the midfielder was impressive. He bagged goals in four matches in those warm-up matches, and there was talk of this campaign finally being his true breakout season.
Against Manchester United on the opening day when it really mattered though, he was a shadow of his true potential. After just 58 minutes, he was hauled off the field of play.
He was better against Norwich City, but other than that, his only performance of note was against Grimsby Town in the Carabao Cup. The Merseyside native got himself onto the scoresheet, but even with a side devoid of guaranteed starters, the six-time English champions were fully expected to beat the Mariners. The 7-1 scoreline shows just how easy it was for Barkley and co. Versus Valencia in the Champions League, he managed to make a mess of things even though he was on the pitch for just 10 minutes. His penalty attempt will live long in the memory based on the fact of how poor it was.
Throughout his career at the club, he has six goals in competitive matches, but only his last minute tap-in from less than two yards against the Red Devils last season was against a side of the elite. The others came against Malmo (twice), Burnley, Southampton and of course Grimsby.
It is becoming clear that, against sides Chelsea really should be beating, Barkley will turn it on and impress. But when push comes to shove, he just doesn’t appear to have the mentality or ability to control proceedings. He truly is becoming a flat-track bully, and if he wants to have any chance of playing more often then not throughout this term, that will need to change fast.