Bank on Barkley

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Ross Barkley. PICTURE: GETTY IMAGES


Tim Harrison

By Tim Harrison

An emphatic victory at Southampton leaves Chelsea joint top of the tree at the international break, and Morrie Sarri with a spring in his step.

Nobody expected this stonking start… then again no one anticipated Manchester United’s hesitant and unconvincing start either.

Naturally the teams meet at the Bridge in a week’s time, with Blues fans ready to goad their old boss again, even though – deep down – they still adore Jose Mourinho.

The 3-0 win at St Mary’s was illuminated by a second Alvaro Morata goal in four days, a well-deserved strike by Ross Barkley and yet another Eden Hazard netting.

Unbeaten through August, September and into October is a remarkable achievement for a new boss who had so little time, post World Cup, to mould his new charges.

Barkley’s goal came at an opportune time, with a chance to finally establish himself in the England team. “I think he will become very important for the national team,” said Sarri.

It’s also important for Chelsea who, on paper, do not have the quality in depth of, say, Liverpool or City, and need to bank on Barkley.

It’s the Blues’ fluidity and mischievously inventive passing that is impressing. The only concern is that Arsenal under Unai Emery are matching them, flick for flick.

Having beaten the Gunners in August at the Bridge, the teams don’t meet again until mid-January at the Emirates. Another game to savour.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not necessarily those of Hammersmith & Fulham Council.

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