Chelsea beat Barcelona on Tuesday morning in an impressive 2-1 victory, playing in severe humidity in Japan.
The Blues put on an excellent show, and deserved the win over the 90 minutes. They played with a lot of energy and desire to win the game.
Most notably impressive were the midfielders. Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic had an excellent game in their newly formed double pivot role, and Mason Mount was again impressive ahead of them.
Ross Barkley replaced Mount on half time, and once again he continued to surprise me with how well he’s been playing in pre-season.
Last year he was restricted by the style of football and was always playing over cautiously, in order to not make any errors and lose his spot in the team. He was over thinking his play and afraid to try anything out of the ordinary.
This pre-season, it looks as if the handbrake is off for Barkley. He is playing without fear, and looks a totally different player to last year.
He looks like the player who earned plaudits at a young age at Everton, and what made Chelsea monitor him for so long.
So far this pre-season he has been direct, fast, intensely pressing, creating, scoring, passing well, and dribbling past players. Everything you want from your offensive midfielders.
Let’s hope this new found confidence continues and Lampard brings the very best out of him.